- United Nations Human Rights Council
On October 20, 2018 at around 9:30 pm, nine farmers were massacred by 10-15 armed men who are suspected state agents.
The victims including farmers, women and minors were members of the National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW). Those killed were identified as Eglicerio C. Villegas, 36, Angelife D. Arsenal; Rene “Dodong” Laurencio; Morena Mendoza (female), all residents of Brgy. Bulanon, Sagay City; Marcelina “Necnec” Dumaguit (female); Rannel “Bingbing” Bantigue, 41, a resident of Brgy. Plaridel, Sagay City and Paterno Baron, a resident of Brgy. Plaridel. The two minors were Jomarie Ughayon Jr., 16, a resident of Purok Cesco, Brgy. Rafaela Barrera and Marchtel A. Sumicad, 17 of Purok Mahogany, Brgy. Bulanon.
Earlier that day, at around 10 AM that morning, 43 members of our local chapter in Hacienda Nene participated in a “Bungkalan” (land cutivation) located in Purok Firetree, Barangay Bulanon, Sagay City, Negros Occidental. Land cultivation or bungkalan, led by the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas and its regional chapters is the Filipino farmers' concrete steps to advance its campaign for genuine agrarian reform and free land distribution. Farmers militantly occupy idle lands and collectively cultivate these lands in order to make it productive. Bungkalan reflects the failure of the government’s land reform program and the landlords’ refusal to distribute land to the tillers.
Landlords of the infamous feudal hacienda system in Negros who have long been exploiting farmers and farm workers has been so shaken by the intensified land cultivation campaigns. Of the more than 300 LCAs across the country, around 200 are from Negros. Landlords are deathly afraid of the unified strength of the farmers to collectively cultivate the land. They even result to the use of brute force and even killings in order to attack farmers who continue to assert and defend their democratic, civil, and political rights.
In 2000, around 32 farmers applied the 76-hectare agricultural land for CARP coverage in Hacienda Nene but no approval was made despite a notice of coverage that had been issued because they were told that Tolentino had issued a deed of donation, giving the property to 25 people. This was confirmed by Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) director for Western Visayas, Stephen Leonidas. So when a notice of coverage was issued in 2014 it was not enforced because it was found that there were already 25 co-owners to the land. The farmer pursued their case with DAR but the government agency never gave a decision in favor of the farmworkers. That is why the beneficiaries collectively decided to occupy and till the land.
Massacre survivor Danilo Cañete recalled they were resting when a group of men armed with rifles arrived and started shooting at them from 30 meters. The perpetrators moved closer to the victims to finish off the injured ones. He saw the armed men pour gasoline on the makeshift shelter burning three of the victims. The shooting lasted for 15 minutes.
We call for justice!
We, the undersigned call on the UN Commision on Human Rights to hold an individual probe on the massacre of nine farmworkers in Hacienda Nene, Sagay, Negros Occidental in the Philippines. Demand the Philippine government to give a responsible response to the situation rather than calling out more threats to its already downtrodden people.
We condemn the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police in circulating false accusations on the victims whom they said to be members of the New People's Army, but then also saying that it was the New People's Army who massacred its own "members". That instead of bringing justice, they make this an opportunity to red tag legitimate people's organizations with just socio-economic calls.
We call on the Philippine government and its Department of Agrarian Reform to do its job! Distribute the land of Hacienda Nene and many other haciendas in Negros to its rightful beneficiaries so they won't have to resort to occupying the land and be met with such inhumane treatment by the landlords' goons and the military.
The #JusticeForSagay9 petition to United Nations Human Rights Council was written by Kilusang Magbubukid and is in the category Human Rights at GoPetition.