DAVAO CITY, Philippines – A militant lawmaker condemned the killing of nine farm workers including two minors and four women in Sagay City, Negros Occidental earlier this week who he said were only asserting their rights to cultivate their lands, citing reports from farm workers’ group National Federation of Sugar Workers.
In a statement, Anakpawis party-list Rep. Ariel Casilao called the killing “barbaric” as the murdered nine farm workers were now among the 45 peasants slain in Negros Occidental under the Duterte administration.
The victims were identified as Eglicerio Villegas, Anelife Arsenal, Dodong Laurencio, Nec Nec Dumaguit, Bingbing Bantigue, Marchel Sumikad, Jomarie Ughayon, and two others were identified only as Pater and Morena.
According to Casilao, the NFSW said unidentified armed men open fired inside the makeshift tent in which the nine victims are resting in Purok Pine Tree, Barangay Bulanon, Sagay City in Negros Occidental, 9pm, Saturday night.
The Sagay 9 were members of the NFWS that conducted land cultivation campaign in the 75 ha agricultural land. In Negros, poor and landless peasants are asserting land rights through land cultivation initiatives, he said.
Casilao added that Sagay 9 was now part of what he called the “continuing long list of rural people victim of extra judicial killings under the Duterte government which at present numbered to 163 all over the country.”
But the AFP command in the province accused farm workers participating in land cultivation and its land cultivation areas (LCA) as insurgents.
“In other regions were peasants asserting their rights; they were vilified and tagged as New People’s Army member in which justified the filing of trumped up charges and worse subject to extra judicial killings perpetrated by suspected state forces, para-military groups or hired armed goons,” he said.
Before the Sagay City massacre, Flora Jemola, chairperson of NFSW-Sagay City was killed on December 21, 2017 in an LCA area in Hda. Susan Brgy. Poblacion 1 Sagay City.
She suffered 13 stab wounds perpetrated by suspected elements of SCAA/CAFGU under the 12th IB of the Philippine Army.
This was followed by the killing of Ronald Manlanat, a member of a local chapter of NFSW in Hacienda Joefred, Barangay General Luna, Sagay City, on February 21, 2018 also perpetrated by suspected elements of SCAA/CAFGU under the 12th IB of the Philippine Army.
“The attack against peasant continues, from the Sagay 9 massacre to the illegal arrest of the Nueva Ecija four, Laguna 5. Ironically, Duterte yet again calling for peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines but continues to allow the AFP, PNP and it’s para-military backed groups to sow barbarity against peasants asserting their right to land,” Casilao said.
The Anakpawis solon demands justice to the Sagay 9 massacre victims.
“Swift and impartial investigation should immediately be conducted. Part of the effort, the Anakpawis and the Makbayan bloc will file a House Resolution to investigate the massacre”, Casilao said.(davaotoday.com)