DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW) condemns the attack on a group of protesting farmers which killed at least nine sugar workers on Saturday evening in Negros Occidental.
In an interview, NFSW vice chairperson Aldrin Alquina told Davao Today that the shooting incident occurred around 9:30 pm at Hacienda Nene in Purok Pinetree, Barnagay Bulanon, Sagay City.
The Western Visayas regional police, in its spot report, said some 40 unidentified armed men fired their guns at the farmers who were resting inside their improvised tents after a communal tilling activity in support of the protesting farmers.
The firing resulted to the death of Eglicerio Villegas, Angelipe Arsenal, alias Pater, Dodong Laurencio,17-year-old Jomarie Ughayon Jr, and 17-year-old Marchtel Sumicad, , while victims Morena Mendoza, Necnec Dumaguit, Bingbing Bantigue, were burned by the suspects.
All victims were residents of Sagay City.
Alquina also told Davao Today that before the incident, the group already received reports of a possible harassment after the farmers, farmworkers and their families started their land cultivation or bungkalan activity Saturday morning inside the 75 hectares hacienda/landholding claimed by a certain Atty. Barbara Tolentino.
The killings happened on the first night of the land cultivation area they initiated in the hacienda as a response to resonate the campaign for genuine agrarian reform and free land distribution.
Alquina also described the killing of nine farmers as “merciless.” It is calling for justice for the victims, whom they called the Sagay 9.
He added that under the recent Duterte administration, the latest incident of peasant killings “will add to the growing list of farmers and sugar workers killed in hacienda capital Negros”, with more than 40 activist mostly peasant leaders and farmers.
NSFW data showed that last December 21, 2017, elderly peasant woman leader Flora Gamola, the then municipal leader of NFSW in Sagay City, was stabbed and killed in the bungkalan area in Hda. Susan Barangay Poblacion 1 Sagay City. She died from 13 stab wounds inflicted on her by suspected elements of paramilitrary group, called SCAA/CAFGU under the Army’s 12th IB . 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, again by suspected SCAA/CAFGU members. The killers fired an entire magazine of M16 on Manlalat.
Meanwhile, Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives is to set to file a resolution to seek further investigation of the killing of nine farmers.
A statement of condemnation is also released by senatorial bet Former Rep. Neri Colmenares (Bayan Muna party-list) in twitter account saying; “We in Makabayan and Bayan Muna demand an immediate impartial probe on this massacre and we will not stop until justice has been served.”(davaotoday.com)