DAVAO CITY — A farmer-couple from San Jose del Monte, Bulacan, was killed on Saturday in the middle of a land dispute with the influential Singson family from Ilocos Sur.
Couple Roger and Lucila Vargas were killed on September 19.
The couple lived in a 2.5-hectare land that Singsons claimed ownership, along with the other adjacent land properties of about 11 hectares in San Isidro Village, San Jose del Monte, Bulacan, and also occupied by many other farmers, the human rights group, Karapatan said in a statement.
The Vargas couple were reportedly on their way to the market on a tricycle when motorcycle-riding gunmen fired at them.
Karapatan in a statement Friday said Roger, who was shot in the head, immediately died.
“Lucila, who also sustained gunshot wounds, was still able to call and talk to Cecil Rapis, also a peasant leader, to tell her Roger is dead,” said Marie Hilao Enriquez, chairperson of Karapatan.
“Lucila told Rapis that they recognized the people who shot them. Then the line was cut off. Lucila died before she reached the hospital,” said Enriquez.
The tricycle driver reportedly survived the attack.
The day before the incident, the couple had a confrontation with the guards who claimed they work for the Singsons. The Vargas couple were active members of Nagkakaisang Samahan ng Magsasaka sa San Isidro and Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Bulacan. They left behind eight children.
“Two more lives were taken in defense of their land,” said Hilao-Enriquez.
“The killing of the Vargas couple because of incursions into their land, came right after the massacre in Lianga, Surigao del Sur, the victims of which were also defending their ‘yutang kabilin‘ (ancestral land),” she said.
As of August 2015, Karapatan has recorded 175 peasants killed under President Benigno Aquino’s administration. (davaotoday.com)