By Billy Javier Reyes
CALAMBA CITY, Laguna-Supporters of striking farmers in Hacienda Yulo in Calamba City on Tuesday appealed to Commission on Human Rights (CHR) chairperson Atty. Lilia de Lima to lead an investigation on the brutal dispersal of agrarian reform beneficiaries inside the 7,100 hectare Hacienda Yulo in Sitio Buntog, Barangay Canlubang, Calamba City in Laguna province.
In a press statement, the activist fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) urged CHR chair de Lima to personally lead the proposed investigation regarding the brutal eviction of farmers on Friday by 50 members of striking force composed of Laguna SWAT team, the local and regional PNP and the private security guards of Yulo landed clan.
“We appeal to CHR chair Atty. de Lima to personally attend to reports about grave human rights violations perpetrated by the local and regional police force of Laguna against striking farmers of Hacienda Yulo. The situation merits an urgent CHR probe with or without the formal filing of cases before the CHR chief office,” Pamalakaya vice chair Salvador France said in a press statement.
France said the terrifying incident in Hacienda Yulo also merits the immediate suspension and investigation of the PNP Southern Tagalog chief, as well as the chiefs of PNP- Calamba City and PNP-Laguna and the 50 members of the composite police force who were with the private goons of the Yulo during the violent dispersal of the peasant camp-out and the illegal arrest and detention of 10 peasant activists.
The Pamalakaya official said the incident in Hacienda Yulo might also be brought to the House and Senate committees on Human Rights for investigation in aid of legislation.
“The Senate and the House committees on human rights should entertain and pursue their respective parallel probe on the Hacienda Yulo carnage that led to the injury of more than 100 farmers and illegal arrest of 10 farmers pursuing their rights to land,” France said.
Reports from the Katipunan ng Samahang Magbubukid ng Timog Katagalugan (Kasama-TK) said Dan Calvo, land surveyor and architect of Yulo owned Laguna Estate Development Corp. and San Cristobal Realty Corp., refused to honor the peasants’ document on a pending petition for revocation of DAR Exemption Order.
With the surveyor were 50 combined members of the SWAT, the local and regional PNP, and private security guards all with high-caliber rifles who violently pushed the residents blocking their path and illegaly arrested the peasants at their protest camp.
Kasama-TK said of the 10 peasants who remain behind bars at a local police station, 4 of them are women (including an old-aged) while 3 minors namely: Maria Garcia (39 yrs old); Dorotea Mangubat (46 yrs old); Annabel Natanauan (28 yrs old); Francisca Mangubat (71 yrs old); Mario Mangubat (36 yrs old); Gilbert Caraan (25 yrs old); Lamberto Caraan (40 yrs old); Roger Nedia, (16 yrs old); Jhefe De Leon, (15 yrs old); and Melvin Natanauan , (16 yrs old). Twelve-year old Jorge Mangubat was also illegaly detained but was released Friday night at around 8 pm.
The peasants were also charged with direct assault, alarm and sacandal, serious resistance and disobedience and grave coercion.
Eric Laurel, secretary general of Samahan ng mga Mamamayang Nagkakaisa sa Buntog (SAMANA-Buntog), demanded to the police to at least spare the 3 minors from the dispute. A prosecutor suggested to bring the 3 minors to “rehabilitation” but Laurel countered it could only lead to “brainwashing” these minors away from their legal struggle.
The Hacienda Yulo, 7,100 hectares of land owned by the Jose Miguel Yulo clan, is to be converted into a subdivision and golf course instead of granting ownership to the farmers. Laurel said that the land ownership to the farmers should have been granted as early as the 1960’s.