State agents kill 5 farmers


Five farmers who actively fought for their right to land were killed by state agents in the past two weeks.

The victims include Antonio Arellano, chairperson of the Paghiliusa sa Mangunguma sa Binabono, one of the organizations which petitioned against the Anti-Terrorism Law (ATL). He was murdered in Barangay Jonob-jonob, Escalante City, Negros Occidental, on the exact day of the first oral arguments against the ATL in the Supreme Court last February 2. Paghiliusa is an affiliate organization of the National Federation of Sugar Workers, an organization often red-tagged by the military in Negros.

State forces also killed farmer Rommy Torres who opposed the Villar family’s land grabbing activities in Norzagaray, Bulacan. He was abducted on February 3 in Barangay San Mateo in the said town. His lifeless body was recovered in Laguna on February 5.

On January 21, state forces gunned down activist Vernel Mondreal along the boundary of barangays Salvacion and Igdalaquit in Sibalom, Antique. Mondreal was a coordinator of the Igpanolong Human Rights Desk.

In Sorsogon, police and 31st IB troopers murdered Michael Bagasala in San Antonio, Barcelona on January 24. His cadaver bore marks of torture. Witnesses clarified that Bagasala was tortured before being slain.

The police also killed Noel Degamon, Jr. on January 29 in Barangay Luna, Surigao City. Bagasala and Degamon were former Red fighters who surrendered but refused to cooperate with state forces.

Arrest. State forces arrested farmers Virgilio dela Cruz, Jerry Ramos and Herminio Ramos in Barangay Villaflor, Cauayan, Isabela on January 23. Their residen­ces were planted with evidences to justify the arrest. They were accused of being members of the people’s army.

In the Caraga region, state forces successively arrested last February 6 mass leaders Gina Tutor of Gabriela, Greco Regala of Pamalakaya-Agusan del Norte and Isaias Ginorga of Piston.

Destruction of property. Armed goons of the Yulo family burned down the houses of two farmers in Buntog, Barangay Canlubang, Calamba, Laguna on January 23. After three days, the goons returned to the community and mauled six farmers. They also threatened to kill the residents if they would continue to oppose the conversion of their farmlands.

Harassment. Around 60 elements of the 2nd IB ransacked houses in Barangay Madao, Uson, Masbate last February 1. The soldiers threatened the residents, and robbed the properties of the family of Enrique Tumampil, leader of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Masbate.

State agents kill 5 farmers