Police injures seven in violent Pampanga demolition

This article is available in Pilipino

Seven residents of Sitio Balubad, Barangay Anunas, Angeles City, Pampanga were injured today, March 12, as shots were indiscriminately fired as 500 police personnel along with thugs of Clark Hills Properties Corporation dismantled a barricade set up by local residents. More than 500 households are affected by the demolition plan in the 72-hectare land being seized by the said company. An estimated 2,000 residents are victims of land grabbing.

State forces and thugs violently demolished houses near the barricade and forced their way into the village entry as demolition teams threw stones at the resisting residents. Confronted by resistance, In the the police opened fire, hitting seven residents in their bodies and legs.

The Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luson (AMGL) condemned the state forces’ use of violence against residents and in the demolition. “The shooting done by the police, SWAT and security guards is a manifestation that they do not play the role of maintaining peace and order but instead defend the rich land grabbers!” the group stated.

It was also reported that members of the demolition team intimidated and harassed journalists and reporters covering the demolition. Rowena “Weng” Quejada, a reporter of K5 News Olongapo FM was accosted by an armed man and subjected to interrogation. She was told not to take videos as a gun was pointed at her. Local media doing stories about the land grabbing were called “demons.” Armed men also threatened Rappler reporter Joann Manabat.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) condemned this harassment and violence against the media. This adds to the long list of press freedom violations under the Marcos regime.

Residents of Sitio Balubad first set up their barricades in October 2023 amid threats of demolition. With unity and resistance, they successfully thwarted demolition attempts that month, and again in February this year.

Residents own the land and have certificates of land ownership award (CLOA) and receipts of full payment to the Landbank of the Philippines. Adjacent barangays of Cuayan and Sapangbato also fear that they will also become victims of landgrabbing and demolitions.

Meanwhile, AMGL says the situation in Sitio Balubad is similar to other parts of the region. They explained that this is part of the aggressive “development” projects in the entire province of Pampanga and even in Central Luzon where only a few benefit. The group said this is part of the grandiose Greater Capital Region plan being peddled by businessmen and the wealthy.

AB: Police injures seven in violent Pampanga demolition