Minority senators seek probe of killing of 9 Sagay farmers
The Senate minority bloc is seeking an investigation into the death of nine sugarcane farmers in Sagay City, Negros Occidental.
The minority group composed of Senators Leila de Lima, Bam Aquino, Risa Hontiveros, Francis Pangilinan, Antonio Trillanes IV and Franklin Drilon filed Senate Resolution No. 929 seeking to identify the suspects behind the killings and “address the pitiful plight of ordinary farmers.”
“The indiscriminate and thoughtless killing of the members of the impoverished and marginalized sectors of the society by those who circumvent the law, such as powerful landowners and local warlords, must be put to an end,” the senators said in the resolution.
The senators also said the massacre should prompt the government to evaluate the implementation of Republic Act No. 6657 or the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law, which concerns the “just distribution of agricultural lands.”
“Aside from the pockets of investigations led by various agencies seeking accountability for the lives lost in this eventuality, the government should not only prosecute those responsible to the killings but should probe and swiftly respond to the primal causes of the continued landlessness of many Filipino farmers that shackle them and their families to the chains of poverty and social injustice,” the senators said.
Nine members of the National Federation of Sugarcane Workers (NFSW) were gunned down by unidentified men while they were preparing to cultivate land in Hacienda Nene in Sagay City on October 20.
Western Visayas police director Chief Insp. John Bulalacao claimed that the New People’s Army is involved in the attack of the sugarcane workers.
However, the senators cited the initial fact-finding mission by human rights and leftists groups that claimed Hacienda Nene lessor Allan Simbingco and other landowners related to political clans were behind the massacre.
This was why the senators said the death of farmers must not be used as a “political device” to point critics of the administration to criminal acts.
“The death of the farmers should lead to a stronger program to implement social justice measures and protect our impoverished countrymen and women. It should not be used as a political device to impute criminal acts against critics of this administration without any factual basis,” they said.
Some lawmakers in the House of Representatives also sought an inquiry into the massacre of nine sugarcane workers. /ee
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