Farmers’ group assails burning of 2 houses in Laguna estate
A militant farmers’ group on Sunday condemned the burning of two houses of farmers inside Hacienda Yulo in Calamba City, Laguna province, saying “the perpetrators of this crime and their wealthy bosses are outright inhuman.”
In a statement, the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) chair Danilo Ramos said armed men set on fire the houses of Freddie Cacao and Mario Mangubat at Sitio (subvillage) Buntog, Barangay Canlubang, around 3 p.m. on Saturday.
The houses were the last structures that stood inside a fenced section of the area embroiled in an ownership dispute in Buntog, said Leo Mangubat, spokesperson for the KMP-affiliated Samahan ng mga Magsasakang Nagkakaisa sa Buntog (Samana-Buntog) and Mario’s brother.
The area is part of Hacienda Yulo, a 7,100-hectare sugar estate in Laguna at the boundaries of the cities of Calamba, Cabuyao, and Sta. Rosa.
According to KMP, they learned that there was a plan to build a subdivision there.
Ramos said the gunmen dragged Cacao and his wife Criselda out of their house before they burned it. An hour later, they returned and set on fire Mangubat’s house even while his wife Dottie was inside, he said.
Dottie tried to take a video of the house burning with her cellular phone, but one of the gunmen grabbed the device, the KMP said. They pointed their firearms at the farmers and their children, it added.
More than 45 houses are still standing outside the fenced area, said Leo.
Since 1991, he said, farmers were being forcibly removed from the property, harassed or bought off to leave the place.
According to KMP, armed men also burned down three houses last August, fenced off a portion of the land, and harassed farmer-residents of Buntog and neighboring Sitio Matang.
Ramos said the latest incident happened just a day after Samana farmers held a protest in front of Calamba Mayor Timmy Chipeco’s office to seek a dialogue. INQ
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.