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Farm leader’s slay linked to fight for land

FARMERS from the Bondoc Peninsula in Quezon province gathered in February this year in Mulanay town to receive certificates of land ownership award for some 480 hectares of land under the government agrarian reform program. DELFIN T. MALLARI JR./INQUIRER SOUTHERN LUZON

LUCENA CITY – The killing of a peasant leader here is being linked to a land conflict that is threatening to turn again the Bondoc Peninsula into an agrarian reform powder keg.

The murdered peasant leader, Elisa Tulid, 33, of Barangay Tala, San Andres town, was walking home in her village with husband Danny when a lone suspect, identified as Ranny Bugnot, blocked their path and shot the couple with a gun of a still undetermined caliber.

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Tulid died on the spot while Danny was able to run and escape the shooting, police said. Bugnot was arrested in a follow-up operation.

“We strongly condemn the killing. We appeal to President Aquino to give justice to the death of one of our dedicated peasant leaders,” said Maribel Luzara, head of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Bondoc Peninsula (KMBP), in a phone interview.

Luzara said the killing of Tulid, an active leader of Samahan ng Magsasaka sa Barangay Tala at Camflora—a KMBP-allied organization—is related to the intense agrarian dispute in San Andres town.

Luzara said Tulid’s is among the more than 200 families who have long been tilling lands classified as public by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

“The public land has long been targeted by influential landlord-claimants in the Bondoc Peninsula,” Luzara said.

She said Tulid was in the forefront of the struggle of the land occupants to take possession of the government land through the process set forth by the DENR.

Luzara recalled that last year, Tulid’s father was imprisoned for a month after one of the new land claimants accused him of coconut theft.

She said Tulid and her clan had long been receiving death threats from goons of influential land claimants.

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TAGS: agrarian reform, Agriculture, Bondoc Peninsula, Conflict, Elisa Tulid, Land Conflict, Regions
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