Agrarian violence worsens

May 18, 2006 at 3:27 pm Leave a comment

Another Task Force Mapalad leader got killed in Negros Occidental last Wednesday. Mario Domingo, 35, a CARP beneficiary, was shot by a worker of a landowner in front of other farmers. His killing is the most recent in Negros, which is gaining reputation as agrarian reform’s mass grave.

In a related development, a website was created by PEACE for Ka Eric Cabagnit. Yesterday, AKBAYAN Representatives in Congress filed a resolution (read below) to launch an inqury on the spate of agrarian violence through out the country.

Republic of the Philippines
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Quezon City, Metro Manila

THIRTEENTH CONGRESS

Second Regular Session

HOUSE RESOLUTION No. 1248


Introduced by Akbayan Reps. Ana Theresia Hontiveros-Baraquel, Loretta Ann P. Rosales, and Mario “Mayong” Joyo Aguja



RESOLUTION
DIRECTING THE COMMITTEES ON HUMAN RIGHTS AND AGRARIAN REFORM TO CONDUCT AN INVESTIGATION, IN AID OF LEGISLATION, ON THE SPATE OF AGRARIAN-RELATED VIOLENCE THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY THAT HAS CLAIMED THE LIVES OF NUMEROUS FARMER-BENEFICIARIES AND NON-GOVERNMENT ORGANIZATION WORKERS THE LATEST OF WHOM WERE VICENTE B. DENILA, RICO ADEVA, PORFERIO MAGLASANG, ERIC CABANIT AND MARIO DOMINGO WHO WERE KILLED BY UNIDENTIFIED GUNMEN

WHEREAS, Republic Act No. (RA) 6657, also known as the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL) of 1988, was enacted on 10 June 1988 to enable landless peasants and farmers, including regular or seasonal farm workers, access to land not only to tenants but also to and to other landless farmers through the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) ;

WHEREAS, in spite of weaknesses and problems, CARL and CARP have still been able to offer important opportunities for peasants to improve their impoverished economic and harsh social-political situation through land redistribution and tenure reform ;

WHEREAS , the promise of important opportunities for peasants offered by RA 6657 to the landless farmers appears to be empty as eighteen (18) years into the implementation of agrarian reform, the remaining balance of 730,000 hectares out of the 4.3 million hectares of lands that are supposed to be covered by the agrarian reform program has still to be realized;

WHEREAS, the range of problems encountered with the effective implementation of the CARP includes the failure to start land redistribution proceedings under CARL, failure to fully consummate land redistribution proceedings under CARL, outright exclusion of rightful farmworker beneficiaries, non-installation of rightful beneficiaries on land legally awarded them, onerous ‘stock distribution option’ arrangements, onerous land-lease contracts and onerous land valuations;

WHEREAS, most of the reported violations of peasants’ human rights occurred in the context of peasants trying to use the law to claim legal rights to land which is crucial for securing an adequate and sustainable livelihood, and the wider social well-being that this enables, as well as effective access to basic civil and political rights ,

WHEREAS, in the assertion of their socio-economic rights by virtue of the CARL, landless peasants and farm workers together with members of civil society groups who help them, experienced acts of intimidation, coercion, forced eviction, violent dispersals and armed attacks from unidentified armed men;

WHEREAS, the lack of political will of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and landlord resistance are the major obstacles on the road to implementing agrarian reform which comes in various forms including the use of violence and threat of violence against the farmer beneficiaries in trying to instill fear among the poor farmers and cow them into submission and disavowal of agrarian reform;

WHEREAS , most of the reported cases of agrarian reform–related violence that served to deprive peasants of their human rights and basic human security, including their legal right to land and their right to food, and even the right to life and liberty include the following acts by private and non-state actors: summary executions and death threats, violent dispersal and indiscriminate firing on unarmed protesters, arrests and detention and actual or threatened eviction or ejectment of rightful peasant claimants from awarded land;

WHEREAS , such violent acts by private and non-state actors against peasants and members of civil society groups are often aggravated by the failure of state officials to fully investigate and provide appropriate redress for the most egregious human rights violations perpetrated by powerful private and non-state actors and the state’s tolerance of deplorable working and living conditions maintained by big landowners and agribusiness companies;

WHEREAS, just within the first quarter of this year, several peasants were violently killed among whom were UNORKA member Vicente B. Denila who was shot dead on 27 March 2006 in Sitio Cansuy-ong, Novallas, Tanjay City, TFM organizer Rico Adeva, who was shot dead on 15 April 2006 in Hacienda del Fuego 2, Barangay Dos Hermanas, Silay City, Porferio Maglasang,municipal leader of PKKM who was shot dead on April 22, 2006 in Kabankalan, Negros Occidental; Enrico “Ka Eric” G. Cabanit, Chairman of WADECOR Employees Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Association, Inc., at the same time, Secretary General of the Pambansang Ugnayan ng mga Nagsasariling Lokal na Organisasyon sa Kanayunan (UNORKA), who, together with his daughter, was shot in a public market of Panabo City, Davao del Norte on 24 April 2006 ,Jimmy Mirafuente,UNORKA member was killed in Daraga,Albay last April 27 and Mario Domingo, President, Task Force Mapalad in Hacienda Cambuktot, Bgy. Mansalanao,La Castellana, Negros Occidental on May 17 at 7:00 am.

WHEREAS, this series of agrarian reform-related violence is bound to escalate because the whole structure of our semi-feudal economy is inherently biased and violent against the farmers;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, AS IT IS HEREBY RESOLVED, that the House of Representatives direct the Committees on Human Rights and Agrarian Reform to conduct an investigation, in aid of legislation, on the spate of agrarian-related violence throughout the country that has claimed the lives of numerous farmer-beneficiaries and agrarian reform advocates, the latest of whom were Vicente Denila, Rico Adeva, Porferio Magsalang , Eric Cabanit and Mario Domingo.

Adopted ,


Rep. LORETTA ANN P. ROSALES
Rep. ANA THERESIA HONTIVEROS-BARAQUEL
Rep. MARIO “MAYONG” JOYO AGUJA

filed on May 17, 2006

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Entry filed under: Agrarian Reform, AKBAYAN in Congress.

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