Dear Friends,

We wish to inform you of our error in our just sent press release: Agricultural Workers Say Red Baiting of Land Cultivation Areas Led to Negros Massacre

Instead of Barbara Luna, the owner of Hacienda Nene is Atty. Barbara Tolentino. We were also informed of our local chapter, and the land is leased by Bacolod City-based Conpinco Trading.

We wish to apologize for this error.

Regards,

Gi Estrada

On Sun, Oct 21, 2018 at 10:29 AM UMA Pilipinas wrote:
Source Verification:
Gi Estrada: Media officer
09179450552

Agricultural Workers Say Red Baiting of Land Cultivation Areas Led to Negros Massacre

The Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) and the National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW) today vehemently condemns the massacre of 9 NFSW members, including 4 women and two minors in Hda. Nene, Purok Pine Tree, Barangay Bulanon, Sagay City at 9pm last night.

According to John Milton “Butch” Lozande, secretary general of both UMA and NFSW, we hold the Duterte administration including the Armed Forces of the Philippines responsible for this reprehensible act of violence towards our farmers.

On April 20, 2018 Brigadier General Eliezer Losañes, 303rd commanding officer of the Philippine Army reported that the land cultivation areas (LCA’s) being maintained by agricultural sugar workers and farmers in Negros Island are in fact New People’s Army (NPA) rebels communal farms.

The NFSW, on the other hand has time and again stated, that the goal of setting up land cultivation areas is to ward off the inevitable hunger brought by the Tiempo Muerto (dead season in the sugar industry) on properties covered by agrarian reform but which remain undistributed and idle, planting these with vegetables, banana, corn and root crops to feed their families.

The 9 together with 4 others were resting in a farm hut when they were reportedly strafed by 40 armed men. They, together with others had just begun their LCA in the 75 hectare hacienda that morning. The names of the victims are still being ascertained and a Fact Finding Mission is still ongoing in the area.

Initial data culled from the area reveal that a certain Barbara Luna owns the hacienda and maintains a number of goons there.

Earlier, two leaders of NFSW were also killed in Sagay City.

Flora A. Jemola, chairperson of NFSW-Sagay City was killed on December 21, 2017 in an LCA area in Hda. Susan Brgy. Poblacion 1 Sagay City. She died from 13 stab wounds inflicted on her by suspected elements of SCAA/CAFGU members under the 12th IB of the Philippine Army.

This was followed by the killing of Ronald Manlanat, a member of a local chapter of NFSW in Hacienda Joefred, Barangay General Luna, Sagay City, on February 21, 2018 again by suspected elements of SCAA/CAFGU members under the 12th IB of the Philippine Army. The killers shot a whole magazine of M16 in his head.

Manlanat has been receiving threats for participating in the land cultivation campaign in Barangay Luna where the hacienda workers and farmers called for the implementation of the agrarian reform.

The killing of the 9 puts to 45 the number of peasants killed in Negro Island under the Duterte regime.

The feudal and semi-feudal situation in Negros is dire.

Of the 424,130 hectares of sugar lands in Negros Island, 33.99% of these are lands with 50 hectares or more owned by only 1,860 big landlords (hacienderos), 30% with 10 to 50 hectares are owned by just 6,820 big and small landlords, and the majority of 53,320 farmers and agricultural workers only own 36% of the sugar lands.

In addition to these, the NFSW estimates that 70% of sugar lands that have been distributed by the government had been leased (aryendo) due mainly to lack of support services and non-land support facilities that forced Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries to lease their land. While CARP implementation was only at 40%.

Sugar workers in haciendas (plantations), on the average, receive a measly P500 to P750 weekly wages all year round. Minimum wage is pegged at only P245 per day for the farm workers but in many haciendas, P80-P120 a day is still prevalent.

It is morally right and just for the sugar workers and peasants in Negros Occidental to undertake their Land Cultivation Areas especially with a regime that has no land reform program to offer. Instead it red baits those who assert their rights to the land.

Justice to the Negros 9 massacre!
Justice to all Peasants Killed in Negros!

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Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura
Federation of Agricultural Workers | Philippines

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