Nation

NFSW supports FFM findings in Sagay 9 Massacre

Photo Credits: SOCO Sagay City, Negros Occidental

The National Federation of Sugar Workers congratulates the delegates of the National Fact-Finding Mission for an impartial and thorough investigation not only on the event of the massacre but the circumstances leading up to this gruesome killing of our members.

Its findings validated that at around 9:30 p.m. on October 20, 2018, nine farmers were massacred by 10-15 armed men suspected state agents.

Earlier that day, at around 10 AM that morning, 43 members of our local chapter in Hacienda Nene participated in a “Bungkalan” (land cultivation) located in Purok Firetree, Barangay Bulanon, Sagay City, Negros Occidental.

After putting up a makeshift tent and the flag of NFSW in the middle, a certain Zenaida, farm manager of Allan Simbingco—the lessee, called Rene Manlangit, the chairperson of the local chapter of NFSW in Hacienda Nene, confirming their entry in the area.

Manlangit informed Zenaida that some members of their organization and Simbingco already had a verbal agreement a month before their entry allowing the organization to cultivate the land after his last harvest of sugarcane.

At around 2 PM, the farmers saw Allan Dela Cruz walked along a narrow pathway towards the sugarcane fields. Later on, his father, Emilio Dela Cruz, followed the direction of his son.

Emilio Dela Cruz is the son of Antonio Dela Cruz, a grantee of the Deed of Donations from Carmen Tolentino, the mother of Atty. Barbara Tolentino, the current landowner of Hacienda Nene.

The farmers also saw three different motorcycles pass by a secondary road near the tent at around 3 pm, three times.

Further, the NFFM found that Simbingco is a close relative of the Marañons. The Marañons, like the Cojuangcos, are big landlords, who have a private army, composed of former Revolutionary Proletarian Army (RPA) and active members of Special Civilian Auxiliary Army (SCAA). Local SCAA are commonly known to protect haciendas in Negros and are under the control of the local government.

SCAA members are also suspects to the killings of Flora Jimola, the late city chairwoman of NFSW who was killed and her body burned last December 2017 in Hacienda Susan, and Ronald Manlanat, a member of NFSW, was brutally shot in the head in Hacienda Jofred on January 22 this year. Both Haciendas are located in Sagay City, Negros Occidental.

The same pattern of killings was applied at the Sagay Massacre where 10-15 armed men were involved.

In light with this new evidence, NFSW Secretary General John Milton “Butch” Lozande calls the general public to hold the landlords, their agents, and the AFP and PNP accountable to the massacre. Duterte should be called out for threatening farmers planning to launch their bungkalan campaigns with Sagay 9 appearing to serve as his warning, while not having any agrarian reform program for them.

Lozande demands justice and that the Commission on Human Rights and the National Bureau of Investigation and independent groups factor these findings in their own investigations instead of concealing these facts, which the AFP and PNP have been pro-actively doing.

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