Farmers protest at Calamba City Hall on 34th Mendiola massacre commemoration day
Peasant farmers and progressive groups marched in front of the Calamba City Hall to condemn the continuous attacks on farmers and call for a proper land reform on the contested Hacienda Yulo this January 22, the same day of the 34th Mendiola massacre commemoration.
Led by the Katipunan ng mga Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan (KASAMA-TK), Yulo farmers along with local chapters from Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN), Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (KADAMAY), Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya (PAMALAKAYA), Samahan ng Mamamayang Nagkakaisa (SAMANA), and Alyansa ng Manggagawa sa Engklabo (AMEN) headed towards the capitol to initiate a dialogue with Mayor Justin Marc Chipeco, only to be held back by the guards at the city hall’s gate.
According to the reports of the College Editors’ Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) Southern Tagalog, four farmer representatives were eventually allowed to go in, but was said to have been forcibly pulled inside while other protesters were left outside the capitol.
Later in the afternoon, Timog Katagalugan farmers rallied their way in front of the Laguna Capitolio Extension Office, appealing to Governor Ramil Hernandez.
Most of the protesters that camped outside the extension office were displaced farmers evicted from their homes, unemployed amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
Acts of violence against Yulo farmers
On August 24 of 2020, residents of the 7,100 hectares of Yulo land in Buntog and Bangyas in Canlubang, Calamba, Laguna received threats from the Yulo family private guards. Passages of the area were surrounded while the neighboring sitios experienced the same harassment.
As per the National Federation of Peasant Women (Amihan) and the KASAMA-TK, armed guards were sighted in the area following their arrival on August 24.
On January 6 of the following year, groups of men were once again sighted within the area and allegedly entered two of the residents’ homes in Buntog, the properties of the farmers.
According to one of the residents, Mario Mangubat, guards pointed guns at Mangubat and his brother. They were then forced to the ground as their house was destroyed.
“My wife was pleading with them, but they didn’t care. […] They destroyed everything,” said Mangubat, in a phone interview with Bulatlat.
Following the threats that the peasant farmers of Hacienda Yulo have experienced over the years, Southern Tagalog chapters of KASAMA-TK and College Editors’ Guild of the Philippines continued to support the Yulo farmers, condemning the continuous injustices.
DEFEND YULO UPDATE: Pinapasok na ang apat na kinatawan ng mga magsasaka para maging bahagi ng dialogue subalit marahas na hinatak sila papasok ng mga gwardya.#DefendYuloFarmers
— CEGP Southern Tagalog (@CEGPST) January 22, 2021
University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) Perspective also reported the burning of two Yulo farmer houses (Mario Mangubat and Freddie Cacao) by alleged members of Seraph Security Agency on January 23, the day after the protest.
LOOK: Mario Mangubat, another Hacienda Yulo farmer’s home was burned, Defend Yulo Farmers says. This was only minutes after it was reported that the home of Freddie Cacao was being burned by alleged paid members of the Seraph Security Agency as well. pic.twitter.com/KDwDdSF8N9
— UPLB Perspective (@uplbperspective) January 23, 2021
This is a developing story.