Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) vehemently condemns the burning down of the houses of two farmer families by armed goons hired by San Cristobal Realty Development Corporation (SCRDC) and Ayala Land Inc. last January 23 in Sitio Buntog, Hacienda Yulo, Laguna. “The perpetrators of this crime and their wealthy bosses are outright inhuman. Sukdulang kahayupan na ang ginagawa sa mga magsasaka ng Hacienda Yulo,” KMP Chairperson Danilo Ramos says.
Defend Yulo Farmers reports that armed men from Seraph Security Agency, Inc., hired by Yulo-owned SCRDC first arrived in Sitio Buntog at around 3pm, January 23. They dragged farmers Freddie and Criselda Cacao out of their residence at gunpoint, and then burned the structure down. “Wala kaming magawa kundi panuoring nasusunog ang aming bahay,” Criselda laments.
Not long after, at 4pm, the same goons came back and set the house of farmers Mario and Dottie Mangubat on fire, even while Dottie was inside. “Sinubukan ko pong i-video ang ginawa nila pero hinablot at ninakaw ng isang gwardya ang selpon ko. Pati po mga batang anak namin ay tinutukan nila ng baril!” Dottie narrates.
This is not the first case of arson incident against the farmers of Hacienda Yulo amid the pandemic. Last August 2020, the same goons burned down three houses, fenced a portion of the lands, and harassed the farmer-residents of Sitios Buntog and Matang Tubig inside the 7,100-hectare property.
The latest incident occurred just a day after SAMANA-Buntog, an organization of farmers in Hacienda Yulo, held a picket protest in front of Calamba Mayor Timmy Chipeco’s office last January 22 in request for a dialog. PNP Calamba however threatened to violently break up the picket. The farmers dispersed on their own, not hearing a word from Mayor Chipeco.
SCRDC and Ayala Land Inc have been planning to erect commercial establishments over the area since at least 2010.
SAMANA-Buntog is continually receiving threats from the Yulo-Ayala goons and is urgently requesting media coverage and other kinds of support. The displaced farmers in particular are in dire need of food and cash aid as the goons continue to restrict their movement. “Given the barbarity of these goons, the situation of farmers can still worsen in the following days, we have to be very vigilant and defend the Yulo farmers at all costs. What is clear is that behind all these is the Yulos’ and Ayalas’ insatiable greed for profit-making,” Ramos ends. #