Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP)
The January 28 shooting against volunteers and farmers is only the latest escalation of feudal violence in San Jose del Monte (SJDM), Bulacan. Left with an agrarian reform program failed by design, SJDM farmers have for decades faced the collusion of some of the country’s biggest landlords, compradors, and bureaucrats.
Instead of ensuring the farmers’ right to till the land, the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) has facilitated landgrabbing in SJDM. Throughout the years, it has exempted and converted productive farmlands to pave the way for subdivisions, malls, and other commercial establishments of Araneta-Marcos, Villar, Sy, and other oligarchs. It has emboldened landlords in using assassination, violence, threats, and bribery to evict more and more farmers.
CARP left agricultural lands vulnerable to land speculation, or amassing huge landed properties in anticipation of higher prices in the future. These million peso wagers are grounded on / backed by) state-funded infrastructure projects. Land prices in SJDM have indeed increased as the MRT 7 project advanced since the 2000s. This has exhausted the agricultural lands of SJDM as various landed interests rush to acquire properties through any and all means.
What follows is a timeline of the 77-year struggle of SJDM peasants against land grabbing and for genuine land reform.
Settlers from Visayas, Bicol, Southern Tagalog, Ilocos, and Northern Luzon began tilling the lands of Barangays Tungkong Mangga and San Roque. They planted rice, corn, banana, coffee, and other vegetable and fruit crops.
The peasant population in SJDM further increased in the 1960s as the Puyat Estate closed down and its workers lost jobs. Migration from other regions also continued throughout the Marcos dictatorship.
After the 1987 Mendiola Massacre, the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) was enacted under the Cory Aquino regime on June 10, 1988. Several lands in SJDM were covered.
Under bogus land reform
DAR released a Conversion Order for Lupang Teresa in Brgy. Tungkong Mangga without informing its farmers.
Villar started claiming at least 1,400 hectares in SJDM.
Lupang Isabela in Brgy. San Roque was issued a Notice of Coverage under CARP.
Greggy Araneta becomes CEO of Araneta Properties Inc. (API). Greggy Araneta is the husband of Irene Marcos, sister of presidentiable Ferdinand Marcos Jr., whose wife is in turn Liza Araneta, sister of Greggy.
1995 February 12
Tungkong Mangga farmers form Tungkong Mangga Upland Farmers Association Inc. (TMUFAI). It became an affiliate of Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Bulacan (AMB), provincial chapter of KMP.
Palmera started claiming Lupang Teresa. It hired guards to uproot farmers’ crops then offered them money to leave their farms. TMUFAI launched a balik-saka and anti-selling out campaign.
After almost five years, TMUFAI discovered the 1992 DAR conversion order. They appealed against it and were issued a collective CLOA. The DAR Central Luzon refused to sign, claiming that the area was steep, undeveloped, unirrigated, and prone to erosion.
The CLOA for Lupang Isabela was cancelled based on a flawed DAR ocular inspection which concluded that it had no crops and farmers. The farmers applied for a Cancellation of Revocation and succeeded. The Isabela camp appealed.
Farmers acquired a cease-and-desist order against Palmera as long as the land remains disputed.
Araneta-Marcos lands with a massacre
Through API, Araneta-Marcos started deploying armed guards in Brgys. Tungkong Mangga, San Roque and San Isidro.
1999 June 18
Four AMB farmers were killed and two others wounded by around 20 Araneta-hired guards. The incident was dubbed the Tungkong Mangga Massacre. (Source)
Farmers learn of Araneta’s 25-year development plan for SJDM which already included the MRT 7. (Source)
San Miguel Corporation (SMC), then owned by Danding Cojuangco, submitted an unsolicited proposal for MRT 7 to the DOTC (now DOTr) and NEDA. (Source) It will directly affect TMUFAI farmers’ lands. (Source)
Isabela’s 1998 appeal for an Exemption Order was approved by DAR. TMUFAI appealed to the Court of Appeals and later the Office of the President.
Aranetas were discovered to have laundered funds from a Marcos bank account in Switzerland, attempting to transfer large sums of money to a German bank. (Source)
API signed a joint venture project with Sta. Lucia Land Inc. (SLI) for the 236-hectare Colinas Verdes Estates, which they then launched two years after. (Source)
Farmers successfully appealed for and built day care centers and elementary schools in three sitios of Brgy. Tungkong Mangga.
Villars have at this point built 100 subdivisions all over SJDM.
AMB established a communal farm in Brgy. Tungkong Mangga, benefitting 200 families.
Lopez acquired 120 hectares in SJDM for its Horizon IT Park, a studio complex.
Resisting MRT 7
Araneta-Marcos guards arbitrarily shut down a major road, altering a jeep route which eventually closed. The guards also blocked the entry of construction materials, stopping the approved expansion of an elementary school in Brgy. Tungkong Mangga.
DAR held an OCI of Lupang Teresa.
2013 November 21
The P62.7 billion MRT 7 is approved by NEDA, the biggest PPP project under Noynoy Aquino. (Source)
2014 July 1
KMP and AMB holds protest vs MRT 7 and continued harassment of SJDM farmers at MRT 3 – North Edsa Station (Source)
2015 April 14-15
2015 September 19
Elderly farmer-activist couple Roger and Lucila Vargas shot dead in Brgy. Tungkong Mangga. The killing happened while elements of the 48th IBPA’s “peace and development teams” were operating in Brgy. Paradise III (Source)
Greggy Araneta personally visited AMB leader Redo Pena’s house, aiming to buy him off. Pena did not face him for fear of being killed. (Source)
The 2001 Exemption Order for 37 hectares of Lupang Isabela is declared final, but 5 hectares are supposed to remain covered by CARP. The order did not specify which lots are exempted or covered.
Villar subdivisions in SJDM now at 150.
SMC begins bulldozing farmlands in SJDM for MRT 7, militarization intensified as DOTr requested the deployment of soldiers to protect SMC.
SM City SJDM of Sy opened in Tungko.
Leaked Panama Papers reveal offshore shell entities of Greggy Araneta and wife Irene Marcos, likely used for tax evasion and money laundering. (Source)
Militarization intensifies under Duterte
DAR Sec Rafael Mariano targets SJDM for land reform (Source)
2016 October 2
Farmers camp-out vs MRT 7 and landgrabbing in Brgy. Tungkong Mangga (Source)
2016 October 5
2016 October 6 and 19
8 farmers illegally detained tokhang-style. (Source)
Construction of Lopez’s Horizon IT Park began.
2017 August 15
2017 September 6
Rafael Mariano rejected by Committee of Appointments. (Source)
Araneta-Marcos announced plans for a 140-hectare “central business district” in Caloocan, bordering SJDM. (Source)
2018 to 2020
Elements of the 80th and 48th IBPA begin encamping inside peasant communities in SJDM. Soldiers rented houses and conducted surveillance, red tagging, forcing fake surrenderees, and harassment against farmers. (Source)
2018 October 18
Part of Lopez’s Horizon IT Park opened.
DAR released a Conversion Order for Lupang Teresa.
2019 January 14
Sandiganbayan released Greggy Araneta’s P200 billion worth of ill-gotten wealth sequestered by the PCGG. (Source) Two weeks after, Araneta-Marcos appealed for the release of his other ill-gotten wealth. (Source)
2019 March 18
Larry Suganob Jr., member of Pinagbuklod and Anakpawis, was shot dead outside his hut in Purok 6, Barangay San Isidro (Source)
2019 March 21
Soldiers barged into an Anakpawis meeting in Brgy. Paradise III (Source)
2019 June 29
DOTr relocates MRT 7 depot from SJDM to Barangay Greater Lagro, Caloocan City (Source)
2019 September 3
Araneta-hired surveyors and goons fenced off the farms and homes of farmers in Brgy. Tungkong Mangga under Manila Banking Corp., an Araneta dummy. 48th IB soldiers present merely looked on. (Source 1, Source 2)
Continued harassment amid Covid
2020 March 16
SJDM farmers suffer problems in transporting produce after the nationwide Covid lockdown (Source)
2020 April 19
Sagip Kanayunan 7 illegally arrested on the SJDM-Norzagaray border.
SJDM farmers ravaged by Typhoon Ulysses. (Source)
2021 January 17
Several men from the local government of SJDM destroyed around 1,000 vegetable and fruit crops on a 2 hectare-farm in Brgy. Tungkong Mangga. (Source)
2021 February 9
Several men from the local government of SJDM, PNP Bulacan, and private guards demolished a farmer’s house in Brgy. Paradise III. (Source)
Private surveyors illegally entered Brgy. Kaybanban farms. (Source)
The farmers were able to block a second attempt. But a barangay official red-tagged them as well as SAKA advocates who visited. (Source)
2021 June 4
AMB held a picket protest in front of SJDM City Hall against illegal demolitions and evictions. (Source)
2021 June 29
An API lawyer summoned Brgy. Tungkong Mangga farmers to the barangay hall. The farmers are told that they have to self-demolish as Araneta-Marcos is about to take the land. No documents were presented to them. (Source)
2021 July 16
A team from City Transportation Management with several barangay officials, illegally demolished vending stalls along a road in Brgy. Kaybanban.
2021 August 16
During Bulacan’s first day under MECQ, soldiers went house to house to distribute red-tagging fliers in Brgys. Paradise 3 and San Roque. (Source)
2021 August 25
Araneta-Marcos guards went to the house of a farmer in Sitio Dalandan and threatened that they would demolish his house after a week. (Source)
Araneta-Marcos guards arbitrarily closed a farm to market road in Lupang Teresa. They are forcing farmers to reach an agreement with Araneta to be allowed entry and exit in exchange for demolishing their own homes and receiving P10,000 to P15,000. (Source)
MRT 7 trains bring demolitions
2021 September 6
The first MRT 7 train sets arrive. (Source)
2021 October 6
AMB held a dialogue with Bgy. Tungkong Mangga Captain Bong Medina. He expressed support to the farmers but was pessimistic about stopping Araneta-Marcos. (Source)
2021 November 4
Araneta-Marcos guards illegally demolished several farmers’ houses in Brgy. Tungkong Mangga. (Source)
2021 November 18
Araneta-Marcos guards illegally demolished a farmer’s house in Lupang Teresa. They punched in the gut the owner of the house who tried to film them. (Source)
2021 November 20
Farmers from Brgys. San Roque and Tungkong Mangga heard an explosion at around 1:30am. Two explosives were then found near the farmer’s house demolished last November 18. One of them failed to explode (Source). The SJDM PNP refused to accept a blotter of the November 4 demolition.
2021 December 7
Araneta-Marcos guards blocked the entry of several DAR personnel about to hold an ocular inspection in Brgy. San Roque.
2021 December 16
MRT 7 train sets unveiled to President Duterte by SMC’s Ramon Ang and DOTr Sec Arthur Tugade. (Source)
2022 January 19
Soldiers harassed 63-year old AMB Chairwoman Cecil Rapiz at her home in Brgy. Paradise 3. She fell unconscious after hyperventilating.
2022 January 26
Araneta-Marcos goons illegally demolished four houses (including Pena’s), punctured motor tires, and stole other properties of Lupang Teresa farmers.
2022 January 28
Around 30 Araneta-Marcos goons open fire at 8 volunteers and around 20 farmers, including at least 7 children, in Brgy. Tungkong Mangga. Cell phones, wallets, bags and relief goods for farmers were also forcibly taken by the armed men. They also destroyed a makeshift shelter, generator, stoves, gas tanks, and whatever was left of the demolition victim’s houses and belongings.
SJDM farmers continue to be under the threat of illegal demolition and forced eviction today. ###