Agrarian reform

Angeles residents pin hopes on Hontiveros Senate probe

Joann Manabat

This is AI generated summarization, which may have errors. For context, always refer to the full article.

Angeles residents pin hopes on Hontiveros Senate probe

SEEKING HOPE. A couple of residents standing atop the old barricade look on to the other side after a violent demolition in February 2024.

Joann Manabat/Rappler

Senator Risa Hontiveros proposes a Senate investigation into the implementation of agrarian laws and eviction of farmers in Angeles City

PAMPANGA, Philippines – Senator Risa Hontiveros, on Tuesday, filed a resolution urging the Senate to probe the implementation of agrarian reform laws following the series of violent demolitions which evicted at least 2,000 residents of Sitio Balubad in Barangay Anunas, Angeles City.

The senator filed Senate Resolution No. 979 to conduct an investigation by the appropriate committee in aid of legislation. Hontiveros called the violence a “clear betrayal” of the promise of agrarian reform laws.

“This violence against our farmers is a clear betrayal of the promise of agrarian reform. We need to protect the rights of the agrarian reform beneficiaries and find out why these kinds of violence continue to happen,” Hontiveros said in a mix of English and Tagalog.

Hontiveros also urged the concerned government agencies to provide immediate social services to the affected residents.

“The cancelation of the residents’ CLOAs (Certificate of Land Ownership Award) and subsequent attempts to evict them from their homes appear to be contrary to the preliminary objective of the country’s agrarian reform program which is to uphold the welfare of the landless farmers and farmworkers, promote social justice, and establish owner cultivatorship of economic size farms as the basis of Philippines agriculture,” the resolution stated.

Ester, not her real name, has been living outside Pampanga province since they were forced to leave their homes inn Barangay Anunas on March 15. She said they are trying to lay low for a while as it takes time to move on. But the fight continues, she said. 

“I have to resign from my job. It is hard to weigh in on this but I am here for my family and this fight,” Ester said in Kapampangan language on Tuesday, April 16.

Sitio Balubad was once a community with 2,000 residents or 535 families. Ester said their only hope is to bring their case of the 73-hectare disputed land to the Senate and open an investigation.

Some 68 residents of Sitio Balubad and members of the Anunas United Farmers, Settlers, and Descendants Association (AUFSDA), on April 15, went the central office of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to ask the government agency to investigate their case and clarify agrarian-related issues.

PICKET. Some 68 residents of Sitio Balubad, on April 15, hold a picket protest at the DAR central office. Photo courtesy of Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura

Joy Paragas, AUFSDA secretary general, said DAR will conduct a separate investigation of their case including the status of their CLOAs. Paragas said that their case also had a pending annulment of writ of demolition as mentioned to them by DAR during their discussion with Undersecretary Napoleon Galit.

Paragas said the discussion also included financial assistance and a possible offer of a three-hectare agricultural land also located in Central Luzon.

Ang sabi pinaimbestigahan nga daw nila kung ano ang nangyari sa baba at kung bakit naging ganun ang status ng mga CLOAs, kung may conversion nga na naganap. Sabi nila kung sakaling may pananagutan ang DAR region, bibigyan daw kami ng financial support muna na pwedeng makatulong sa amin. At sakaling hindi pumabor sa amin yung magiging investigation nila, bibigyan nila kami ng lupa na pwede naming tamnan din as Region 3 din daw,” Paragas said.

Masaya naman kami. Ready kami. Yan lang ang inaantay namin talaga, na mabuksan sa Senate,” she added.

(They said they will investigate what happened in the lowlands as well as the status of the CLOAs, whether there was indeed a conversion. They said if the DAR region was responsible, they would give us financial support initially to help us. And if the investigation is not in our favor, they will give us land that we can cultivate in Region 3 as well.)

(We are happy. We are ready. That’s all we’re really waiting for, for this to be investigated in the Senate) –

Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.

Summarize this article with AI

How does this make you feel?

Download the Rappler App!