as if they own the lands in Bgy. Balingcanaway, Tarlac City
“This is outright bullying by St. Tropez, they have no legal claim of the lands, but their guards are on the farmers’ lands acting as if they own it. They even forbid the farmers to work on their land,” said Joseph Canlas, chair of AMGL, the Central Luzon chapter of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP).
“St. Tropez have no right to intrude over the lands as they are covered by the land reform program, even older than CARP. Their documents are not even cleared by DAR, thus, they are definitely landgrabbers, who are anticipating the sudden surge of market value of the lands as they are on the vicinity of the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway and Sta. Rosa-Tarlac road, connecting Tarlac and Nueva Ecija,” Canlas said.
The local farmers of Balingcanaway are now protesting the landgrabbing, in consequence they are appealing to the Tarlac City council to intervene. They also said that the security guards stay on their farms is unlawful as the Tarlac Municipal Trial Court have already made its judgment on a forcible entry case filed by the farmers on November 15, 2010 that the lands should be returned to them. They added that Balingcanaway barangay officials are useless as they believe they are in collusion with St. Tropez.
“St. Tropez have no legal documents over the lands, the court have already decided that their guards should vacate the farms, but they continue to harass the farmers. In this case, where should the farmers ask for help? The landgrabbing is fuelling an unrest and in the near future, a clash between guards and farmers is very possible,” Canlas said.
AMGL said that the Aquino government is useless to cases like this. The group said that there are many similar cases brewing in Central Luzon, such as the demolition in Bgy. San Roque, La Paz town of Tarlac, the Cojuangco landgrabbing of Camp Gregg Military Reservation covering lands covering 12 barangays of Bayambang town in Pangasinan, in the 3,100-hectare lands of Fort Magsaysay Military Reservation in Laur, Nueva Ecija, in many towns of Nueva Ecija and provinces in the region.
“Farmers in the region are the most exploited and oppressed. They have been working on the lands for decades and yet, landgrabbers such as the St. Tropez come like hurricane claiming lands. Government officials have been dormant on the farmers plight, thus, it is very clear that the farmers have no other option but to struggle for their rights on land,” Canlas said.
The group called on the Tarlac City council to act fast on the issue as farmers losing their source of livelihood as caused by the harassment of the guards. They are also calling the attention of the office of Rep. Susan Yap, of the 2nd District of Tarlac province to uphold the rights of the farmers on the lands. #