resisting the construction of concrete fences by Pangasinan governor Amado Espino at Barangay Bical Sur. Farmers belonging to the local organization Ulopan Na Umbaley Ed Camp Gregg Mlitary Reservation (People’s Association in Camp Gregg Military Reservation) have blocked the construction since last week as they asserted that the lands are part of the Camp Gregg Military Reservation under the supervision of the Dept. of Environent and Natural Resources (DENR) and should be distributed to the farmers who are cultivating them for decades.
“We condemn the violation of the rights of the farmers who are resisting land grabbing. Camp Gregg Military Reservation is a public land as the American government turned it over to the Bureau of Lands in 1949, and those private individuals who are claiming owning lands are not cleared by neither the DENR or Dept. of Agrarian Reform, thus, they are illegal claimants,” said Joseph Canlas, AMGL Chairperson.
KMP Pangasinan said the arrested were Rodolfo Natividad, Emeterio Paningbatan, Felipe Caron, Bernardito Dizon, Rudy Peralta, Rodrigo Asuncion and Ludivico Mejia, all leaders of the local organization in Bayambang. The group reported that the farmers were blocking the construction of the concrete fences about 11am, January 13 at Brgy. Bical Sur, consequently negotiating with
the police Pangasinan governor Espino deployed. A commotion occurred when the police claimed that among the farmers was a man carrying a firearm. Unable to apprehend the man, police then arrested the leaders and brought to the local police station.
At about 6pm, the police released Natividad, Caron, Peralta and Asuncion, Paningbatan, Dizon and Mejia remained in police custody and are being charged with physical injuries and attempted murder. The farmers asserted their innocence as they were merely blocking the construction and they do not know who the man the police were referring to.
KMP Pangasinan said that governor Espino is systematically concentrating ownership of lands throughout the province targeting those positioned by poor farmers who could not defend their rights through the courts. The group said that Espino is planning to construct a private resort at the said site.
AMGL said that the 289.54-hectare Camp Gregg Military Reservation covering 12 barangays is also being claimed the Cojuangco-owned Central Azucarera de Tarlac (CAT) Realty. Farmers said that they are being ejected by private claimants who they believe were speculators for the Cojuangcos.
“CAT Realty claims the own the lands within Camp Gregg and they acquired the property in 1947, when historically, the lands were turned over in 1949, thus, they are totally lying as the lands were still under American control during the year they acquired them,” Canlas said.
“We demand the immediate release of the innocent farmers and we are warning governor Espino of his anti-farmer activities such as land grabbing. The united farmers of Pangasinan is undoubtedly a potent force of removing him from office or ending his political ambition by 2013 elections,” Canlas called. #