42 farmer-families in Bataan displaced amid lockdown

Men fencing the 33-hectare farmland in Orion, Bataan. (Photo courtesy of Peasant Watch Central Luzon)

Amihan urged the local government units and concerned government agencies to ensure that farmers and their families will be protected against displacement and other forms of exploitation by landlords and private traders in this time of crisis.

By BULATLAT

MANILA – At least 42 farmer-families have been dislocated from the 33-hectare farmland in sitio Bangad, barangay General Lim in Orion, Bataan amid the Luzon-wide lockdown.

According to Zaldy Montemayor, chairperson of the Samahan ng mga Magbubukid sa Sitio Bangad, a group of men working for Federico Pascual fenced the farmland on March 23. Montemayor said Pascual, who is claiming ownership over the land, wants to sell the land to Sta.Lucia Realty for a residential project. The peasant leader said that upon checking with the Land Registration Authority, no documents could support Pascual’s claim.

The disputed land is being tilled by 42 farmer-families, with palay, vegetables and fruit-bearing trees as their crops. The families have been asserting their rights to the land for over two decades. Last February, the farmers have succeeded in preventing the attempts of Pascual’s men to demolish and displace the farmers and their families.

In a statement, the National Federation of Peasant Women (Amihan) denounced Pascual “for taking advantage of the lockdown to exploit the farmers.”

Amihan urged the local government units and concerned government agencies to ensure that farmers and their families will be protected against displacement and other forms of exploitation by landlords and private traders in this time of crisis.

Amihan National Chairperson Zenaida Soriano said, “Farmers as food security frontliners have essential roles in our fight against COVID-19. Amid this crisis, we should stand with the Filipino farmers and peasant women to stop the exploitative measures to alleviate them from hunger and poverty…”

On March 16, President Rodrigo Duterte placed the entire Luzon island under a month-long enchanced community quarantine as a measure to combat coronavirus disease 2019.

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