[Urgent Action] Harassment Against Resident-Farmers and Aeta IP Group in Porac Pampanga -TFDP

Urgent Action
November 20, 2013

(PHILIPPINES) Harassment Against Resident-Farmers and Aeta IP Group in Porac Pampanga

Issues: Harassment, Threat and Intimidation; Forced Eviction; Damaged to Property; Denied of Means of Subsistence

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Dear friends,

The Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) is forwarding to you an appeal regarding the harassment and intimidation against resident-farmers of Hacienda Dolores in Porac, Province of Pampanga who were forcibly evicted by two private firms who claimed ownership of a disputed land.

If you wish to make any inquiries please contact the Research, Documentation and Information Program of TFDP at: 45 St. Mary Street, Cubao, Quezon City, Philippines 1109; or call: +632 4378054.

Case Title: Harassment of Porac Farmers
Case: Harassment/Forced Eviction
Name of Victims: Hector Angeles, etal.
Date of Incident: 2011-2013
Place of Incident: Barangay Hacienda Dolores, Porac, Pampanga
Alleged Perpetrators: employees and security personnel of LLL Holdings Incorporated (LLHI) and FL Properties (FLLH)

Account of the Incident:

Farmers and their families experienced series of harassment from employees and security personnel of LLL Holdings Incorporated (LLHI) and FL Properties (FLLH). Cases of harassment happened inside a 700 hectare contested land by the said companies who claimed as owners.

The squabble started when the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) issued an order exempting the LLL and FL landholdings from the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) coverage in 2005. LLHI claimed about 298 hectares of the land, while FLLH claimed the other 456 hectares.

In September 2013, farmers are prohibited to do farming inside the supposed company property. Their crops were destroyed. Trumped up charge of illegal possession of firearms has been filed against Hector Angeles and 2 Aetas (an Indigenous group). There were also incidents of verbal abuse of the company personnel against farmer residents.

At present, Victor Tolentino, Ruben Salta, Fortunato Salta and several of the farmers are still receiving death threats.

Aside from the latest incident that happened, on June 25, 2013, Antonio Tolentino and Victor Tolentino’s house were demolished by 30 hooded persons when he refused to reconcile and agree with the terms offered by Atty. Carlos, lawyer of LLL Holdings for allegedly staying inside the company’s property. They even stole their livestock (chicken and ducks) and destroyed their crops (papaya, banana, bitter gourd, yam, chilies, eggplants, rambutan, guyabano and avocado)/

The Conflict intensified when the claimant FL Properties (now Terrafirma Holdings, Inc.) and LLL Holdings, Inc., forcibly evicted 8 families from their homes, and started to put up boarders and fences on July 14, 2013.

Houses demolished are those owned by families of Herminio M. Santiago, Boy Angeles, Edgar O. Angeles, Ignacio S. Ignacio, Cesar M. Santiago in Maniknik; and, those of Roger Parungao, Rexsy P. Santiago, and Mario P. Santiago located in Mapita.

On July 28, 2013, , at around 9 AM, a certain Jimmy Alvarado identified with FL and LLL Holdings, encroached Urbano Barcia’s farm land and damaged his fruit bearing plants such as: 30 guyabano trees, 50 guava trees, and crops like yam, mulina trees including fences using a bulldozer and a back hoe.

The farmer residents asserted that they are in actual possession and cultivation of the large tract of land before the contested land was exempted from CARP coverage. The Aniban ng Nakakaisang Mamamayan ng Hacienda Dolores (ANIBAN), representing the farmer claimants formally petitioned the DAR on June 7, 2011, to revoke the Exemption Order dated March 15, 2006 on the grounds that: (a) the subject areas are being actively cultivated, planted with various crops by tillers who were born and raised in Hacienda Dolores whose parents and their grandparents passed on to them their land; and, (b) the landholdings covered are mostly plain, while there are hilly portions (18% slope), the same constitute a minor part of the landholding, and are agriculturally productive.

It was revealed that the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) had already issued a Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title RO3POR-0709 123, covering some 18 hectares, for the Ayta Tribes of Zambales, Tarlac and Pampanga. But some 200 hectares of these areas also claimed by the Aetas are already acquired and titled to FL and LLL Corporations.

The Municipal Council of Porac currently moved to call on both parties to refrain from resorting to violence, while there is yet no final decision on the case. The Provincial Board of Pampanga is planning to make an official statement and discuss the issues raised in an official session.

Suggested Action:

A. Call upon competent authorities to intervene, observe and uphold the rights of resident-farmers and the Aeta (Indigenous group-IP) and recognized their land claims
B. Facilitate a continuous dialogue between the LLL Holdings Incorporated (LLHI) and FL Properties (FLLH) with the resident-farmers and indigenous groups to come up with an acceptable and justifiable resolution of the case;
C. To provide immediate protection for resident-farmers and IP group against possible physical and emotional harm;
D. Guarantee the means for the victims to access their land, rebuild their houses, cultivate crops and raise their livestock without any fear of reprisal
E. Assurance the
E. Guarantee the respect of human rights and the fundamental freedoms enshrined in the 1987 Philippine Constitution and international human rights standards.

Please send your letters to:

1. Hon. Benigno Simeon Aquino III
Republic of the Philippines
Malacanang Palace
JP Laurel Street, San Miguel
Manila 1005
Fax: +63 2 736 1010
Tel: +63 2 735 6201 / 564 1451 to 80
Email: corres@op.gov.ph / opnet@ops.gov.ph

2. Secretary Virgilio R. Delos Reyes
Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR)
Elliptical Road, Diliman, Quezon City
Fax: +63 2 920 0380
Tel: +63 2 929 3460; 928 7031, Local 401
e-mail: secretary@dar.gov.ph / gildlr2010@gmail.com

3. Chairperson Loretta Ann P. Rosales
Commission on Human Rights (CHR)
SAAC Bldg., Commonwealth Avenue
U.P. Complex, Diliman
Quezon City
Tel: +63 2 928 5655, +63 2 926 6188
Fax: +63 2929 0102
Email: rosales.chr@gmail.com

4. Police Director General Alan LA Madrid Purisima
Chief, Philippine National Police
Camp General Rafael Crame
Quezon City, Philippines
Fax: +63 2 724 8763/ +63 2 723 0401
Tel: + 63 2 726 4361/4366/8763
Email: feedback@pnp.gov.ph

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