[Urgent Appeal] Continuing harassment of members of Bugho Farmers Association (BFA), farmer beneficiaries in Barangay Matica, Ormoc, Leyte

URGENT APPEAL
June 18, 2015

(PHILIPPINES) Continuing harassment of members of Bugho Farmers Association (BFA), farmer beneficiaries in Barangay Matica, Ormoc, Leyte

ISSUES: Right not to be deprived of means of subsistence; Access to Justice; Right to Peace and Order

URGENT APPEAL   URGENT APPEAL   URGENT APPEAL

Dear friends,

TFDP logo smallTask Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) writes to inform you about the continuing harassment suffered by members of the Bugho Farmers Association (BFA) by Danilo Doroy, Fran Farm Workers chairperson and Barangay Matica tanod in Barangay Matica, Ormoc City, Leyte.

CASE DETAILS:

On May 19, 2015, around 10:00 a.m., members of the Bugho Farmers Association (BFA) were harassed by Barangay Matica tanod and Fran Farm Workers chairperson Danilo Doroy at Sitio Boongon, Barangay Matica, Ormoc City, Leyte.

On the day of the incident, BFA members were plowing the field when 50 unidentified bolo and machete-wielding Fran Farm Workers led by Doroy arrived and surrounded them.

According to Rosenda Apay, BFA chairperson, the members stopped plowing and returned to their houses within the farm premises. The tarpaulins where their rights to the ownership of the land were printed were destroyed by Doroy.

On May 27, 2015, around 10:00 a.m., 20 unidentified men with bolos and machetes took over the land where the BFA members planted and plowed.

Apay narrated that several unidentified men with bolos and machetes have been coming in and out of the area since their self installation. They seemed to survey the farm and were taking videos and photos of the beneficiaries while they engage in farming activities.

On June 5, 2015, the farmer beneficiaries asked the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to put up a military or police detachment to keep the place peaceful.

CASE BACKGROUND:

BFA was organized by Kahugpungan sa Mag-uumang Ormocanon (KaMaO) on August 1999.

The late Teofilo Fran was the landowner of the abandoned land awarded by DAR on March 24, 1998 to BFA with 21 farmer beneficiaries/members.

On December 24, 1999, the installation of the BFA by DAR was attended by Elmer Nuñez, head of the Municipal Agrarian Reform Office and Teborcio Morales, head of the Provincial Agrarian Reform Office.

On April 8, 2002, while BFA members were harvesting their grown rice, two six-by-six vehicles loaded with 40 unidentified men with long fire arms from the 19th Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army based in Barangay Agiting, Municipality of Kanagga arrived.

According to Apay, the military men aimed their guns at them. Because of fear, they left their harvest and their farm. Accordingly, Doroy informed the 19th IB, PA that the farmers are members of the New People’s Army (NPA).

Apay narrated that when the farmers left the farm they have been tilling for 13 years, Doroy took over and harvested their grown rice.

On April 30, 2015, BFA took a stand and decided to take back the 25-hectare land which was awarded to them.

REQUESTED ACTION:

PLEASE SEND LETTERS TO THE CONCERNED GOVERNMENT AGENCIES TO  BRING TO JUSTICE THE PERPETRATORS OF CONTINUING HARASSMENT AND ENSURE AND GUARANTEE THE SAFETY AND SECURITY OF ALL MEMBERS OF BUGHO FARMERS ASSOCIATION (BFA) AT SITIO BOONGON, BARANGAY MATICA, ORMOC CITY, LEYTE.

Thank you.

Ramiel C. Aballe
Task Force Detainees of the Philippines

SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear,

Greetings!

This is to express my grave concern regarding the continuing harassment of the members of Bugho Farmers Association (BFA) in Sitio Boongon, Barangay Matica, Ormoc City, Leyte.

I have learned that on May 19, 2015 around 10:00 a.m., members were plowing the field when 50 unidentified bolo and machete-wielding Fran Farm Workers led by Doroy arrived and surrounded them. That on May 27, 2015, 20 unidentified men with bolos and machetes took over the land where the BFA members planted and plowed.

I have known that their tarpaulins where their rights to the ownership of the land were printed were destroyed by Doroy.

I have also known that several unidentified men with bolos and machetes have been coming in and out of the area since their self installation. They seemed to survey the farm and were taking videos and photos of the beneficiaries while they engage in farming activities.

I am writing to ask for immediate action in favor of the victims and his BFA members:

1.      For the security and safety of BFA members and families.

2.      For the immediate and impartial investigation on continued harassment committed by Fran Farm Workers led by Barangay Tanod Doroy.

3.      For the perpetrators be held accountable for illegally taking over the property.

4.      For having a military/police detachment to keep the peace and order of the area.

Thank you.

Respectfully yours,

_______________________
PLEASE SEND LETTERS:

1.      His Excellency Benigno Simeon Aquino III
President, Republic of the Philippines
Malacanang Palace
JP Laurel Street, San Miguel, Manila
1005 Philippines
Tel: +6327356201/5641451 to 80
Email: corres@op.gov.ph/opnet@ops.gov.ph

2.      Hon. Leila M. De Lima
Secretary, Department of Justice (DOJ)
Padre Faura Street
Ermita, Manila
1000 Philippines
Fax: +63 2 523 9548
Tel: +63 2 521 1908
Email: lmdelima@doj.gov.ph / doj.delima@gmail.com

3.      Commission on Human Rights (CHR)
SAAC Bldg., Commonwealth Avenue
U.P. Complex, Diliman
Quezon City
Philippines
Tel: +63 2 928 5655, +63 2 926 6188
Fax: +63 2 929 0102

4.      Atty. Virgilio R. Delos Reyes
Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR)
Elliptical Road, Diliman, Quezon City
Philippines
Tel: +02 929-34-60; +02 928-70-31
Fax: + 02 920-03-80
Email: secgildar@gmail.com

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