[Urgent Appeal] The harassment of Shirley Lape, farmer beneficiary under CARP and member of a farmer’s organization in Quezon -TFDP

URGENT APPEAL

October 12, 2015

(PHILIPPINES) The harassment of Shirley Lape, farmer beneficiary under CARP and member of a farmer’s organization in Barangay Tala, San Andres, Quezon

ISSUES: Right not to be deprived of means of subsistence; Land Rights; Access to Justice

Dear friends,

Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) writes to inform you about the harassment of Shirley Lape, farmer beneficiary under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) and member of Samahan ng Magsasaka sa Barangay Tala at Camflora in Sitio Cabulihan, Barangay Tala, San Andres, Quezon.

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CASE DETAILS:

On August 13, 2015, Shirley Lape, an agrarian reform beneficiary, active member and farmer – leader of Samahan ng Magsasaka sa Barangay Tala at Camflora, and resident of Sitio Cabulihan, Barangay Tala, San Andres, Quezon, was preparing breakfast when Edwin Ausa arrived. Ausa claims that he is the owner of the land that Lape grows and harvests copra from.

Ausa shouted at Lape and asked her why she is not giving him a portion of her income. Lape asked him why she needed to give him a portion of her income when the land is considered as timberland. Ausa asserted that he owns the land, but Lape countered him. Ausa then threatened her and said that she might suffer the same fate as Elisa Tulid’s if she refused to pay him. Ausa even added that if Lape did not do what was asked of her, Ausa himself would take away their share of coconuts.

On 1999, Lape filed for possession of land in DENR, until the present, Lape and other farmers are still fighting for their claim.

Sometime on October 2013, a week after the killing of Elisa Tulid, Lape with Nelson Fuentes and a certain Severino was also allegedly harassed and threatened by the same Edwin Ausa.

Ausa’s alleged threat was in relation to the killing of Elisa Tulid on October 19, 2013 that was the result of an ongoing land dispute in the said area. Like Lape, Tulid was an active member of Samahan ng Magsasaka sa Barangay Tala at Camflora, and was one of those who actively spoke in defense of the residents’ and farmers’ claim to the land. She was shot multiple times and killed on the spot in front of her husband and then four year old daughter.

There is a persistent agrarian conflict in Bondoc Peninsula where San Andres, Quezon is located, where almost 80 percent of households depend on subsistence farming mainly banana and coconut mono cropping as well as fishing.

Domingo Reyes, one of the main landholders in Bondoc Peninsula currently owns 12,000-16,000 hectares of land in three municipalities. Farmers have been in a 60-40 contract with the Reyes, with 60% of total harvest going to Reyes, while the 40% goes to the tenants, who also have to cover the production expenses.

In 2004, farmers and tenants finally petitioned the government for coverage under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP). The farmers working on Reyes’ lands started boycotting the 60-40 agreement share after they learned from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) that portion of the lands claimed by Reyes are declared public and certified timberland.

It has been alleged by some testimonies that Edwin Ausa and Rannie Bugnot are supporters of Reyes’ clan and have been trying to instill fear in the communities to prevent them from claiming their land rights.

REQUESTED ACTION:

PLEASE SEND LETTERS TO THE CONCERNED GOVERNMENT AGENCIES TO BRING TO JUSTICE THE PERPETRATORS OF THE HARASSMENT AND ENSURE AND GUARANTEE THE SAFETY AND SECURITY OF SHIRLEY LAPE, MEMBER OF SAMAHAN NG MAGSASAKA SA BARANGAY TALA AT CAMFLORA.

Thank you.

Task Force Detainees of the Philippines

SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear,

Greetings!

This is to express my grave concern regarding the harassment of Shirley Lape, farmer beneficiary under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) and member of Samahan ng Magsasaka sa Barangay Tala at Camflora in Sitio Cabulihan, Barangay Tala, San Andres, Quezon.

I have learned that Lape has received verbal threat to her life and safety last August 13, 2015, perpetrated by Edwin Ausa, who is a known supporter of Reyes’ clan and who has been known in trying to instill fear in the communities to prevent them from claiming their land rights.

I have also learned that this said threat was in relation to the killing of Elisa Tulid, who was an active member of Samahan ng Magsasaka sa Barangay Tala at Camflora, and who was shot point blank in 2013.

I express my grave concern that Lape is being harassed in line with her effort to fight for the land rights of the community and that even two years past Elisa Tulid’s killing, the land dispute and human rights violations are still ongoing.

I am writing to ask for immediate action in favor of Shirley Lape:

1.            For the security and safety of Shirley Lape.

2.            For the immediate and impartial investigation on continued harassment committed by the Edwin Ausa.

3.            For the perpetrator be held accountable for his actions against Shirley Lape.

4.            For the provision of fair and impartial assistance by the police in the area.

Thank you.

Respectfully yours,

_______________________

PLEASE SEND LETTERS TO:

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

Secretary of Agrarian Reform

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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