Deaths, serious injuries caused by illegal demolition blamed on the land grabber
San Juan, Batangas – “No one is to blame on the death of two security guards and serious injuries of three fishermen but the land developer Federico Campos III who wantonly ordered his security to demolish our shanties even without the court order. Campos’ security guards have committed illegal trespassing and destruction of property and we have no other option but to actively defend our houses from the demolition,” said Elsie Lucero, a resident of Sitio Balacbacan, Brgy. Laiya, San Juan, Batangas and a member of the provincial fisherfolk group Haligi ng Batanguenong Anakdagat (HABAGAT).
Last Monday, 8 buses of demolition team and security guards have forced their way into the community of the fisherfolk encamped along the national hi-way of Laiya as ordered by Campos to fence the property he claims. Campos is the owner of the Laiya Development Corp. and Macaria Development Corp. who is claiming that he owns the entire Sitio Balacbacan.
The violent demolition led to the death of two security guards from the JPS Security Agency and three serious injuries of three fisherfolk residents including Hermie Garcia, 60 years old, Peter Tranzares, 50, and Kenneth Cerezo, 23.
In 2014, more than 600 fishing families were violently demolished from the coastal community which is now converted into Campos’ private eco-tourism zone. After the demolition, the displaced families re-organized themselves and decided to stay in the area by building makeshift houses along the national road as most of them have no other place to go, as well as to assert their right to livelihood and their return to the community where they were displaced.
“Malinaw na iligal ang demolisyon na ipinag-utos ni Campos; sukdulang itaya niya ang buhay ng kanyang mga security guard maisakatuparan lamang ang inaasam na tuluyang kamkamin at pagkakitaan ang aming lugar. Walang ibang dapat sisihin at papanagutin sa nangyari kundi ang ganid na si Campos,” Lucero added.
The national fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) meanwhile urged the national authorities to look into the illegal claim of Campos in the coastal land, as well as the illegal demolition last Monday.
PAMALAKAYA also demanded an investigation on the account of fishing residents that the demolition crews and security personnel of Campos were aboard tourist buses with stickers from Department of Education (DepEd).
“Campos’ demolition crews and security guards were disguised as excursionists boarding tourist buses so that they can enter the community without causing alarm to the residents. We call on the national office of education department to probe this matter and if their provincial office has something to do with this,”
“Higit sa lahat, nananawagan kami sa mga mamamayan na makiisa sa laban naming mga mangingisda para aming karapatan sa panirahan at pangisdaan. Nagaganap sa maraming panig ng bansa ang kagayang sitwasyon kung saan libu-libong maralitang mangingisda ang nakaambang palayasin sa kanilang mga komunidad para bigyang daan ang mga proyektong ekoturismo at pribatisasyon na pagkakakitaan ng iilang negosyante,” said Fernando Hicap, National Chairperson of PAMALAKAYA.
PAMALAKAYA will conduct a national fact finding mission on Saturday to further investigate the illegal and violent demolition. ###