Batangas fishers staged collective cultivation in response to demolition and recent harassment
San Juan, Batangas – Three years after being demolished from their community, hundreds of fisherfolk under the Haligi ng Batanguenong Anakdagat (HABAGAT) staged collective cultivation in Brgy. Laiya Aplaya, San Juan, Batangas as a form of unity and assertion to their right to land, shelter and livelihood. HABAGAT is the provincial chapter of the national alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) in Batangas.
In July 2014, about 600 fishing and peasant families were demolished to pave way for pseudo-development project known as the Laiya Tourism Development Plan or beach resort project. The fisherfolk in response set up barricades along the road to show that they will not leave their community.
“After three years of being ejected from our community, we are being subjected to various human rights violations and harassment including heavy militarization and intimidation in order for us to completely abandon the area,” Lino Baes, Spokesperson of HABAGAT said in a statement.
In the aftermath of demolition, elements of the 730th Combat Group Philippine Air Force (CGPAF) were deployed in the community since May 2015. Aside from the existing detachment of the Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) of the 59th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army, there is another threat of military encampment by the 730th CGPAF to provide protection to private businesses, landlords, developers, and corporations who convert the fishing community to eco-tourism zones. In addition to this, the Macaria Development Corporation and Laiya Development Corporation, primarily owned by Federico Campos III and Victorino delos Angeles, hired private security forces and private goons to sow violence and fear against the people and to try destroy the people’s barricade against the illegal development in the community.
Since February 2017, series of violent dispersals ensued in Laiya Aplaya until last July 3, the goons and security forces hired by the Laiya Development Corp. staged indiscriminate firing resulting to wounded casualties among the encamped fisherfolk.
However, despite the violent dispersal and presence of militaries, the farmers and fisherfolk continue their protest camp and barricade to show their collective resistance against the development aggression project in their community.
U.S. Pentagon runs AFP – fisherfolk group
Manila, Philippines – With the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) continuation of its hostilities in the countryside despite the ongoing peace negotiations with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the communist-led National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), it is crystal clear that President Rodrigo Duterte is out of hand with his armed troops, said the militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Wednesday.
The fisherfolk group slams the AFP for its ongoing presence in Brgy. Patungan, a 602-hectare coastal community in Maragondon, Cavite where 353 fisherfolk families have been facing a threat of demolition since last year to pave way for private beach resort of the Maria Teresa Virata (MTV) Corp.
On Friday, the regional chapter of PAMALAKAYA in Southern Tagalog reported the presence of around 80 combination of Philippine National Police (PNP) and Philippine Air Force (PAF) in the community. The residents feared the presence of the armed troops might lead to another violent demolition attempt like what happened last year.
Get rid of peace-saboteurs in the AFP – fisherfolk to President Duterte
Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) slams the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on its continues military operations in peasant communities in the countryside, saying it poses threat to livelihood and security of the farmers and other rural people.
Amid peace negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the communist-led National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), the GRP’s armed forces have been vehemently attacking active members of mass organizations in the countryside including peasant leaders.
“It seems that AFP has its own regime. The continuous military operation in the countryside amidst GRP’s unilateral ceasefire is a clear indication that the Duterte administration loses its control over its armed forces. The AFP may be obeying orders from different commander-in-chief,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.
Farmers, fishers want AFP out of their communities
Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) joined the protest led by the peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) at the general headquarters of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in Camp Aguinaldo on Wednesday to demand the immediate and unconditional pullout of their troops in peasant communities in the countryside, saying their presence pose threat to the security and livelihood of the farmers and other rural people.
PAMALAKAYA said continuing presence of military in the countryside is a blatant violation of their self-declared unilateral ceasefire against the communist-led New People’s Army (NPA) because they are supposed to be in the military barracks and not operating in the alleged guerilla zone-peasant communities. The fisherfolk group blasted the AFP for the rampant human rights abuses against farmers they tag as communist member or even supporter.
“The military’s failure and frustration to capture their enemies is always diverted into the farmers and innocent civilians through harassment, filing of trumped up charges and worst, perpetrating extrajudicial killings with impunity. The continuing and growing militarization will always be a threat to the peaceful and tranquil lives of the rural people as the AFP’s current orientation is not to protect but to suppress the democratic rights and interests of the Filipino people,” Salvador France, Pamalakaya Secretary General said during the protest.
The fisherfolk group said the AFP has now nothing to do with the countryside as their counterinsurgency plan Oplan Bayanihan has already ended since last year.
Farmers from Southern Tagalog and Central Luzon regions will converge on January 20 to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the bloody Mendiola Massacre that killed 13 farmers and wounding many others who were asking for free distribution of land. ###