Groups enraged over farmer’s slay

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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

PORAC -- Several people’s organizations condemned and were enraged over the recent killing of a farmer in Hacienda Dolores in this agricultural town.

Joseph Canlas, Chair of the Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luson (AMGL), said their group, together with the Aguman Dareng Maglalautang Capampangan (AMC), Anakpawis Party-list – Central Luzon chapter and Aniban ng Nagkakaisang Mamamayan sa Hacienda Dolores (ANMHD), “condemned to the highest possible terms the brutal killing of Arman Padino.”

Padino, along with father-and-son Noel and Reynold Tumali, were shot Sunday morning while on their way to their farms by alleged security guards of a big property developer in the area. READ: 1 killed, 3 hurt in Porac


The 33-year-old Padino and elder Tumali were critically wounded and brought to Jose B. Lingad Regional Memorial Hospital in the City of San Fernando, Pampanga.

Padino however succumbed to a gunshot wound on the head at around 2 pm on Monday.

Militant groups like the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan – Central Luzon (Bayan – CL), Workers Alliance in Region 3 (War 3), Anakbayan – Central Luzon also conveyed their utmost condemnation of the attack against the farmers.

“This is an outright barbarism of LHI, FL PMC and Ayala against the vulnerable farmers of Hacienda Dolores. This has no place in a supposedly civilized and democratic society such as ours. Join us in our condemnation and demand for justice for Padino and the Tumalis,” said Canlas, who is also the regional coordinator of Anakpawis Party-list.

When barangay officials led by Antonio Tolentino, also chairman of ANMHD, responded to the incident, they were also fired upon by the guards.

When they filed charges against the security guards, Tolentino and his group were surprised upon learning that they were being charged with malicious mischief and carnapping by the developer. Canlas lamented that he is being accused and blamed on the attack of 30 heavily armed men on the firm’s guard outpost.

“These offensives are comprehensive and well-coordinated. While their victims are yet to be cared for at the hospital, they had the time and resources to file charges against the real victims, and even release a biased report to the media. We hope that our friends from the media to stand for the truth and justice, and refuse to submit to the influences of these private firms,” Canlas said.

More than 300 farmers from Hacienda Dolores marched towards Porac municipal hall and demanded intervention from the local government and justice for the victims.

Farmers placed Padino’s casket in front of the said building to expose the brutality against them and the incapacity of the government to protect its constituents.

Padino has two sons aged 10 and 8.

“Officials of the local government of Porac are witnesses to the abuses of these firms. But they act deaf and blind to the grievances of their constituents. Elements of the local police are usual partners of the private firms’ armed guards that continue to harass Hacienda Dolores farmers,” Canlas added.

The groups said that Hacienda Dolores farmers are usual victims of abuses perpetrated by big land developers, Canlas said. This was gleaned in a finding of a fact-finding mission held October 30 to 31 of last year.

As the private firms fenced more than 758-hectare of lands, the farmers lost their livelihood, according to Canlas.

Last December, Jessel Orgas survived a grenade throwing and Modesto Posadas from gunshot wounds from motorcycle-riding men.

Last January 8, Ener Angeles Tolentino was arrested by two police officers while on way to work on his farm.

“Hacienda Dolores farmers are being subject to terror and still the local government of Porac, the police, the whole machinery of the Aquino government are unresponsive and of no use to the victims. If the government continues to ignore their plight and favor the interest of these land grabbers, let us prepare ourselves for more bloodshed as the farmers are grim and determined to fight for their rights to land while the armed groups of the private firms are trigger-happy and brutal,” Canlas said.

“We assert our call that Hacienda Dolores should be distributed immediately to the farmers as their ancestors have developed them since the Spanish colonial times. We demand justice for Arman Padino, Noel and Reynold Tumali, as well as other victims of abuses. We vow on Padino’s body to resolutely continue the struggle for genuine land reform in Hacienda Dolores,” Canlas added.

Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on January 15, 2014.

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