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News

7 May 2014

Statement

Justice for Ka Melon Barcia!

Protect all farmers and human rights defenders in Hacienda Dolores!

End human rights violations and violence in Hacienda Dolores!

As the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms (CARPer) come to a close this June 2014, color of agrarian lands turn red. The killing of farmer-leader and human rights defender Menelao Barcia on May 2  have starkly brought to fore the gravity of the situation in Hacienda Dolores, Porac, Pampanga.

How much worse does it have to get, before those who can bring the agrarian struggle in Hacienda Dolores to an end, especially President Noynoy Aquino, decide to do so?

Ka Melon and his wife, Maria were ambushed at around 9 o’clock in the evening last May 2, 2014 in Purok 3, Barangay Manibaug Paralaya in Porac, Pampanga. He was rushed to the hospital but declared dead on arrival while his wife survived the attack with gunshots in her extremities that need surgery. Ka Melon, a barangay kagawad of Barangay Hacienda Dolores, was also one of the leaders of the Aniban ng Nagkakaisang Mamamayan sa Hacienda Dolores (ANIBAN), a group that claims ownership of Hacienda Dolores by virtue of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program.

The killing of Ka Melon raises questions: Is it just the latest in the long list of attacks and violence committed in Hacienda Dolores? Is is the handiwork of the same armed security personnel of private landowners targeting farmer-leaders and human rights defenders asserting their right to land? Many such attacks have gone largely unnoticed or unreported at the national level, but have served to accentuate the spiral of violence within the Hacienda Dolores itself.

 

It is a conflict not only between the farmers asserting agrarian reform but started even earlier with Aetas driven out of the hacienda, a part of their over 18,000 hectares ancestral domain. Today, out of the more than 2,000 hectares of Hacienda Dolores, LLL Company is claiming and Ayala Land will develop 1,125 hectares to be converted into Alviera. According to the Alviera website http://www.alviera.ph/ Ayala Land together with Leonio Land, are set to convert Hacienda Dolores into “an integrated mixed-use development envisioned to be the growth center of Central Luzon which will have commercial district, business and industrial park, university zones, retail centers, a country club, recreational areas and residential neighborhoods.”

The farmers and their families in Hacienda Dolores continue to experience series of harassment from employees and security personnel of LLL Holdings Incorporated (LLHI) and FL properties and Management Corporation (now Terrafirma Holdings Inc.) who claimed ownership of the disputed land.

We call on the Department of Justice (DOJ) to conduct and ensure full, impartial and effective investigation of the killing of Ka Melon and continuing threats and harassment to farmers and human rights defenders in Hacienda Dolores, and bring those responsible to justice.

We urge the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to immediate act on the resolution of the land conflict in Hacienda Dolores particularly the ancestral domain and the CARP issues.

With respect to the protection of human rights defenders in Hacienda Dolores, we strongly urge the authorities to ensure that all human rights defenders are protected from any intimidation or violence as a result of their activities.

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Medical Action Group (MAG), Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP), Philippine Coalition for the International Criminal Court (PCICC), KATARUNGAN- Central Luzon, Catholic Bishop's Conference of the Philippines-National Secretariat for Social Action (CBCP-NASSA) and Archdiocese of San Fernando