By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
MANILA — Nine farmers were killed and three wounded in a massacre in Hacienda Nene in Purok Pine Tree Barangay Bulanon in Sagay City, where farmers are staging “bungkalan” or land cultivation of idle farm lands.
The victims were resting in their hut yesterday evening, October 20, when unidentified assailants strafed them, killing nine. Of those killed, reports said that two are minors and four women, said Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas.
Farmers and agricultural workers in the Negros island have been putting their plight to the forefront for the longest time as they call for genuine agrarian reform. In a statement, the National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW) said bungkalan is their “response to resonate our campaign for genuine agrarian reform and free land distribution.”
Through the farmers’ bungkalan, the group added that, “farmers militantly occupy idle lands and collectively cultivate these lands in order to make it productive. Bungkalan reflects the failure of the government’s land reform program and the landlords’ refusal to distribute land to the tillers.”
“We will not be cowered by such brazen attempt of this regime to silence us. We vow to continue with much vigor and an even bolder resolve to fight for genuine land reform with free distribution of lands to farmers, the dismantling of haciendas, and end foreign ownership of lands,” the group said.