Farmers in land row seek justice, gov’t. aid-A A +A
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
A HUNDRED and ten farming households are seeking justice and aid from the government after the Regional Trial Court Branch 59 allowed the Gantuangco family to fence 73 parcels of land in Aloguinsan, Cebu.
The injunction, dated June 13, 2012 and signed by Judge Hermes Montero, prohibits the farmers “or any supporters and sympathizers” from stopping the Gantuangco family from fencing the disputed land where the farmers are tilling.
The order, though, is intended to prevent any untoward violent incidents while the case is ongoing and the land has not been awarded to anyone yet.
The farmers and militant supporters clashed with the police in August last year.
The order does not bar the farmers from entering the disputed lands, as it provided “adequate entry and exit passages for the defendants.”
On the other hand, it is meant to secure the land “against unwarranted and uninvited occupancy from strangers” and to “secure the defendants from peaceful occupancy over the parcels of land during the pendency of the case.”
Judge Montero also ordered the Gantuangco family to put up a bond worth P500,000 to answer for any damages that the farmers may sustain by reason of the order’s issuance.
Despite the injunction order, Andrea Gino, chairperson of Panahugpong sa mga Mag-uuma sa Aloguinsan, said they will fight for the land where their ancestors tilled since 1910.
“Where would we farmers go?” Gino said, adding the land is their only source of livelihood.
The farmers and their supporters also assailed the claim of the Gantuangcos over the property “by virtue of the right of succession,” even as the 73 parcels of land are covered only by tax declarations.
Roberto Engarcial, San Roque Farmer’s Association spokesperson, said it is unjust for the Gantuangco family to claim ownership of the land through the tax declarations alone that were issued in 2010.
Adriana Varga, from Kilusang Magbubukid sa Pilipinas-Cebu, said it is unfair for one family to take over a land occupied by a hundred farmers.
She is pleading to the government to intervene in the poor farmers’ case. Raycyril Estillore/USJ-R Mass Com Intern
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 11, 2012.