AGHAM – Advocates of Science and Technology for the People vehemently condemns the Philippine National Police (PNP) for violently and illegally arresting 87 agrarian reform beneficiaries and peasant advocates who were peacefully participating in a “bungkalan” in Hacienda Tinang, Concepcion, Tarlac.
The “bungkalan” is an activity wherein farmers and land reform advocates collectively till the land as a way of asserting their rights to own the land they till. The farmers of Hacienda Tinang organized the said “bungkalan” as a form of protest to the Department of Agrarian Reform’s (DAR) continuing failure to grant the 2 hectares out of the 20 hectares of land that were supposedly granted to them under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP). Those who were arrested are part of the 236 beneficiaries who await land distribution of Hacienda Tinang that have been delayed for the past 27 years.
AGHAM demands the immediate release and dropping of all charges against the 87 persons illegally arrested by the PNP. We call on DAR and the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to conduct an immediate and impartial investigation on such human rights violations against agrarian reform beneficiaries and peasant advocates. We also challenge DAR to immediately resolve the chronic problem of landlessness among peasants in the country by fast-tracking the granting of lands. As we face another economic crisis brought by increasing fuel and food insecurity, we demand the government to provide more support to our farmers who provide food to our tables. ###