SAGAY City – Sugar workers group denounces the disturbing allegation of the police and Department of Agrarian Reform Secretary John Castriciones against the nine Sagay farmers killed in a bloody massacre last October 20.

Yesterday October 23, 2018, the Philippine National Police Chief Oscar Albayalde tagged the National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW), organization of the slain farmers, as legal front of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army.

NFSW Vice-President John Lozande said that the PNP spews a “big lie” intended to justify the killings to the sugar workers.

“It is a mind conditioning tactic to discredit the NFSW and its members which attempts to justify the abhorrent killing,” he said.

Lozande claimed that it echoed Brigadier General Elizer Lozañes of the 303rd military Infantry Battalion who said last April that “bungkalan” is being used by the CPP-NPA to generate funds.

Tarpaulins red-tagging farmers and workers organizations were displayed in towns of Negros Occidental.

The PNP has made a task force to investigate on the Sagay massacre that killed nine farmers.

In response, Lozande said, “the police has no moral ascendancy in the conduct of such investigation.”

While the bungkalan is a means to resolve the hunger of the sugar workers during the tiempo muerto, Lozande said the military and police is attempting to mask the atrocities of big hacienderos and acquiting the Revolutionary Proletarian Army, the Special Civilian Armed Auxiliary, the alleged perpetrators to farmer killings.

The RPA and SCAA is said to be under the control of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Not beneficiaries?

Earlier, DAR Secretary Castriciones claimed that the farmers involved in bungkalan were not agrarian reform beneficiaries.

Lozande denied the ill-informed accusation as unfitting for someone working for agrarian reform.

The Negrense farmers fight for land distribution already spanned three decades. While they have twiced applied, one in 2001 and 2013, to be beneficiaries under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program, Lozande said that DAR did not address the petitions until the program ended last 2014.

The DAR secretary proved inutile in addressing the plight of the sugar workers. His remark is highly irresponsible and showed no genuine concern to them, he said.

“The huge balance of more than a hundred thousand hectares of undistributed land in Negros is a manifestation that CARP was a failure in its three decade existence,” Lozande added./


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