Soldiers arrest 4 farmers in Mindoro

Soldiers illegaly arrested four farmers at Sitio Pusog, Barangay Brigada, Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro on May 23. Soldiers blindfolded and interogated Raul Ibañez, Nonoy Obseqha, Boy Militar and Diego Panas. Ibañez and Obseqha were taken to the military camp in Barangay Burgos.

In Laguna, Christopher Esabia was shot dead by members of the Philippine National Police (PNP)-Calabarzon in Barangay Palma 2, Alaminos on May 26. Esabia was a member of the NPA-Rizal in 2004. He has long cut ties with the NPA.

Violent demolition. Joint forces of the PNP and Philippine Marines violently demolished houses in Sitio Racat, Barangay Rapuli, Sta. Ana, Cagayan last April 24. Sixteen residents were arrested, many of whom are women.

Residents have lived in the area for 30 years. Their lands were stolen by Cadilland Inc.,
a real estate developer. A demolition was attempted earlier in April but was frustrated by the residents’ unity.

After only a five-day warning from the DENR, six poor farmers’ houses were illegaly demolished at Sitio Laguis, Sindun Bayabo, Ilagan City on May 29.

Representatives of the DPWH, DENR and the City Engineering Department promised to stop the demolition so a dialogue between the residents and the governor can be conducted. On the next day, 10 houses and the farmers’ cornfields were destroyed.

In Bukidnon, the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) arrested four members of the Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay)-Bukidnon. Randy Montillano, Jessel Montillano, Christine Ara Montillano and Wilfredo Darap were arrested at around 9 a.m. based on a warrant for trumped-up charges of frustrated murder dated April 14, 2018.
PEPMACO layoffs. Twenty workers and the PEPMACO Workers’ Union leader were illegally laid off last June 3. Two of the workers were warned after participating in an assembly against the company. Last June 4, the PEPMACO union submitted a strike notice.

Harassment against workers intensified after organizing their union last January. Thirty-seven workers and four union leaders have been dismissed succesively.

Meanwhile, workers of IQOR Bacolod have long endured inhumane 10-hour workdays. Last May 29, they filed a complaint at the DOLE-Region VI Bacolod with the assistance of the BPO Industry Employees’ Network (BIEN) Bacolod.

Last June 2, unidentified armed men shot dead Dennis Sequena while he was in a meeting with fellow workers in Barangay Bunga, Tanza, Cavite. Sequeña was Partido Manggagawa’s provincial vice president.

In Butuan City, suspected AFP elements shot-dead Esther Betonio last June 2, 6:20 p.m., at Sitio Landing, Barangay Tungao. Betonio, who was riding a motorcycle driven by her husband, was on her way home from fetching water when the suspects approached and shot her. Her husband survived.

Betonio was a member of the Unyon sa Mag-uuma sa Agusan del Norte (UMAN) and has long been accused by the military of being an NPA member and was coerced to surrender. She was an efficient leader in their area.

An investigation by the NPA-Agusan del Norte indicate that the suspects retreated directly to the military camp in Lower Olave after commiting the crime.
On the next day, Eddie Versoza, another UMAN member, was shot-dead at around 6 p.m. in the same barrio.