Posted by: Jae | March 2, 2009

Sicogon

The narrative of the Sicogon farmers is one that spans more than an entire decade. The beautiful island of Sicogon in the Municipality of Carles in Iloilo was eyed for its tourism potential  as early as the 1980’s and the Sicogon Development Corporation (SIDECO) quickly set its sights on the 809 hectare property. However, an ocular survey conducted by the DAR revealed that 334 has. of the property is agricultural land and should therefore be distributed to the farmers pursuant to the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program. Every step of the way, SIDECO has blocked moves to distribute the land under CARP, including the filing of one case after another against the agrarian reform petitioners.

In June 2008 last year, after Congress passed its first Joint Resolution, a Judge in Barotac Nuevo handling the injunction case filed by Sicogon against the DAR to prevent acquisition decided to archive the case on the curious ground that there is no reason to discuss the matter because CARP had expired.

Not content perhaps with how it has managed to skillfully maneuver the legal system to affirm its interests, SIDECO then rounded up all the villagers towards the end of 2008, when CARP was in limbo and there was no clear indication of whether or not a law would be passed. Ignoring the most basic concepts of law and human rights, it declared a “Huwes de Kutsiyo” and threatened physical harm and even death on those who dared go against the proposed Sicogon Island Resort Complex of SIDECO.  This resulted in an an orgy of violence, including the destruction of a training center, the razing to the ground of a shanty of a farmer-beneficiary, the demolition of the house of farmer-leader Amelia de la Cruz. Right after the declaration of “Huwes de Kutsiyo”, the remains of Thelma Padios, a farmer beneficiary from Sicogon, was discovered with multiple stab wounds and burns on her face and body, and her private parts desecrated

Shaken but with heads unbowed, one hundred peasant families voluntarily evacuated the island to seek refuge and protection from the government and the Catholic Church. Early this month, 312 farmers launched their “Exodus for Land, Life and Dignity” to condemn the oppressions they have suffered in the hands of SIDECO.

This is their story.


Responses

  1. wow how serious.🙂 i know you’re doing a really important thing and i think it’s great that you feel so passionate about this.

    i overheard you say you wanted to watch “you changed my life.” crush ko si sarah geronimo, so… tara.

  2. Thanks. While I certainly believe that the situation in Sicogon is urgent and critical, the issue is really much broader in scope. With agrarian reform now voluntary as a result of Joint Resolution 1, it is not difficult to imagine what will happen in other contentious and undistributed landholdings. I hope you can take part in or at least support initiatives being done right now to assert the rightful claims of our farmers.

    Umagang-umaga, agitated.🙂

  3. Jae

    Nakakalungkot isipin na ang karamihan sa mga taong namamatay ay dahil sa lupa.

    Worst still is the fact that a lot of people are not even aware that these things really happen in 2009.

  4. anong pwede nating gawin, Jae?

  5. psyche – oo nga, wala pa din nagbabago ano? the culture of impunity is there, and the greed that feeds it.

    brother utoy – malaking bagay na po if we get the word out. if the philippines (or even the world) can get wind of their story, maybe such atrocious behavior of the corporation would stop.

  6. Inch by inch lang Jae kahit mahirap. Kahit nakakanumb yung realidad na nakikita natin at kung sinamang palad nararanasan rin.

    I am working sa DAR na dito sa amin. And unbelievable yung mga nangyayari.

    Hopefully there will be a better implementation of the law or a better law or basta something better. Because with the way things are going the landlords will have field day kung wala ng land reform. Pero more than that I dread to imagine kung ano ang mangyayari kung ang lahat halos ng agricultural lands ay i-coconvert for other uses.😦

  7. psyche, DAR Gen San? may nag-aatras na ba ng VOS at VLT diyan?

  8. A week pa lang ako mukhang wala naman Jae.

  9. where were you when sicogon was being raped? bakit ngayon lang ang articulo na ito?

  10. ah so you’re helping out in sicogon as well? let me know how we can coordinate our initiatives. im just an agrarian reform advocate supporting the cause of the sicogon farmers, but the organizers in the area are my friends. they will be happy to know that many feel passionately about the issue. salamat!

  11. sicogon is different. i believe that the disputed land belongs to the state and not to sideco. sabi kasi ni max, mayroon daw na presidential proclamation (marcos time pa yata?) stipulating that the agricultural and forest land of small islands like sicogon belong to the state. this is why i am taking the side of the farmers – yung mga underdogs ba. migz land reform is so far from my ……. mind (hehe).


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