Cagayan farmers decry land grabbing, abuse of legal system
Farmers from Isabela and Cagayan under the Danggayan Dagiti Mannalon ti Cagayan Valley, a regional formation of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) have complained to the Department of Justice (DOJ) about land grabbing activities and human rights violations in the region.
Mostly from Baggao, Amulong, Alcala, Ballesteros, Pamplona towns in Cagayan and Cordon, Roxas, San Mateo and San Mariano towns in Isabela, the farmers also aired their grievances before the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
Cagayan farmers had protested the alleged land titling, encroachment, and land-grabbing of some owners of hot spring and cave resort in Barangay Asinga Via, Baggao, Cagayan.
The resort owner had filed what the farmers claimed were trumped-up charges of kidnap for ransom and frustrated murder against six farmers, including the barangay captain of Asinga Via.
“Farmers who are opposing the tourism project and defended their rights to the land were harassed and slapped with trumped-up charges including kidnap for ransom and frustrated murder by the land-grabbers,” said KMP Secretary General Antonio Flores.
“Land-grabbers in Cagayan continue to use and abuse the legal system to harass farmers and grab their lands. We demand the Aquino government to stop the human rights violations and criminalization of agrarian disputes happening in the entire Cagayan Valley region,” he said.
Meanwhile, farmers and settlers of Mallig Plains Reservation, a resettlement site in Barangay Matusalem, Roxas, Isabela are being displaced from their home lots and farmlands by the Isabela State University (ISU).