Two farmers killed for opposing a grand real estate development project in Nasugbu, Batangas were buried March 9 while the killers are still unaccounted for.
The Ugnayan ng mga Mamamayan Laban sa Pangwawasak ng Kalupaan sa Hacienda Looc (Umalpaska), of which the two were active members, asked the National Bureau of Investigation to take over an investigation being done by the local police, which villagers say is not doing an impartial and speedy job of determining the culprits.
Terry Sevilla, 33 and Roger Alla, 31 left behind a community determined to continue fighting the efforts of the Fil-Estate group to build the Harbortown golf course and marinas in 8,650 hectares of farmlands in Hacienda Looc, about 80 kilometers southwest of Manila.
Alla's mother Letty Diaz said her son, unmarried, was a very quiet farmer-fisherman and did not have enemies and in fact befriended everyone -- even the pro-development town folk. She worries that now no-one will provide livelihood for her in her old age.
She believes it is Alla's participation in rallies protesting against the project that made the killers decide to make an example out of him to others who persist in resistance. "I believe is it a warning to our more militant members that they can do this bad thing to our good children."
Sevilla's sisters, on the other hand, are angered that pro-development partisans in the hacienda are gleefully spreading gosisp bordering on thinly veiled threats, that many more will follow the two's footsteps, instead of offering condolences or just remaining silent to respect the dead.
The murders were done a day after the Umalpaska staged protests before the Manila office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources for its lifting of the cease and desist order on Fil-Estate and the MSDC, a move which now allows the realty firms to start bulldozing a private road in Barangay Looc.
"Mga hayop ang gumawa nito, hindi sila tao!" (Monsters, not humans, did this!) Diaz cried over Alla's coffin under the blazing noon sun.
Umalpaska chair Guillermo Bautista yelled uncontrollably "Lupa, katarungan, kalayaan!" (Land, justice, freedom!) as Sevilla's coffin was being plastered into place.
Bautista reiterated a demand he made to Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) secretary Horacio Morales to reverse the land-use conversion approval and press the military troops to leave the area.
The funeral for a time assumed a flavor of military honors for fallen soldiers as sunburnt youths held aloft banners of Anakbayan, Umalpas ka, Bayan and other cause-oriented groups as the coffins were taken out of a village chapel. Alla's youngest sister Dolores clutched blooms of the bougainvilla, a poor man's flower, and a crucifix as the procession dragged through the dusty and forlorn cane fields in the hacienda up, to the hillside cemetery in Barangay Looc.
The two bore many wounds on their knees and face, implying that they were tortured and dragged about before they were finished off. Sevilla's brains, genitals, bowels and eyes were blown away. Both bore a couple of dozens of bullet wounds from five different kinds of firearms, namely shotgun, .45 calibre pistol, 9 mm calibre pistol, M14 and M16.
Atty. Romeo Capulong of the Public Interest Law Center (PILC) and other lawyers who joined the tearful funeral march said the local police can be charged with dereliction of duty as the massacre occured about fifty meters away from a detachment in Barangay Looc, and no immediate assistance was given.
A fact finding mission led by the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) is conducting a citizens' inquiry yesterday March 10, the complete results of which will be revealed Monday (March 13).
In , 1997, seven security guards of the Sentinel Security Agency killed in cold blood peasants Francisco Marasigan and Maximo Carpinter at Sitio Hamilo, Barangay Papaya in this town. The killers are at large since the government did not pursue the case.
Umalpaska leaders suspect some assailants belong to the same agency which was retained by Fil-Estate despite its soiled reputation.
Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas KMP
Peasant Movement of the Philippines
11 March 2000
Anti-golf farmers killed in ambush
Unidentified men believed to be private security guards killedtwo opponents of a grand real estate development project inNasugbu, Batangas (about 80 kilometers south of Manila) the night of March 4, as initial earthworks done by the Fil-Estate RealtyCorp. goes into full swing.
The Ugnayan ng mga Mamamayan Laban sa Pangwawasak ngKalupaan sa Hacienda Looc (Umalpaska), a citizens' alliancefighting the efforts of the Fil-Estate group to build theHarbortown golf course and marinas in 8,650 hectares of farmlandsin Hacienda Looc, announced 1,000 members will march on thetown hall to protest the escalating violence and condemn the localgovernments for conniving with the developers.
Killed were Terry Sevilla and Roger Alla, both farmers in their early30s. A third man, who refused to be identified for fear of this life,escaped the carnage and reported to the farmers his ordeal.
The protesters also demanded the release of the corpses takenaway by the town's police forces without first seeking the consentof the victims' families.
According to the lone witness, he was walking home to BarangayCalayo with the two victims from farm work in Barangay Looc ataround 9 p.m. when a group of armed men came out of nowhereand ambushed them without warning.
The murders were done a day after the Umalpas ka stagedprotests before the Manila office of the Department of Environmentand Natural Resources for its lifting of the cease and desist orderon Fil-Estate and the MSDC, a move which now allows the realtyfirms to start bulldozing a private road in Barangay Looc.
The farmers are on heightened alert against a fresh wave ofviolence that claimed the lives of their comrades since they startedorganizing against eviction.
On Feb. 13, 1997, seven drunken security guards of the SentinelSecurity Agency killed in cold blood peasants FranciscoMarasigan and Maximo Carpinter at Sitio Hamilo, BarangayPapaya in this town. The killings caused an international uproarand caused the stock market prices of Harbortown offerings plungeto near zero.
Umalpaska chair Guillermo Bautista said that guards of Fil-EstateRealty and MSDC are also burning down farmer's huts in BarangayPatungan, as part of the rising cases of incidents that promptedthem to seek help from the government agencies in Manila.
The case grabbed headlines in 1996 when the Department ofAgrarian Reform (DAR) was implicated in a massive cancellation ofits own land awards to 10,000 CARP beneficiaries and subsequentreclassification of the rice farms into non-agricultural use.
Action Alert for Land Struggle in Bukidnon
800 peasant families arethreatened with violenteviction from farmlandsinside a state ownedschool of the CentralMindanao University.Please visit the KMP website to read the ActionAlert on how you cansupport their struggle.
Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, Peasant Movement of the Philippines, is an active supporter of the farmers in Hacienda Looc. Their site also features updates on the struggle there. For more information on how to get involved in the Filipino peasant movement, also visit our interAct page.
Benefit Debut on the 101st Anniversary of the Philippine American War
Featuring Q & A with Filmmaker
and a special performance of Filipino resistance by
Pearl Ubungen Dancers & Musicians
All shows at 7:30. Tickets are $5 and are available in advance
Fine Arts Cinema - Berkeley
2451 Shattuck Ave. at Haste
(5 blocks south of the downtown Berkeley BART)
Thursday 7:30 pm, February 3, 2000
Victoria Theater - San Francisco
2961 16th Street at South Van Ness Ave.
(near the Mission St. BART)
Thursday 7:30 pm, February 10, 2000
Year 2000 (yawn) has a much more thrilling payoff --"The Golf War," which comes on the eve of the 101st anniversary of the start of the Philippine American War. Americans still can't keep their itchy fingers out of this rich and fertile land.
The documentary untangles a tale of U.S. involvement in a local battle for land. The U.S. Agency for Development recommended that a farming and fishing community be converted for tourism. Now, Filipino villagers face violent and illegal eviction for a golf resort. One of the planned golf courses is being designed by Jack Nicholas. Even Tiger Woods makes an appearance to promote golf in the Philippines.
As the conflict escalates, the peasants and a guerrilla army ally against the landgrabbers. The documentary contrasts the carefree golf lifestyle with the peasants' struggle to save their ancestral land.
PEARL UBUNGEN DANCERS & MUSICIANS
The internationally acclaimed Pearl Ubungen Dancers & Musicians will premiere excerpts from their work-in-progress Makibaka! Performances will feature dancer Wailana Simcock and choreographer Pearl Ubungen.
Makibaka! means struggle in Tagalog, the national language of the Philippines. It has a political connotation to activism, and is also the name of the first Filipina women's organization, formed in the late 60's. The Makibaka! CD-Rom and Performance Project will explore cultural memory of and resistance to the U.S. invasion and subsequent occupation of the Philippines. While the Philippines' 'independence" from Spain (1898) is celebrated, little note has been taken of the occupation. This action solidified the U.S. role as a global power and led a century-long diaspora of Filipinos to the United States.
We have had an overwhelming response, so purchase your tickets now. To reserve your tickets, please write a check or money order for the total amount ($5 x the number of tickets) and mail or drop off to.
71 Sharon St.
San Francisco, CA 94114
***Please indicate which night you are wanting tickets for. We must receive the funds by February 1 for the Berkeley - Fine Arts Cinema Feb. 3 screening and by February 8 for the San Francisco - Victoria Theater Feb. 10 screening.
Your tickets will be available at "Will Call" at the box office. You must pick up your tickets by 7:15 pm the night of the show.
See you (and Tiger Woods) there.
Seattle Premiere as Activists Converge to Resist the World Trade Organization Summit
Opening International Solidarity Night -- Q & A with Filmmaker
Mon, Nov 29 6:30 pm -- The Filipino Community Center
5740 Martin Luther King Way S. @ Orcas, Seattle WA
Donations accepted at the door
While world leaders sip on cocktails and hors d'ouevres on November 29, The Golf War documentary will make its Seattle premiere during the WTO Ministerial Summit. The documentary takes a hard look at how one village in the Phillippines is coping in the era of so-called free trade agreements.
"What we need is to be able to farm, plant and produce food, not golf balls," says Visitacean Darean in the film. She's a local leader who has joined with other women to block bulldozers from excavating their ancestral land for a golf resort.
The Golf War features armed guerrillas who threaten the developer and Tiger Woods who is in the Philippines promoting golf. The documentary contrasts the carefree golf lifestyle with the peasants' struggle to save their land.
Peasants in this small farming and fishing village on the China Sea are on the front lines in the battle against international trade agreements such as the WTO. They had won ownership of their ancestral land through a government program. But then the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) stepped in. The USAID paid for a study that recommended that part of this agricultural land be converted into tourist resorts. So the Philippine government illegally sold off the peasants' land to a real-estate developer. The plan includes a yacht marina, upscale hotels and four golf courses, one designed by Jack Nicklaus and another by Greg Norman.
"We have globalization, we have privatization, we have land conversion," says Romy Capulong, the peasants' attorney speaking in the film, "All of these are just complete manifestations of U.S.-dictated policies, mainly through the IMF and the World Bank, now through the World Trade Organization."
Find out how Tiger Woods responds to the peasants' situation in The Golf War, as he plays in a pomotional golf tournament just 100 miles from this community. And see how this remote village fighting back against the powers in the corporate board room.
Learn more about the mobilization against corporate globalization planned around the WTO Ministerial Meeting at the Seattle WTO Web site.
Film premiere in Los Angeles at Laemmle Theaters, October 8-14
"The Golf War" has just been transferred to 16mm film. Its debut willtake place in Los Angeles October 8-14 at LaemmleTheaters.
Filmmakers Jen Schradie and Matt DeVries originally shot the entiredocumentary on a mini-DV format -- a Sony VX-1000. The compact digitalpackage allowed them to shoot as a two-person crew which was invaluableto their security. They could pack the gear into their backpacks and travellike tourists. And the equipment was light enough to carry while hikingthrough the Philippine jungle with an armed guerrilla army.
"We could never have produced this documentary without DV technology,"said DeVries. "Its portability, cost, and image quality allowed us toshoot and interview in a tight and intimate way."
DeVries edited the show's content on a computer-based non-linear editingsystem called a Media 100. Jeff Raskin, of 8Cutter, then edited thefinal cut on a digital beta format at Insight Productions in Durham,North Carolina. And DuArt Film & Video is transferring the documentary fromvideo to 16mm film.
Having a film print will open up its distribution to larger venues, suchas art house theaters that own 16mm projectors. The Laemmle is thepremiere of "The Golf War" on film. The Laemmle eight theaters spanacross the Los Angeles area and for years has brought independent filmsto southern California. "The Golf War" is the latest of a string ofindependent features and documentaries that are shot inexpensively withdigital video (aka DV) then released on film to large audiences.
"Production companies that can afford to shoot on film rarely tell thesetypes of stories, so digital video is democratizing the media," saidSchradie.