Religious group assails violent dispersal of farmers

ANTIPOLO CITY, July 4, 2010—Sociopastoral organization, Promotion of Church Peoples’ Response (PCPR) has assailed the violent dispersal of 42 farmers doing a camp-out along the Chino Roces (Mendiola) Bridge, in Manila.

The farmers from Hacienda Yulo in Laguna and the controversial Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac, owned by the Cojuangco clan, have been for three days camping out along Chino Roces asking government to act on the issue of land reform.

“We have learned that the farmers led by the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas staged a camp-out to press the newly-installed administration of President Noynoy Aquino lll to take immediate step on the long standing issue of genuine land reform. Tillers from nearby provinces including of the Hacienda Luisita have participated in the said camp-out,” the PCPR statement read.

According to reports, the joint contingent of the Office of the Engineering Department of the City of Manila and the Manila Police had allegedly brutally harassed and dispersed the camp-out of the farmers July 3, at 3:30 pm (Manila Time) and arrested 38 farmers and four of their supporters, injuring some 13 people.

As of this yesterday, those arrested were illegally detained at the police headquarters at UN Avenue, Manila.

“The said incidence shows the constant policy of the state in bearing complaining citizens. The same atrocities and violence had been the method of the Arroyo administration to silent her critics,” the PCPR statement furthered.

PCPR also said that this is a “too early a revelation of Aquino Administration who is on its 3rd day in power.

“It has paraded its harshness and non concern of the peasants’ plight. While the “wang-wang” issue has been addressed, the issue of land reform must be considered as an urgent agendum because it is a matter of life and death for the Filipino people. The PCPR joins different sectors in denouncing another violence against toiling masses and calls the faithful to work for justice and peace for our nation,” the PCPR statement further said. (