ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION - URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME

PHILIPPINES: Killing of a peasant leader in Bukidnon

Thursday 6 September 2007 by LRAN

FA-007-2007: Extrajudicial killing; ineffective implementation of land reform; impunity

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is forwarding an appeal from Task Force Detainees of the Philippines-Mindanao (TFDP) regarding the killing of another peasant leader. The victim, Franklin Cabiguin Labial, was shot dead by two men riding on a motorcycle as he was about to enter his house in North Don Carlos, Bukidnon on 10 August 2007.
Before he was killed, Labial received threats to his life. He had been questioning the manner by which the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL) is being implemented in his locality, particularly to contracts issued to the Southern Fruits Products, Inc and Davao Venture Corporation (SFPI-DAVCO), a company owned by a wealthy and highly influential local politician. Labial accuses the company for destroying the crops and houses of farmers who refuse to enter into a lease agreement with the company.
On August 9, Labial went to the office of SFPI-DAVCO. The DAVCO had a lease agreement over the same farm land Labial and his group is claiming. He confronted the manager to stop the clearing in the said area.
Please write letters to the authorities concerned requesting for their appropriate action in this case. Should you wish to have further information please contact the TFDP.

Urgent Appeals Desk

Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)

URGENT ACTION

Dear friends,
Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP), writes to inform you of another extra-judicial killing involving a peasant leader which happened on August 10, 2007, at 5:30 in the evening in front of the victim’s residence at Purok 4, Gomez St., North Don Carlos, Bukidnon Province, island of Mindanao, Philippines, perpetrated by unidentified two (2) assailants riding a color red motorcycle, wearing civilian clothes.

The victim was identified as ; Franklin Cabiguin Labial, 59 years old, married with one (1) child and a resident of Purok 4, Gomez St., North Don Carlos, Province of Bukidnon.

CASE DETAILS:

A peasant leader and acting President of Makabayan-Pilipinas Bukidnon chapter was gunned down by unknown assailants in front of his house in Don Carlos, Bukidnon, on August 10, 2007 at 5:30 in the evening.

Labial was shot in front of his house and died on the spot. He sustained a lone gunshot wound in the lower back portion of his head (intra-cranial injury). The bullet was still inside his head. According to witnesses, the perpetrators were riding a color red motorcycle and already tailing the victim when he was still in the marketplace buying food for dinner. The perpetrators fled immediately to an unknown direction.

According to his wife, she was inside their house when the incident happened. She did not hear the gun fire as she was busy attending to a baby crying. When her niece, the mother of the baby arrived, she was only told that his husband was already lying in front of their house dead.

The day before he was killed, Labial went to the office of Southern Fruits products, Inc and Davao Venture Corporation (SFPI-DAVCO), a sister company owned by the Floriendo family (a prominent farm developers in Davao City). DAVCO has a lease agreement over the land Labial and his group is applying for tenural agreement. Labial confronted the manager to stop the clearing in their claimed area. As reported, about 20 hectares will be subjected to land clearing and would be acquired by the said company.
He also spoke to the Secretary of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) at past 5:00 o’clock in the evening. He was in the market place and buying food for his family and then he hurried home.
According to interview, he already received text messages of death threats the day after the inter-agency consultation was held in Don Carlos gymnasium on July 13, 2007.

During the consultation, he questioned the implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Law (CARP) and contracts of the SFPI-DAVCO. He cited the destruction of crops and houses of the farmers who refused to enter into lease agreement with SFPI-DAVCO. He accused the company of using a backhoe to clear the land already planted with cops, fruit trees and coconut trees by the farmers and in tearing down their houses in some areas. He also condemned the killings that happened in the area against the farmers and an indigenous person’s struggling for their right to own a piece of land.
Reportedly, DAVCO, under the lease-agreement, already appropriated some 800 hectares of the total 2,900 hectares claimed by agrarian reform beneficiaries are the indigenous peoples who are actual tillers and/or occupants.

Labial is the president of Don Carlos Bukidnon United Farmers Association, Inc. (DCBUFAI). As agrarian reform beneficiaries, Labial and his group of farmers claim some 100- hectare parcel of the 2,900-hectare of the Construction Development Corporation of the Philippines (CDCP) owned by Rodolfo Cuenca and Danding Cohuangco (both known as cronies of the late dictator, Ferdinand Marcos). In 1989, CDCP was among the sequestered landed estates under the CARL to be distributed to farmers. As a sequestered property, CDCP was later renamed as Bukidnon Farms Inc. (BFI). BFI is consists of three (3) big land titles covering the municipalities of Don Carlos and Maramag in the province of Bukidnon. The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) granted them 109 hectares, but it was found out that there are only 60 hectares remained since the intrusion of DAVCO in 2005.

Labial was also his organization’s representative to the newly-formed Task Force ARAD. TF-ARAD is formed only last July 13, 2007 among concerned government agencies, NGOs and affected People’s Organizations concerning dispute over the contested Carpable Cohunagco estate. He was also the vice-chairperson of the Makabayan Pilipinas, Bukidnon Chapter (Makabayang Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, Inc). He was also the provincial chairperson of Sanlakas- Bukidnon and also the Secretary General of the Coalition of Actual Tiller and CLOA Holders in Bukidnon Farms, Inc (CATCH -BFI)

As of the moment, the Police are still conducting investigation regarding the perpetrators.

REQUESTED ACTION:

PLEASE SEND LETTERS TO THE CONCERN GOVERNMENT AGENCY TO CONDUCT IMPARTIAL INVESTIGATION AND BRING PERPETRATORS TO TRIAL, WE ARE ALSO SEEKING THE IMMEDIATE ASSISTANCE OF THE OFICE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRARIAN REFORM (DAR) TO CONDUCT INVESTIGATION AND TAKE STEPS IN RELATION TO THE REPORTED HARASSMENTS AND PROBLEMS RELATED TO THE CLAIM OF THE FARMERS IN THE AREA, AS WELL AS THE OFFICE OF THE NATIONAL COMMISION OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLES (NCIP).

THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRARIAN REFORM (DAR), AS IMPLEMENTOR OF THE COMPREHENSIVE AGRARIAN REFORM SHOULD INVESTIGATE THE ALLEGED CONNIVANCE OF THEIR LOCAL PERSONNELS REGARDING THE ANOMALOUS LEASE AGREEMENT ENTERED INTO BY THE GROUP OF FARMERS IN THE SAID AREA BETWEEN THE OFFICE OF THE SOUTHERN FRUITS PRODUCTS, INC AND DAVAO VENTURE CORPORATION (SFPI-DAVCO), A SISTER COMPANY OWNED BY FLORIENDO FAMILY ( a prominent farm developer), WITHIN THE LAND ALREADY CLAIMED BY THE FARMERS WHO ARE ACTUAL OCCUPANTS AND ALREADY IDENTIFIED BY DAR AS BENEFICIARIES.

Thank you.

Rita Mulato Melecio

Task Force Detainees of the Philippines

SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear,

I am writing to express my grave concern about another case of extra-judicial killing which happened in your country. This refers to a peasant leader shot down on August 10,2007 in front of his house at 5:30 in the evening in Purok 4, Gomez St., North Don Carlos, Bukidnon Province, island of Mindanao, Philippines. The two (2) unidentified assailants were riding a color red motorcycle, wearing civilian clothes.

The victim was identified as ; Franklin Cabiguin Labial, 59 years old, married with one (1) child and a resident of Purok 4, Gomez St., North Don Carlos, Bukidnon.

Labial is the president of Don Carlos Bukidnon United Farmers Association, Inc. (DCBUFAI). As agrarian reform beneficiaries, Labial and his group of farmers claim some 100- hectare parcel of the 2,900-hectare of the Construction Development Corporation of the Philippines (CDCP) owned by Rodolfo Cuenca and Danding Cohuangco (both known as cronies of the late dictator, Ferdinand Marcos). In 1989, CDCP was among the sequestered landed estates under the CARL to be distributed to farmers.
The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) granted the group of Labial 109 hectares, but it was found out that only 60 hectares remained since the intrusion of DAVCO in 2005.

Reportedly, DAVCO, under the lease-agreement, already appropriated some 800 hectares of the total 2,900 hectares claimed by agrarian reform beneficiaries who are actual tillers and the indigenous peoples.
Labial was also his organization’s representative to the newly-formed Task Force ARAD. TF-ARAD is formed only last July 13, 2007 among concerned government agencies, NGOs and affected People’s Organizations concerning dispute over the contested Carpable Cohunagco estate. He was also the vice-chairperson of the Makabayan Pilipinas, Bukidnon Chapter (Makabayang Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, Inc). He was also the provincial chairperson of Sanlakas- Bukidnon and also the Secretary General of the Coalition of Actual Tiller and CLOA Holders in Bukidnon Farms, Inc (CATCH -BFI)

I condemned the killing of Frank Labial and I am urging the Office of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and office of the President to conduct an impartial investigation into this killing which is related to the victim’s struggle for land ownership under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) and order the immediate resolution of this case including the alleged destruction of properties of the farmers claiming a portion of the said sequestered property.

I am hoping for a favorable action on this matter.

Thank you and more power.

Respectfully yours,


PLEASE SEND LETTERS:

1. Ms. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo

President

Malacanang Palace,

JP Laurel St., San Miguel

Manila

PHILIPPINES

Fax: +63 2 736 1010

Tel: +63 2 735 6201 / 564 1451 to 80

corres@op.gov.ph

2. Hon. Purificacion Quisumbing

Commissioner

Commission on Human Rights

SAAC Building, Commonwealth Avenue

UP Complex, Diliman, Quezon City

Philippines

Tel: +63 2 92855/926 6188

Fax: +63 2 929 0102

drpq@yahoo.com

3. Director General Oscar Calderon

Chief, Philippine National Police

Camp General Rafael Crame, Quezon City

Tel: +63 2726 4361/4366/8763

Fax: +63 2724 8763

Email: bluetree73@gmail.com

4. Ms. Hina Jilani

Special Representative of the Secretary for HumanRights Defenders

Attention: Melinda Ching Simon

Room 1-040

C/O OHCHR-UNOG

1211, Geneva 10, Switzerland

Tel: +41 22 917 9388

Fax: + 41 22 917 9006 ( Attn: Special Representative of Human Rights
Defenders)

5. Mr. Philip Alston

Special Rapporteur on Extra-Judical, Summary or Arbitrary Executions

Attention: Lydie Ventre

Room 3-016, OHRCH-UNOG

1211, Geneva 10, Switzerland

Tel: +41 229179155

Fax: +41 22917 9006 (attention: Special Rapporteur extra-judicial killings)

6. Hon. Nasser Pangandaman

Secretary

Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR)

Quezon, Elliptical Circle

Quezon City, Metro Manila

Tel: (632) 928 703139
(END)

Thank you.


Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission ua@ahrchk.org


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