Labor groups condemns massacre of sugar cane workers!

Manila, Philippines — The Labor Coalition NAGKAISA (UNITED) strongly condemns the killing of nine sugarcane workers  Saturday night (20 October 2018), during a Land Cultivation Area or “bungkalan” activity in Hacienda Nene in Barangay Bulanon, Sagay City, Negros Occidental.

Authorities said the victims, among them two 17-year old individuals, were resting in improvised tents when they were attacked by unidentified armed men. The assailants allegedly burned three of the victims, the police report said.

The victims are all members of the National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW) and were newly hired.

“We are in solidarity with the victims, we were informed that the workers were having their dinner when they were viciously attacked by reportedly as many as 40 unidentified armed persons,” said Atty. Sonny Matula, chairperson of the Nagkaisa.

Two (2) minors and some other farmers were wounded but survived the incident.

“The Nagkaisa condoles with the immediate families of the victims and calls on the authorities to conduct a speedy investigation to identify and arrest the perpetrators and bring them to the bar of justice,” Matula said.

“We also call on the whole community, especially workers of all industries, to condemn this atrocious attack on one of the most vulnerable sectors of the working class – agricultural workers,” Matula added.

Meanwhile, Leody De Guzman, chairperson of Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP) or Solidarity of Filipino Workers urged the authorities to act on the incident immediately. He said the Sagay incident might be repeated again because of the current administration’s neglect and lack of resolve to address the plight of peasants and farmworkers three years into the president’s term.

“As chief executive, Duterte has the authority to promulgate policies that will address the root causes of all agrarian disputes and expedite the process of the turning over huge tracts of land to agrarian beneficiaries but instead Duterte simply sat on the clamor for the redistribution of land,” De Guzman, explained. CPM

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