Robredo on Hacienda Tinang: 'Mapayapa ang naganap na pagtitipon'

Angelica Y. Yang - Philstar.com
Robredo on Hacienda Tinang: 'Mapayapa ang naganap na pagtitipon'
Ilang eksena sa bungkalang naganap sa "bungkalan" sa Concepcion, Tarlac, ika-9 ng Hunyo
Mula sa Facebook page ng Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura

MANILA, Philippines — Vice President Leni Robredo said Saturday that the land cultivation activity which took place in Hacienda Tinang in Concepcion, Tarlac, was "peaceful" after more than 90 farmers and their supporters who participated in the event were arrested by the police.

The activity or "bungkalan" is a form of protest which involves the collective tilling of the land. 

"Bagaman tinutukoy pa ang kabuuang detalye: ilang bagay ang malinaw: Mapayapa ang naganap na pagtitipon. Walang ibang layunin ang mga magsasaka kundi ang magbigay ng maayos na pamumuhay sa kanilang mga pamilya," Robredo said in a statement on Saturday.

(While the full details have yet to come out, there are several things that are clear: The activity that took place was peaceful. The farmers had no other intention aside from securing a proper life for their families)

Robredo added that the supporters also attended the activity in support of the farmers. 

She hoped there will be a just resolution to the incident and highlighted the importance of respecting human rights and treating people with dignity. 

The farmers who were claiming a portion of Hacienda Tinang did not own the land as they did not have proper papers, Tarlac Police public information officer Jenny Tolentino told CNN Philippines. She also claimed the police exercised maximum tolerance in dealing with the farmers and volunteers during the incident. 

On Friday evening, artist alliance network Sama-Samang Artista para sa Kilusang Agraryo (SAKA) said that 45 of the volunteers arrested were SAKA members who would need to shell out P1.75 million in total for bail. 

"Expressing solidarity with farmers and grounding our practice on peasant communities’ agricultural production has never been terrorism in any way or form," SAKA said on Facebook.

Several groups, including science and technology advocates as well as environmentalists, condemned the arrests. 

"[We] demand the immediate release and dropping of all charges against the...persons illegally arrested by the PNP (Philippine National Police). We call on DAR (Department of Agrarian Reform) and the Commission on Human Rights to conduct an immediate and impartial investigation on such human rights violations against agrarian reform beneficiaries and peasant advocates," AGHAM (Advocates of Science and Technology for the People) said in a statement on the day of the incident. 

Environmental activist group Kalikasan People's Network (PNE) also urged the DAR to immediately award the disputed land to farmers. In a separate statement Friday, Kalikasan PNE explained that the Dominican Order of the Philippines earlier placed Hacienda Tinang under voluntary land transfer under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law. 

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