THE Philippine National Police (PNP), in a recent directive, stepped up its clear and firm support for the successful implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) when it committed round-the-clock security for farmer-beneficiaries of a vast landholding in the Bondoc Peninsula.
The order, dated May 20, 2015, was issued by the PNP main Headquarters through Police Director Cornejo Marquez, amidst the continuing harassment and obstruction of the CARP process by the former landowners and workers of the Matias Hacienda in Barangays Butanguiad and Don Juan Vercelos in San Francisco, Quezon province.
The harassment and obstruction activities were meant to prevent the installation of the farmer-beneficiaries to the landholdings covered by their respective certificates of land ownership award (CLOAs).
While DAR was able to install 26 farmer-beneficiaries last May 15 and 16, the farmers were forced to leave their awarded farmlots due to threats and harassments from the employees of the Matias family.
There were also bulls in the area, which the Matias’ employees threatened to let loose to attack and gore the farmers. The entry point has been gated and fenced with concrete materials.
Prior to the installation, the farmer-beneficiaries reported and complained that some of the Matias employees resorted to the theft of the copra produce, the destruction of the flowers of the coconuts, the destruction of farming implements and other hostile acts inimical to the CARP implementers and beneficiaries.
The obstruction and harassment activities are criminal offenses under Philippine laws, thus, giving the PNP the authority to arrest anyone who will obstruct CARP.
Police Dir. Marquez ordered the Southern Tagalog Regional and Quezon Provincial Police Offices “to immediately establish a police detachment” inside the 1,716-hectare Matias Hacienda to complete the peaceful and orderly installation of farmer-beneficiaries.
Marquez also directed Quezon provincial director, Sr. Supt. Romy Ylagan, and his deputy, Sr. Supt. Vilmore Manzano, “to provide the farmer-beneficiairies security escorts to and from their farms, conduct regular patrols and implement other appropriate interventions to ensure/maintain peace and order in the area.”
The order for police assistance and security is expected to last indefinitely or until such time when farmer-beneficiaries can freely till their farms peacefully and enjoy the fruits of their labor without fear of being harassed and intimidated by the Matias family and their workers/employees.