Following the reports on a shooting incident which killed a farmer and injured four in President Roxas town in Capiz, agrarian reform chief Rafael 'Ka Paeng' Mariano ordered the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Region VI office to seek police assistance and immediately conduct an investigation on the incident.
Mariano expressed his condolences to the families of the victims as he condemned the shooting incident. "Necessary steps must be done to prevent further injuries," he added.
The DAR Secretary also instructed Regional Director Gideon Umadhay Jr. and the Provincial Agrarian Reform Officer to probe the land dispute in the Nemencio Tan landholding to prevent bloodshed and more injuries in the agrarian reform-covered land.
Reports from local farmers’ group Task Force Mapalad (TFM) showed that gunmen of Ferdinand Bacanto, administrator of the property, fired gunshots at the group of farmers and Certificate of Land Ownership Award (CLOA) holders at around 4 p.m. of February 11. Assailants allegedly used .45 and .357 caliber pistols, according to reports.
Data sent to DAR identified the victims as members of TFM and Bulyog Capiznon, an alliance of super typhoon Yolanda survivors. They were said to be holding a campout protest in Barangay Culilang when they were attacked by the alleged landlord goons.
Orlando Eslana sustained a gunshot wound at the back and was pronounced dead on arrival at the Bailan Hospital in Pontevedra, Capiz. The four other injured were Ana Bocala, Nida Amo, Adel Vergara and Melinda Arroyo who remains in critical condition at the Ilo-ilo hospital.
On ground accounts said that violence is currently escalating in the area. Umadhay said the local police has already dispatched a team and the DAR Central Office is now awaiting the official incident report.
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