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Free the Tinang 97! Land to the Tillers Now!

BAYAN USA demands justice for the over 200 farmers harassed by the police on June 9 in Brgy. Tinang, Concepcion, Tarlac, as well as the immediate release of the over 90 activists illegally arrested. 

On the morning of June 9, more than 150 farmers with Malayang Kilusang Samahan ng Magsasaka ng Tinang (MAKISAMA-Tinang) were joined by over 50 peasant advocates to engage in collective farming, or bungkalan, to plant rice and vegetables to ensure food security for their community. In response, local mayor and known land grabber Noel Villanueva led police to intimidate, harass, red-tag, and ultimately arrest 97 of those farming. 

All 236 members of MAKISAMA-Tinang have been waiting almost three decades for the land ownership promised to them by the government. Under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), all were awarded Certificate of Land Ownership Awards (CLOA) in 1995, but have yet to enjoy their right to the land because of local bureaucrats, including the Villanueva family, who continue to control Hacienda Tinang.

This latest act of state violence, on top of the decades-long disregard of the MAKISAMA-Tinang members’ CLOA, proves that the Philippine government, no matter who is in power, has no interest in genuine agrarian reform or in ensuring the right to land and food security for the majority of the Filipino people: the peasant farmers. 

The condition of peasants in the Philippines will only grow worse under the impending regime of Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., who just appointed Conrado Estrella III as the Secretary for the Department of Agrarian Reform. Estrella III’s grandfather held the same position under Marcos, Sr., who oversaw an agrarian reform program that denied a vast majority of farmers the right to own land and worsened the dependence on commercial seeds and fertilizers. 

Only through the people’s organized strength can genuine agrarian reform be achieved. We stand with the peasant farmers of MAKISAMA-Tinang and their advocates in the ongoing struggle for land, and against all semi-feudal exploitation and state violence.  

Free the Tinang 97!
Stand with Farmers!
Defend Bungkalan!
Land to the Tillers!

Edit: 97 were confirmed to be arrested, not the originally reported number of 92.