An incident involving disputes over farming lands led to the death of one farmer while another survived in an assassination attempt in Negros Occidental prompting Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano to call for an immediate probe.
Wenceslao Pacquiao, 48, died with five gunshot wounds while Rebeco Paubaya survived when a lone assailant fired gunshots due to a land dispute in Baranggay San Benito, Calatrava a week ago.
Following the incident, the DAR Secretary directed Negros Island Regional Director, Stephen Leonidas, to investigate and fast track the resolution of the land dispute where Pacquiao’s and Paubaya’s farm are situated.
“Necessary steps to hasten the resolution of agrarian disputes are in place to avoid the cold blood of another farmer to meet his ir her land,” said Mariano, after his directive to probe the incident to ‘give justice’ to the victims.
Reports received by DAR disclosed that the victims were cultivating their lands when an unidentified armed man fired shots. Pacquiao is a member of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas- Negros.
The land in question is originally owned by Angelina Bruce Laguda and is currently leased to several farmers by Agusitilo Hullesa.
Earlier this year a similar incident also transpired when Alexander Ceballos, also a farmer from Negros, was also killed after sustaining a gunshot to the head.
Since Mariano assumed office in July 2016, he promised to protect the rights and welfare of farmers. Mariano adds that he wants to ‘welcome the sunrise with lands in the hands and control of the farmers, but we certainly do not want to see the sunset with death from a fellow farmer.’
Peter Paul Duran