Press Release
October 22, 2018

Zubiri condemns killing of sugar farmworkers in Negros

Sen. Juan Miguel F. Zubiri pressed for indepth investigation on the killing of nine sugar workers including women and minors in Hacienda Nene in Sagay City, Negros Occidental.

"I condemn this killing in the heart of sugarland which is an important sector of our economy. I have just come from Bacolod in Negros and I feel disheartened by these deaths. However, I note a few positive developments consisting of the willingness of the landowner to talk with government, specifically the PNP and the offer of huge rewards by Gov. Marañon and his son who is the Mayor of Sagay City. I hope that these will lead to the early resolution of the case and killers be brought to the bar of justice."

"This violence should not be happening in this day and age since all agencies of government are bent on empowering the farm sector and farm incomes to grow. There are ways to help the farm sector, specifically the sugar industry. Farmers have become competitive as shown by the largest cooperatives in Southern Luzon. Let the fight be against poverty, not against defenseless farm workers."

"It is disheartening to know that the dead who included women and minors are painted in a bad light by being migrant workers from other barangays such as Brgy. Plaridel, also in Sagay City. The use of migrant workers is part and parcel of sugar plantation operations."

Workers who were able to run away from a nearby hut and survivors who were in the same hut as those killed said numerous men attacked the farm workers. Police noted that a gun and ammunition were found near the bodies. Found with the bodies were a paltik - a home-made gun, a few cal. 38 bullets, empty magazines and ammunition for a 12-gauge shotgun. However, investigators said it was common for people in the area to own a gun.

Police estimated 10-12 men attacked the farm workers. They are still determining if the killing involved strafing and whether the deaths resulted from a massacre, or a fire fight.

Negros island is one of areas with large Land Acquisition and Distribution balances, according to the DAR. Zubiri, who traces his roots to Negros, has fought to keep the competitiveness of locally-produced sugar against imported sugar and alternative sweeteners.

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