Published: Monday 22 October, 2018

CHR Condemns Massacre of ‘Sagay 9’ Farmers, Some Victims Even Burned

Sagay 9

The makeshift tent in Hacienda Nene where the Sagay 9 were massacred. (PNP)

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has condemned the killing of nine farmers in Sagay City, Negros Occidental on Saturday. Now tagged as the ‘Sagay 9’, the farmers were were massacred still unknown assailants while they rested after working on a farm in Hacienda Nene.

In a statement posted on social media, the CHR said: “The Commission on Human Rights condemns the killing of at least nine sugarcane farmers in Sagay City, Negros Occidental. It is most disturbing that death becomes the price of claiming one’s rights. This trend should not be allowed to continue anywhere and for any cause.”

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The farmers which included the Sagay 9 were reportedly resting inside a makeshift tent in Hacienda Nene after having dinner when about 40 men arrived and opened fire on them. Some survived and managed to escape but three of the nine who were killed were even burned intentionally by the assailants.

One of the survivors was quoted on evening news reports saying he smelled gasoline just before he ran for his life.

The Sagay 9 have been identified as Eglicerio Villegas, 36; Jomarie Ughayon Jr., 17; Marchtel Sumicad, 17; Angelipe Arsenal, Dodong Laurencio, Morena Mendoza, Necnec Dumaguit, Bingbing Bantigue and one identified only as Pater, all from Sagay City.

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The Philippine National Police (PNP) is investigating the massacre, and is looking at a land dispute as the motive for the killing.

Reports have it that the Sagay 9 were members of the left-leaning Negros Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW). But Negros Occidental Provincial Police Office director Senior Superintendent Rodolfo Castil told GMA News that, according to the victims’ families, they were only recruited the day before to till the land after sugarcane was harvested.

“Ayon sa family ng mga victims, itong mga victims na ito ay ni-recruit kahapon ng members ng NFSW. Itong mga ito, hindi pa natin masasabi na talagang members ng NFSW. Bagong recruit or hindi pa sila matagal sa NFSW, ayon sa family,” said Castil.

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