Rights group denounces violent demolition of farms, stores in Cavite village

Karapatan denounces the violent demolitions of stores, farms and protest centers in Barangay Tartaria, Silang, Cavite by hired goons of Ayala Land Inc. and the Aguinaldo clan.

The disputed area in Barangay Tartaria is part of a 200-hectare landholding settled by farmers since the late 19th century and known for its fertile soil planted to crops such as coconut, coffee, pineapple and banana. The landholding is being claimed by the Aguinaldos, who, however, failed to produce any proof of ownership.

Initially approved as a land reform area under the government’s Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program, the National Housing Authority in collusion with the Aguinaldos succeeded in having the landholding exempted from CARP by having it reclassified as residential land. Since then, violent demolitions have been perpetrated by security guards hired by Ayala Land Inc. in cahoots with local police forces to make way for the construction of commercial establishments and a private subdivision in the area.

The latest attack was the burning at 2 a.m. of April 20, 2024 of the protest camp set up by the Samahan ng Magsasaka at Mamamayan ng Tartaria (SAMATA). The perpetrators were some 60 armed security goons from the notorious Jarton Security, the same agency hired by Ayala Land to demolish peasant communities in Hacienda Yulo in Canlubang, Calamba, Laguna.

Karapatan stands in solidarity with the peasant communities of Tartaria in their continuing struggle to defend their land and livelihoods from landgrabbers led by Ayala Land and the Aguinaldo clan.