Philippines: land rights defenders house arbitrarily demolishedEvent
- Initial Date
- Aug 10, 2022
- Event Description
On August 10, 2022, the houses of Juvenile Estrada, 53, and Deana Estrada, 53, were allegedly demolished illegally by seven alleged goons hired by Hacienda Vicenta in Purok 1 and Sitio Kambagting, Barangay Cabacungan, La Castellana, Negros Occidental, Philippines. Juvenile and Deana are members of Hacienda Vicenta Farm Workers Association (HVFWA). HVFWA has an ongoing land dispute with Hacienda Vicenta. Apart from Juvenile and Deana, other members of HVFWA have received threats from the said goons.
According to Juvenile, he was sitting inside his house at around 9:00 A.M. when five men wearing face covers barged into his house and asked him if he was the owner of the said house. Juvenile politely asked what the problem was. One of the men then ordered Juvenile to get out of his house within five minutes or stay and be crushed while the men demolished the house. Juvenile said that he was confused and tried to stand up but was held back by one of the men. Juvenile was told that there was no need to ask the barangay officials and that they already settled the matter with the officials. Juvenile added that the men did not present any document to prove the legality of the demolition. Juvenile further added that he was intimidated by the men’s appearance and did not ask further questions.
According to Gaudiosa Estrada, Juvenile’s wife, upon hearing what the men said, she quickly ran outside to ask help from their barangay officials. Gaudiosa said that their officials refused to help them and allegedly said that they do not have jurisdiction over the matter for it was a privately owned lot. Gaudiosa added that by the time she returned to their house, it had already been demolished.
According to Juvenile, he begged to save their belongings but the men refused. Juvenile said that while five men were inside their house, another two were positioned outside. One end of the rope was tied to one of their house’s posts and the other end to a tractor. Juvenile said that within seconds after he went out their house, the driver drove the tractor forward and pulled their house in one go. Juvenile added that the men left after destroying their house and sarcastically ordered him to compute the monetary amount of the damage and it would be paid by the hacienda’s owner.
According to Rose Ann Estrada, Deana’s daughter, she was busy inside their house along with eight children when five men entered their house and ordered them to leave. The men allegedly said that within five minutes, they will demolish their house. Rose asked the reason for the demolition, but was instead threatened by one of the men. Rose was left with nothing to do and instructed the children to rush outside. Rose then rushed up to the second floor to wake up and get her 11-month-old child. Rose said that she went out as quickly as possible and felt dizzy. Rose added that she remembered handing over her child to one of her children and then she passed out. Rose further added that by the time she regained consciousness, the demolition was done.
According to Rose, one of the men tied one end of the rope to their house and the other end to a red canter truck owned by Hacienda Vicenta.
According to May Ann Montalvo, a witness and also a member of HVFWA, she and her brother were inside their house eating when they noticed a gray pick-up truck parked outside their house. Montalvo and her brother went out and saw the plate number of the truck suspiciously covered with leaves and a piece of plywood. Her brother then uncovered the plate number and went around the truck to take pictures of the plate number. Montalvo said that while her brother was taking pictures, she saw Jose Pameroyan, a worker from the hacienda, peeking from inside the truck. Montalvo added that Pameroyan was the alleged team leader of the demolition team.
According to Montalvo, after taking pictures of the truck, she then proceeded to check the status of the Estradas’ house. On her way to the demolition site, she came across the demolition team and overheard the men talking. Montalvo said that the men were saying that it would not be the last demolition and there will be a next time.
According to Juvenile, before the incident, he was summoned by the barangay captain to sit in a meeting with the hacienda’s secretary and sign an agreement between him and the hacienda. As to Juvenile’s understanding, he was offered to be paid by the hacienda if he voluntarily vacates their lot. Juvenile allegedly agreed on the terms. Juvenile added that after the demolition, he received no payment from the hacienda.
As of this writing, both Juvenile and Deana have not received any assistance, monetary or otherwise, from the hacienda. The barangay is also allegedly giving Juvenile and Deana a hard time in procuring the necessary documents required for case filing.
- Impact of Event
- Gender of HRD
- Intimidation and Threats
- Violence (physical)
- Rights Concerned
- Freedom of expression
- Right to healthy and safe environment
- Right to housing
- Right to property
- Freedom of expression
- Land rights defender
- Suspected non-state
Case shared by FORUM-ASIA member TFDP
- Monitoring Status
- Event Location
- Event Location
- Summary for Publications
On 10 August 2022, Juvenile Estrada and Deana Estrada, farmers and members of the Hacienda Vicenta Farm Workers Association (HVFWA), had their house demolished allegedly by individuals sent by the Hacienda Vicenta, local sugar cane plantation with whom they are involved in an ongoing land dispute in La Castellana, the Philippines.