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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Batangas farmers stage rally in Makati to protest eviction from RCI haciendas

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Some 1,000 residents of Nasugbu, Batangas gathered at Makati’s Freedom Park on June 6 to protest the plans of Roxas and Company Inc. (RCI) to evict some 50,000 individuals from Haciendas Palico, Banilad and Kaylaway (Roxas Haciendas) covering up to 2,941 hectares in nine barangays.

The delegation included officials of the local government unit of Nasugbu, Batangas led by vice mayor Mildred Sanchez, the Sangguniang Bayan members and barangay captains of the nine affected barangays.

Among the affected areas is Barangay Aga, where communities would be allegedly demolished to make way for RCI’s planned real estate development.

The group visited the head offices of the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) and RCI before proceeding to the head offices of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP), and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), to deliver copies of SB Resolution No. 118.

The measure calls on the BSP, LBP, DBP and BPI not to grant financial support or any extension of loans to RCI until such time that the firm settled its obligations with affected agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) over the disputed lands.

RCI had a total of P4 billion in loans as of March 31, 2024, according to RCI’s published financial statements.

BPI voiced its “appreciation” for the LGU’s efforts, noting that “BPI will seriously consider the contents of the SB Resolution 118, especially the concern of your Sangguniang Bayan for the farmers of your good town in the conduct of its business in the area.”

Land Bank, DBP and BSP said they would meet with the Nasugbu LGU to discuss the contents of SB Resolution 118. 

Sanchez expressed appreciation for the response of the banking community. “We are encouraged by the willingness of government agencies and financial institutions to support Nasugbu. We are calling for more equitable compensation for our residents and a commitment that there will be no forced eviction in the Roxas Haciendas. The collection of real property taxes from RCI can also be used by our municipality for healthcare, education, and other social services, to improve the standard of living in our town,” Sanchez said.

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