Massacre of coconut trees in Laguna sparked peasant unrest

MANILA, Philippines- More than 320 coconut trees were cut down in Hacienda Yulo in Canlubang, Laguna sanctioned by the Philippine Coconut Authority itself to pave the way for the construction of a 30-kilometer road project for a commercial, high-end residential, and tourism project.

According to the Samahan ng Mamamayang Nagkakaisa sa Buntog (Samana-Buntog), an affiliate of the militant Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), last October 18 elements of the Revere Construction entered and started cutting coconut trees in Sitio Buntog in Hacienda Yulo without showing any permit.

“We tried to stop them but heavily armed security guards harassed and blocked us,” says Eric Laurel, Samana-Buntog spokesperson adding “the cutting down of trees is obviously linked with the planned land-use conversion of the 7,100-hectare Hacienda Yulo into a commercial, high-end residential, and eco-tourism project by Ayala Land.”

Laurel said that “on October 20, private security guards, which was then reinforced by the military, continues to cut down the trees.”

“They then showed us a photocopy of a permit from the PCA saying 600 coconut trees will be cut down in 15 days,” says Laurel.

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