Gunmen massacre 9 sugarcane workers in NegOcc

Sugarcane workers in Barangay Bulanon in Sagay City, Negros Occidental Business World

BACOLOD CITY — A total of nine persons, including three women and two minors, were killed by a group of unidentified gunmen in a sugarcane farm at Barangay Bulanon in Sagay City, Negros Occidental, on Saturday night, the provincial police here reported Sunday.

According to the police report, the fatalities were among the alleged members of the National Federation of Sugarcane Workers (NFSW) who occupied the farm at Hacienda Nene in Purok Firetree on Saturday morning.

The male fatalities were identified as Eglicerio Villegas, 36; Paterno Baron, 48; Rene “Dodong” Laurencio; and Rannel “Bingbing” Bantigue, 41, while the females were Angelife Arsenal, 47; Morena Mendoza; and Marcelina “Necnec” Dumaguit.

The two minors were identified as Jomarie Ughayon Jr., 16, and Marchtel Sumicad, 17.

The bodies of Mendoza, Bantigue, and Dumaguit were allegedly burned by the assailants, the police report said.

Investigators led by Chief Insp. Roberto Mansueto, head of Sagay City Police Station, and personnel of 62nd Special Action Force team, proceeded to Barangay Bulanon after receiving information about the incident that took place around 9:30 p.m.

The teams learned that the farm owned by Carmen Tolentino was occupied by alleged NFSW members, a day after the harvest.

While the victims and their companions were resting inside the improvised tents, a group of about 40 gunmen fired at them, immediately killing the nine.

Those who survived were able to run and seek refuge in various areas near the sugarcane farm.

Operatives from the Negros Occidental Police Provincial Crime Laboratory recovered 12 fired cartridges of 5.56-caliber rifle and seven others of caliber .45 along with a homemade .38-caliber pistol with a live cartridge and a fired cartridge case of the same firerarm.

The bodies of the nine victims were brought to FDN Memorial Chapel.

The Sagay City Police Station said investigators are eyeing land conflict as the motive of the incident.

Follow-up investigation and clearing operation are ongoing and surviving witnesses are temporarily in police custody. (PNA)