2018 Sagay massacre

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2018 Sagay massacre
Location of Sagay on the island of Negros
Location of Sagay on the island of Negros
LocationSagay, Negros Occidental, Philippines
DateOctober 20, 2018 (2018-10-20)
~9:45 PM (PhST)
TargetSugarcane farmers
Attack type
Shooting, massacre
Suspected perpetrators
  • Rene Manlangit[1]
  • Rogelio Arquillo[1]
No. of participants
MotiveLand dispute[2]
AccusedFormer farmers of the land[3]
Revolutionary Proletarian Army (New People's Army breakaway group)[4][5][6]

The 2018 Sagay massacre occurred when a group of gunmen shot and killed nine sugarcane farmers, including four women and two children, while they were eating dinner in a makeshift tent on a farm in Sagay, Negros Occidental on October 20, 2018.[7] The farmers were members of the National Federation of Sugar Workers,[8] and the massacre may have been motivated by on-going conflicts over land reform in the Philippines.[3]


Armed men reportedly attacked a makeshift tent in the sugarcane farm in Hacienda Nene, Purok Fire Tree, Barangay Bulanon on October 20, 2018 and began shooting, killing nine farmers.[9] Three of the victims were also burned after they were killed.[2] According to Police Superintendent Joem Malong, the incident took place at 9:45 PM (GMT+8). [10] The shooting lasted for 10 minutes.[11]


After the incident, the police named the victims of the shooting, who included three men, four women and two children.[12] According to the police, most of the victims were the members of Negros Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW).[13] Police said that they were hunting for the killers.[14] The NFSW said that the incident occurred on the first night of "bungkalan" activity — "wherein farmers occupy idle lands and collectively cultivate to make them productive."[3] The police are investigating "land conflict" as the possible motive. In an interview on CNN Philippines, Sagay City Acting Chief of Police Chief Inspector Robert Mansueto said that the victims formerly farmed the land in question, and he added that "those killed were land reform beneficiaries."[3] Initial reports said that 40 armed men took the place, but Mansueto clarified that it was five or six gunmen.[15] Mansueto also said that the victims were eating dinner inside their tent before the incident.[16] According to one survivor, the armed men arrived at the hacienda on foot and because of the remoteness of the area, the farmers did not notice them.[11]

Chief Supt. John Bulalacao, Western Visayas police director, said that some of the 40 farmers "were linked to the New People's Army (NPA)" and claimed that NFSW was a "legal front" of the NPA.[7]

Chief Insp. Manseto said that the incident appeared to have been a shootout between the gunmen and some of the farmers, although none of the gunmen were harmed. On the Crime Laboratory, one of the slain farmers was holding a .38 caliber handgun,[11] however, three survivors denied this, saying that none of the members have guns.[17] Police found 12 empty bullet casings from a 5.56 mm rifle and seven bullet casings from .45 caliber handgun.[11]

In an interview on DZMM, Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Oscar Albayalde said the NFSW is "used by the Communist Party of the Philippines to take over private lands for profit" and he added that the victims are "not legitimate tillers or tenants" of the plantation.[8] The Department of Agrarian Reform said that the victims were "not beneficiaries of the government's land distribution program."[18]

On October 23, the police said that they had identified one of the members of the NPA who is allegedly behind the massacre. According to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the plantation where the incident took place was a "vigorous" place for the NPA.[19]


On October 28, the PNP has identified Rene Manlangit and Rogelio Arquillo – recruiters of the farmers to the NFSW. The two were being filed murder charges by the police; however, the two suspects remain at large.[1]


On October 21, Malacañang Palace condemned the incident, calling the incident an "extremely cruel act".[16] Former Special Assistant to the President and now-senatorial candidate Bong Go announced that President Rodrigo Duterte will visit the wake of the slain farmers.[20] However, due to poor weather conditions, his visit has been called off.[5][21]

Several opposition figures condemned the incident and directly blamed Duterte for the act; former Bayan Muna Representative Neri Colmenares said that the Duterte administration and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) "should be held responsible" for the killing of nine farmers.[22] Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana accused Colmenares of having political motivations for criticizing the government for the incident. Lorenzana also made a statement condemning the incident.[23] Anakbayan Cebu wrote on Twitter, saying that "vehemently condemns the fascist and terrorist acts of the Duterte regime towards the tillers of the land who are constantly victimized by his ferocious all-out war."[13] The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) also condemned the killings and called on the government "to give assurance that justice would be served for the victims."[7]

Bayan Muna Representative Carlos Zarate labelled the incident as part of the "real Red October" plot, which originally referred to an alleged plot to overthrow President Duterte.[24] Women's group Gabriela Representative said that "this is a war against the people and a war against the poor."[24] On October 21, a resolution titled "House Resolution No. 2262" was filed by ACT Teachers Reps. Antonio Tinio and France Castro, Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate, Gabriela Reps. Emmi de Jesus and Arlene Brosas, Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao, and Kabataan Rep. Sarah Elago, calling for the House committees to conduct an investigation on the incident.[24][25] According to the Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) and the NFSW, the massacre brought the total of 45 number of farmers killed in Negros island alone under the presidency of Duterte.[26] Senator Risa Hontiveros also pointed the finger to Duterte, saying that the killing occurred "under his watch".[27] Former solicitor general Florin Hilbay said that the government should give justice for the farmers "who only desire to own the land".[28]

Netizens took part on their social media, decried the killings, and called for justice for the slain farmers.[29]

On October 22, militant groups gathered at Camp Aguinaldo; the group believed that the effect of the killing of the farmers is the "militarization".[30]

On October 23, Carlos Conde of Human Rights Watch made a statement, calling on the Duterte administration "to carry out a credible and impartial investigation" and he added that abuses of human rights in the Philippines are "not limited" to Duterte's drug war.[31]

On October 25, relatives of the victims and other militant groups gathered at Taft Avenue in Manila to protests the killings of the farmers and decried the low wages and the government's failure of giving the land reform to the workers.[32]


On October 24, according to the NFSW via Facebook, a minor who survived the incident was "illegally" arrested by the Sagay authorities. The minor was set to be turned over to his grandparents after being held in the Department of Social Welfare and Development custody. Former Bayan Muna representative Neri Colmenares, via Twitter, called for the immediate release of the minor.[33]

On October 31, one of the victim's relatives blamed the supposed recruiter of the NFSW, Rene Manlangit, who promised to them that they "would have a parcel of land" if they joined the NFSW.[34]


  1. ^ a b c "Police file murder charges vs 2 Sagay massacre suspects". Rappler. Retrieved October 28, 2018.
  2. ^ a b "9 farmers shot dead in Negros Occidental". The Manila Times. Retrieved October 22, 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d "9 killed including two minors in Negros Occidental sugar plantation". CNN Philippines. Retrieved October 22, 2018.
  4. ^ "NPA may be behind Negros Occidental attack — PNP". CNN Philippines. Retrieved October 22, 2018.
  5. ^ a b Murder of sugarcane workers in Sagay City, Negros Occidental.
  6. ^ News, ABS-CBN. "PNP chief tags NPA in farmers' 'bungkalan' campaign in Sagay". ABS-CBN News.
  7. ^ a b c "PNP eyes 4 groups in killing of 9 sugar farmers in Sagay". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved October 23, 2018.
  8. ^ a b "PNP claims slain Negros farmers' org is Red legal front". ABS-CBN News.
  9. ^ "Malacañang condemns killing of 9 farmers in Negros Occidental". UNTV News and Rescue. Retrieved October 22, 2018.
  10. ^ "Nine killed in shooting in Negros Occidental over alleged land dispute". GMA News. Retrieved October 22, 2018.
  11. ^ a b c d "Gunmen kill 9 sugarcane workers in Negros Occ". Manila Bulletin. Retrieved October 22, 2018.
  12. ^ "9 farmers killed at Negros Occidental hacienda". Rappler. Retrieved October 25, 2018.
  13. ^ a b "Palace condemns killing of 9 Negros sugar workers". GMA News. Retrieved October 22, 2018.
  14. ^ "Police to pursue suspects in sugarcane workers' slay in Sagay City". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved October 22, 2018.
  15. ^ "9 sugarcane workers massacred in Negros hacienda". ABS-CBN News. Retrieved October 22, 2018.
  16. ^ a b "Palace orders 'thorough, impartial' investigation on Negros farmers' massacre". ABS-CBN News. Retrieved October 22, 2018.
  17. ^ "Sagay shooting survivors deny they had guns while in hacienda". GMA News.
  18. ^ "Slain Negros farmers were not land redistribution beneficiaries, says DAR". ABS-CBN News.
  19. ^ "Miyembro daw ng NPA tinukoy ng PNP bilang suspek sa Sagay massacre". GMA News (in Tagalog). Retrieved October 24, 2018. Nakumpirma na rin daw sa Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) na malakas ang NPA sa naturang lugar. "Alam naman nila na very critical 'yung area. And they will use the, maybe, the ignorance of those people na dalhin sila dito. And I believe na malakas ang ano dito ng NPA," dagdag ni Bulalacao.
  20. ^ "Duterte to visit wake of slain Negros". ABS-CBN News. Retrieved October 23, 2018.
  21. ^ "Duterte cancels visit to wake of 9 slain Negros farmers". Philippine Daily Inquirer.
  22. ^ "9 sugarcane workers gunned down in Negros Occidental". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved October 22, 2018.
  23. ^ "Colmenares using 'Sagay 9' for campaign, Defense chief claims". The Philippine Star. Retrieved October 23, 2018.
  24. ^ a b c "Solons seek probe of 'Sagay 9' massacre". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved October 23, 2018. "Ito ang tunay na (this is the real) Red October", Zarate said, referring to the so-called "Red October" destabilization plot to overthrow the Duterte administration.
  25. ^ "House Resolution 2262" (PDF). Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved October 23, 2018.
  26. ^ "Massacre crushed long-time hacienda workers' dream for son". ABS-CBN News.
  27. ^ "Hontiveros slams 'Sagay 9' slay in Negros Occidental". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved October 23, 2018.
  28. ^ "Hilbay, Diokno call for justice for 'Sagay 9'". Manila Bulletin. Retrieved October 23, 2018.
  29. ^ "'Nakakagalit, nakakagimbal': Netizens decry death of 9 farmers in Negros Occidental". Rappler. Retrieved October 23, 2018.
  30. ^ "TV Patrol: 'Mga minasaker na magsasaka, di benepisyado ng land redistribution'". ABS-CBN News – via YouTube. Retrieved October 25, 2018. (From 0:56-1:06) Sumugod naman sa Camp Aguinaldo ang iba't ibang militanteng grupo. Naniniwala sila na epekto ng militarisasyon ang pagpatay sa mga magsasaka.
  31. ^ "HRW: Sagay massacre shows rights abuses in PH go beyond 'drug war'". ABS-CBN News.
  32. ^ "Bandila: Independent investigation sa Sagay massacre, ipinanawagan". ABS-CBN News – via YouTube. Retrieved October 29, 2018. (Interview at 0:10-0:24) "Ang aking magulang ay isa ring sakada rin. Wala silang sariling lupa na sinasaka. Kagutuman pa rin, kahirapan pa rin. Bakit hindi ibigay sa mga mahihirap... yung lupa."
  33. ^ "Minor who survived Sagay massacre arrested by police —labor group". GMA News. Retrieved October 24, 2018.
  34. ^ "Relative of Sagay shooting victim blames recruiter, NFSW for massacre". GMA News.

Coordinates: 10°55′03″N 123°29′13″E / 10.91750°N 123.48694°E / 10.91750; 123.48694