Gabriela Officer Steals Land Owned by OFW

The Social Cancer is a regular article written by the contributors of Stories in this section are based on recorded facts from several sources. Most of these stories were not published on national media, as most pro-Marcos news stories were limited by the succeeding administrations after his fall.

Balikbayan Loses Land to Gabriela Officer in Negros Oriental

It was 1976 when Arturo Tevez migrated to New Zealand and settled his family. He left his inherited 4.7-hectare land to his second cousin, Rudy Martinez, who was 21 years old and single. Since then, Martinez became a care taker and enjoyed a monthly salary from Tevez, except for the banana, coconut, and other crops from the land which he sold for himself.

After six years, Martinez got married to a daughter of Gabriela Negros member Romeo Tanjay.

Things went wrong when Tevez visited Martinez and his family on June 1992. There are three other houses build inside his land. The houses were owned by Martinez’s in laws and build without the permission of Tevez.

Tevez was advised that it will be difficult to ask the homeowners to leave his land because the family was influential and have strong connections with NPA. The legal battle started.

The local court decided to give the portion of the land where the houses were built to the home owners, and the vacant lot remains in Tevez’s ownership. A total of 1.5 hectares were given to Gabriela land grabbers. Mr. Tevez then hired another family to settle on his land, and planted most part with vegetables, where he has more than 10 regular workers.

From 1992 to 2005, Mr. Tevez and his workers experienced harassments and threats from members of NPA. The family that stole his land, including Martinez still insists that Tevez should distribute the land because they are the tenants. It was until 2007 that the case was closed and the families were warned by the court to leave Mr. Tevez and his workers alone.  Mr. Tevez now owned a successful trading business in Dumaguete City while maintaining his land and the three families he originally hired to take care of his land.

The people who stole his land, the members of Gabriela Negros are still leaving in poverty, doing street demonstrations here and there from time to time. /Divina Silva – Dumaguete City/