Farmers and peasant sectors trooped to Mendiola this morning to assail the gruesome situation of farmers' and peoples rights under the Duterte administration. Peasant organizations carried makeshift coffins and cadavers to represent the situation of 'Filipinos being killed like chickens' by the government. KMP and Tanggol Magsasaka have documented 173 farmers and land reform advocates killed.
"Farmers, fisherfolks, peasant women and rural youth all suffer from Oplan Kapayapaan -- Duterte's main weapon against its own citizens and the local adjunct of United States-sanctioned Operation Pacific Eagle-Philippines . This policy of militarization and killings have become the norm under the current Martial-law like conditions imposed across the country. This has resulted to even more difficult situation for farmers already downtrodden by perpetual poverty and landlessness. Itinuturing na kaaway at pinapaslang ng gobyernong ito ang mga magsasakang nagpapakain sa sambayanan," says Danilo Ramos, chairperson of KMP.
The government, through the mercenary Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine National Police (PNP) and their multiplier forces like SCAA, CAFGU, paramilitary groups and barangay intelligence networks have unleashed an arsenal of attacks against farmers, poor peasants, indigenous people and the rural population. Under Duterte, documented peasant killings have totaled to 173. Majority of the 1,450 individuals illegally arrested and 148 individuals harassed with trumped-up criminal charges were farmers. Some local KMP leaders are included in the government's fake terror list, local wanted list and the AFP's hit list.
Majority of the more than 500 political prisoners still languishing in jails nationwide are farmers charged and convicted with criminal and non-bailable cases as a result of their efforts to advance farmers' rights and genuine land reform.
"Day and night, the rural population reel from the effects of intense militarization. AFP soldiers have taken over civilian facilities in villages. They have encamped in barangay halls, schools, plazas and even churches. They are practically ruling over civilian functions in barangays and sitios even in the most far-flung areas. The AFP troops deployed in peasant and indigenous communities think and act like they could just abuse anyone. They torture, harass and redtag farmers as New People's Army (NPA) red fighters under the guise of counterinsurgency. Impunity reigns under this regime. Martial Law is practically in effect nationwide even without an official declaration."
"Oplan Kapayapaan has also emboldened the own armed forces of big landlords and warlords in provinces and regions. They continue to undermine and attack local peasant struggles for genuine land reform including collective cultivation or bungkalan and other campaigns. In regions where there are major government and private sector 'development projects', the AFP and local goons and private security guards act as protectors of such projects and investments that include large-scale mining operations, plantations, logging operations, construction of megadams and energy facilities and many real-estate and ecotourism projects of local landlords and politicians. These forces attack farmers and peasant communities resisting land grabbing and land-use conversion," the KMP leader added.
The peasant group and its members will join even more larger nationwide protests and mass actions on December 10, Human Rights Day to banner the call "militar sa kanayunan, palayasin!".
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