Saturday, November 18, 2017

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The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has drawn fire from activist farmer groups angered by its findings on the bloodshed during the April 1 dispersal of protesting farmers in Kidapawan City.
The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) said the rights body, in its May 30 report, glossed over the atrocities committed by the government forces during the riot, which left two protesters dead, two police officers seriously injured and dozens of others hurt.
“By saying that both sides provoked the confrontation, the CHR blames the protesters and armors the PNP for violating laws on the conduct of police officers during demonstrations which state that they are barred from bearing firearms and must exercise maximum tolerance,” the group said in a statement.

The KMP said the CHR practically absolved the police from its “grave crimes” against the protesting hungry farmers.
In its 46-page report, the CHR detailed the series of events that led to the violent dispersal of at least 3,000 drought-hit farmers who were asking the government for rice and other food supplies along the Kidapawan-Davao Highway.
The report found that excessive force was used by the Philippine National Police against the farmers contrary to protocols prescribed in the police operations manual, and that it was the first to fire the shot.
On the other hand, the CHR said it also found evidence that a number of the protesters had been “induced to join the protest action through deceit by the organizers and ‘unknown persons.’”
The militant Anakpawis party-list group also expressed its resentment over the CHR resolution, describing it as “narrow and wrongly premised on the assumption that the hunger due to extreme drought was only contained in North Cotabato.”
“It is detached from reality that agriculture across the country already lost P5 billion since February 2015, that clearly establishes that farmers have lost sources of livelihood and income, hence, they have no means to secure their food needs,” Anakpawis Rep. Fernando Hicap said in a statement.
“The report did not even bother to recommend the immediate dropping of direct assault charges against the obviously incapable three pregnant farmers and six elderly” among them, Anakpawis said.
The group identified them as Arlene Candiban, six months pregnant; Eliza Candiban, five months pregnant; Rolinda Paonil, two months pregnant; Dionisio Alagos, 60 years old; Gerardo Pequero, 66; Crisanto Carlum, 72; Jovita Debalid, 68; Lolita Porras, 65, and Valentina Berden, 78.

Read more: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/789108/farmers-groups-denounce-chrs-kidapawan-report#ixzz4AeiXfo00
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World Food Day 2015

On the occasion of the 70th year of the United Nations-declared World Food Day today, the peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) described as a “total failure” the Aquino government’s food-security program and dared presidential bets to solve the lingering hunger in the country.

 

KMP chair Rafael Mariano said “Aquino’s importation-dependent food security program is a total failure.”

 

“Instead of strengthening local food production through genuine land reform and support to production, Aquino and the Department of Agriculture has mainly relied from food importation coupled with the shameless plunder of funds supposedly intended for farmers,” Mariano said.

 

Worst, Mariano said, “Aquino’s land-use conversion policy devoted tens of thousands of agricultural lands for exports-crop production, commercial, residential, and eco-tourism purposes.”

 

The KMP said that “the Filipino people are yet to hear from presidential wannabes their platform on the persistent poverty and hunger in the country.”

 

“The worsening hunger and poverty is a litmus test to all presidential aspirants. We challenge them to do away with the government’s subservience to neoliberal dictates of the World Trade Organization’s Agreement on Agriculture, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, and the likes, that resulted to the flooding of imported agricultural in our local market, the devastation of our agriculture, and the massive displacement of our farmers,” Mariano said.

 

In the Philippines, at least 66 million people go hungry despite surveys that the hunger incidence was the lowest in the last 10 years. “The government callously declared that a person who has P52 to spend every day is not poor and hungry,” says Mariano.

 

“The prices of food and rice doubled under the Aquino administration. On the average, a kilo of well-milled rice costs P42, which is unaffordable for many of our poor kababayans. High cost of food and rice further deprived our people of access to food,” Mariano concluded. ###

Hundreds of farmers from Bulacan and Bohol led by Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) rally the gates of Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) today for the failure to act over the worsening cases of harassment and killings caused by private armies and military in peasant communities.

 

“We are appalled by the negligence and impunity the DILG and the DAR perpetuates in the militarization of farm lands,” says KMP secretary general Antonio Flores noting that even farmer-beneficiaries under what the group described as ‘bogus’ Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), like Roger Vargas, and his wife Lucila, were killed due to a land dispute in San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan.

 

Directly under DILG, both the municipal and provincial offices of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Bulacan have failed to determine the so-called interested party that hired the security guards which had a heated argument with slain couple a day before their brutal murder.

 

On the other hand, Bohol farmers protested the increased militarization of farmlands in the town of Trinidad as shown in the construction of military camp of the 2nd Special Forces Battalion of the Philippine Army in the more than 600-hectare land covered by CARP.

 

“Ironically, government agencies that are supposed to protect its people are the ones attacking us.  The attempts to shut down our Sitio Panaghiusa Rice Mill located in an agrarian reform area in Barangay San Vicente, in the Municipality of Trinidad, Bohol have been ceaseless.  DILG together with governor Edgardo Chato have been instrumental in the illegal encroachment of the military camp responsible for numerous cases of harassments against the rice mill beneficiaries,” says Hugpong sa Mag-uumang Bol-anon (HUMABOL) chairperson Danilo Olayvar.

 

A reported incident last July 22, 2014 in which 40 elements of the military led by provincial agriculture officer Liza Quirog barged into the rice mill warehouse. The armed troops surrounded the rice mill while Quirog along with armed military personnel, without permission, entered the warehouse and intimidated the resident staff.

 

Farmers from Bohol belonging to the Trinidad–Talibon Integrated Farmers Association (TTFA) and rice farmers of Ubay, Trinidad, Talibon, San Miguel, Mabini and Dagohoy are facing grave threats from the Bohol local government, various agencies and state armed forces as they are being coerced to close down the the 300-square meter Sitio Panaghiusa Rice Mill and Warehouse, a medium-scale milling and marketing facility  Barangay San Vicente operated by TTFA which provide services and assistance to farmers in at least 30 villages.

 

An International Fact-Finding Mission in Trinidad, Bohol last September 20-22 revealed that the illegal encroachment of a military camp in agrarian reform areas continuously threatens the lives of local farmers in Trinidad and nearby municipalities. Harassment against farmers are carried out through the Countrywide Development Program-Purok Power Movement (CDP-PPM), initiated by the Bohol LGU with the active participation of the AFP’s 2nd Special Forces Battalion.

 

“We are seeing a general trend of intensifying brutal attacks across the country as peasant leaders, indigenous peoples, and civilians have become open targets of Aquino’s Oplan Bayanihan,” says KMP secretary general Antonio Flores.

 

Tanggol Magsasaka have accounted more than 200 extra judicial killings of peasants and indigenous peoples and 723 cases of incarceration on fabricated charges under Aquino’s reign.

 

“Oplan Bayahinhan, in it’s final wave of wreaking havoc in rural communites, have resorted to targeting civilians and leaders of people’s organizations.  The president’s last days in  office is being characterized by brutal killings and political attacks of farmers. We demand Aquino to immediately put a stop to his Oplan Bayanihan,” Flores said.

 

“This culture of impunity and inaction affirms that the Aquino government is a landlord regime with no interest of helping the predicament of farmers. In fact, it is Aquino’s counter-insurgency program that is responsible for more than 160 extrajudicial killings of peasants, incarcerated hundreds for trumped-up charges and harassed thousands from the rural areas. Farmers of Bulacan and Bohol have been struggling for decades to defend their rights to land. We demand the immediate pull out of all private armies and military troops in peasant communities,” ended Flores. #

READ FULL ARTICLE : http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/707735/farmers-say-p-noy-gets-zero-on-land-reform

Stop political killings vs. farmers; justice for the victims of Paquibato Massacre

The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) today picketed in front of Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City to condemn the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for the Paquibato Massacre in Davao City and the state’s militarization campaign that victimizes civilians, mostly farmers and indigenous peoples.

KMP holds accountable the Aquino administration for more than 150 cases of extrajudicial killings of peasant leaders, farmers and indigenous peoples in the country. “Farmers are easy targets of the regime’s intense militarization and counter-insurgency campaign that claimed the lives of hundreds of civilians and continue to sow terror and violence among peasant communities in the countryside,” said KMP secretary-general Antonio Flores.

From July 2010 to March 2015, under Aquino’s watch, 145 farmers became victims of summary executions perpetrated by government forces, particularly the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

The latest victims were tribal leader Datu Ruben Enlog, 54 years old, Chairman of the Nagkahiusang Lumad sa Paquibato (Nagkalupa), local village leader Randy Carnasa, 49 and Oligario Quimbo, 41, a member of Paquibato District Peasants Alliance (PADIPA).

They were massacred last June 14 in Purok 7, Barangay Paradise Embac in Paquibato District, Davao City by state security forces belonging to the Philippine Army’s 69th Infantry Battalion.

Still unaccounted for and missing as of today are local farmer leader Aida Siesa and her husband Henry. Siesa is the spokesperson of PADIPA and the Secretary-General of KMP in Southern Mindanao Region.

According to initial reports gathered by human rights group KARAPATAN, men in full military uniform, wearing bonnets, without nameplates and armed with high powered guns attacked Purok 7, Barangay Paradise Embac, a residential community, and strafed Siesa’s house at past midnight on Sunday. The strafing incident lasted for 30 minutes. The armed men kept on firing even if the residents shouted that they are civilians and minors are inside the house.

The Paquibato massacre is believed to be in retaliation to a fact-finding mission led by local farmers and Lumads.

It was known that on June 10 to 12, KMP-SMR and PADIPA led a fact-finding and humanitarian mission to investigate the aerial bombings and series of human rights violations in Sitio Quimotod, Barangay Fatima, Paquibato District, Davao City as result of the military encampment of the 69th Infantry Battalion Philippine Army (IBPA) in the civilian communities. The team conducted medical and psycho-social intervention for the distressed children and on-site investigation, respectively.

The mission’s initial report revealed that military-grade bombs were dropped on farmsteads based on shrapnels and ammunition cartridges retrieved from the area, damaged plants like bananas, coconuts, and durians, and bullet holes on the roofs and walls of houses, were all confirmed and documented. The incidents were perpetrated by the 69th IBPA.

Enlog, Carnasa and Siesa were previously vilified and harassed by the military. Siesa is facing trumped-up charges while leaders and members of the PADIPA are accused of being a members of the New People’s Army (NPA).

“We demand the immediate pull-out of the 69th IB in Paquibato District and to stop the human rights abuses against peasant farmers and peasant leaders,” said Flores adding that “the AFP and the government should be held responsible for the unending list of farmers killed under the Aquino administration.”

Livestreaming will be available here on the launching of the Philippine Land Reform Movement on May 28, 2015, 9 AM-4 PM (Philippine Standard Time)

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Bicol coco farmers “takes over” Legaspi Oil Mill, ST contingent picket PCA, Mendiola

Small coconut farmers from Southern Luzon led by the claimants’ movement Coco Levy Funds Ibalik sa Amin (CLAIM) and the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) today staged coordinated protests against President Aquino’s Executive Orders 179 and 180 that seeks to privatize the coco levy funds and assets.

The Southern Tagalog contingent led by the Katipunan ng mga Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan (Kasama-TK) picketed the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) and trooped to Mendiola Bridge.

Coordinated protests in Bicol, on the other hand, were led by CLAIM-Bicol and the Bicol Coconut Planters Association Inc. (BCPAI) and staged a symbolic take-over of the Legazpi Oil Mills and picketed the PCA in Legaspi City, in Albay.

In Camarines Sur farmers held a protest at the United Coconut Planters Bank and PCA in Naga City, while Masbate coconut farmers also staged protest actions at the local PCA.

The peasant groups strongly opposed Aquino’s recently issued Executive Orders 179 and 180 directing the “transfer and reconveyance to the government and the subsequent privatization of all coco levy funds and assets” including but not limited to shares of stock in San Miguel Corporation (SMC), the Coconut Industry Investment Fund (CIIF) Oil Mills, CIIF Holding Companies, the UCPB.

CLAIM national coordinator Nestor Villanueva said “small coconut farmers are fed up of Aquino’s plunder and deception. Aquino’s privatization and auction of the UCPB, CIIF Oil Mills, and other coco levy funded assets are an outright denial and deprivation of our just and legitimate claim over the coco levy funds.” “Our protest seeks to send a strong political message to Aquino that the CIIF-Oil Mills and the UCPB are not for sale,” Villanueva said adding that Aquino must also return small coconut farmers’ money amounting to an estimated P80 billion recovered from SMC that is now in the Bureau of Treasury. 72.2 percent of the UCPB was purchased by the government using coco levy funds while CIIF Oil Mills were also established using the small coconut farmers’ money.

“The coco levy funds and assets are owned by small coconut farmers and not by the government. We demand Aquino to withdraw his plunderous executive orders and give back our money,” Villanueva said.

CLAIM-Bicol coordinator Bert Autor said that “Aquino’s executive orders are obviously designed to once again plunder the coco levy funds.” “Aquino is racing against time. He wants to plunder the coco levy fund before the Filipino people forces him to resign or even before he steps down in 2016,” Autor said.

Autor warned that Aquino’s tremendous desire to plunder small coconut farmers’ money would hasten his imminent downfall.

KMP chair Rafael Mariano said Executive Orders 179 and 180 clearly demonstrate “the height of the President’s greed.” “EO 179 and 180 shows the haciendero President’s insatiable greed and penchant against farmers and proves that he cannot be trusted by small coconut farmers,” Mariano said.

He said “EO 179 and 180 strengthened state control over the funds by declaring that all coco levy funds belong to the government which did not contribute a single cent to the funds.”

“Aquino deceived, deprived, and denied small coconut farmers of their just and legitimate claim over hundreds of billions of pesos worth of coco levy fund and assets. Aquino’s ouster from power is in order,” the peasant said. The KMP and CLAIM insist that “the oil mills, the UCPB, and the SMC shares are owned by small coconut farmers” and that “Aquino has no legal and moral authority to sell these coco levy funded corporations and assets.”

“It is therefore just and legitimate to escalate direct actions to reclaim the coco levy funds and assets and thwart Aquino’s attempt to plunder the funds anew,” the KMP and CLAIM said.

Ang Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) ay demokratiko at militanteng kilusan ng mga magsasaka, manggagawang bukid, kababaihang magsasaka at kabataang magbubukid. Ito ay may animnapu’t limang panlalawigang balangay (65 provincial chapters) sa labinlimang panrehiyong balangay (15 regional chapters) na binubuo ng mahigit dalawang milyong kasapian mula sa Luzon, Visayas at Mindanao.

Militant farmers’ group, Danggayan Dagiti Mannalon ti Cagayan Valley-KMP (Danggayan-CV), its local chapter AMARI-DAGAMI and Anakpawis–Isabela condemns in strongest possible terms the brutal killing of Virgilio Leotorco, a farm worker who was gunned down in the evening of March 16, 2015 while he was catching frogs for dinner at the irrigation canal of Brgy. Matusalem, Roxas, Isabela.

Leotorco was shot three times at close range by armed men using a .45-caliber pistol. The 56-year old Leotorco is an active member of AMARI-DAGAMI and a Kalinga migrant who has built his humble abode in Brgy. Matusalem which is part of the Mallig Plains Reservation, a proclaimed resettlement site. “This resettlement site, currently possessed, occupied and already being developed by many homeless and landless settlers as well as former and current employees and teachers of ISU-Roxas, is being falsely claimed by the Isabela State University-Roxas”, says Bino Abrogena, chairperson of Danggayan-CV.

“The land dispute became increasingly violent as the ISU-Roxas, an academic institution which should be a bastion of human rights advocacy, resorted to illegal demolition and burning of hundreds of houses, shooting of residents, indiscriminate firing of guns, destruction of plants, housing materials and house perimeter walls as well as verbal assaults, threats and intimidation by its security personnel,” added Abrogena.

“These barbaric acts were capped by the successive killings of Ben Chinangan and Junior Ponce in 2013, other attempted killings of witnesses and the abduction of Romulo dela Cruz last year, in the place already touted as the “university killing fields”, said Vic Feliciano of AMARI-DAGAMI.

ISU-Roxas security guards have escalated harassment, threats and indiscriminate firing of guns in recent months after a deadlock in negotiations regarding the land dispute.

Soldiers of the 5th Infantry Division AFP also entered the community, violating the International Humanitarian Law and conducted a public forum at the community school.

DENR Region II refused to recognize the land rights of the settlers and wrongly favored ISU-Roxas while the LGU turned a blind eye to the increasing violence in the area.

The militant farmers’ groups alleged that Leotorco’s killing was done to terrorize the poor settlers and force them to give up their home sites and leave the area. Days before Leotorco’s killing, security guards have been threatening settlers who were constructing houses or improving their dwellings.

Last February 20, peasant leader Junior Cureg’s house was partially burned and when he was repairing it, five security guards arrived and tried to stop him. Edmundo Calanday was also ordered by ISU security guards to stop constructing his house. Coming from a drinking spree at the house of ISU security guard Carding Corpuz’ son, a man wearing a bonnet, was seen with three other men destroying Calanday’s hollow blocks last March 5. The house fence of Vilma Buang was also destroyed last March 15. A day after Leotorco’s killing, Corpuz was seen brandishing an armalite rifle while making his rounds around the settlers’ houses.

Farmers, agricultural workers and other sectors held a protest march during the burial of Virgilio Leotorco on March 22 from Brgy. Matusalem towards the town center of Roxas to demand justice and condemn the brutal kiling. Farmers slammed the incapacity of the LGU to protect its constituents and the inaction of the DENR in solving the land conflict.

The ISU settlers said that the hardships they endure in barely making a living as farmworkers, vendors, laundrywomen and laborers, are compounded by the continuing harassment at the hands of security guards and armed goons of the ISU-Roxas. “We assert our call that the Mallig Plains resettlement site should be distributed immediately to poor landless and homeless settlers.

“Isabela State University should develop the lands that it truly owns but are now used for the personal benefit of some of its employees. It should stop encroaching on the resettlement site awarded to poor settlers. We demand justice for Virgilio Leotorco and all other victims of human rights abuses. We hold the Isabela State University, the DENR, the LGU, the Aquino regime and its Oplan Bayanihan program accountable for these atrocities,” Abrogena said.

“The Aquino government failed to respond to these poor settlers’ plight despite their petitions sent to Malacanang years ago. Instead, it favored the interest of hacienderos, institutional land grabbers and their business partners,” said DAGAMI peasant leader Reynaldo Gameng, “But we are determined to fight for our rights to land and justice,” added Gameng.

“We call on President Aquino to resign for utterly failing to protect the human rights of farmers and settlers and solve the brewing land problems in the countryside through genuine agrarian reform,” Gameng ended. ###

Ang Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) ay demokratiko at militanteng kilusan ng mga magsasaka, manggagawang bukid, kababaihang magsasaka at kabataang magbubukid. Ito ay may animnapu’t limang panlalawigang balangay (65 provincial chapters) sa labinlimang panrehiyong balangay (15 regional chapters) na binubuo ng mahigit dalawang milyong kasapian mula sa Luzon, Visayas at Mindanao.

Farmers and indigenous peoples protest outside President Benigno Aquino III’s house in Times St., Quezon City. Photo contributed by Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA).
Farmers and indigenous peoples protest outside President Benigno Aquino III’s house in Times St., Quezon City. Photo contributed by Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA).
Farmers and indigenous peoples protest outside President Benigno Aquino III’s house in Times St., Quezon City. Photo contributed by Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA).

KMP condemns Palace for illegal arrest of its Secretary General;
PDI – Palace slams KMP over violent protest at Aquino residence

Read more: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/653699/palace-slams-kmp-over-violent-protest-at-aquino-residence

Ang Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) ay demokratiko at militanteng kilusan ng mga magsasaka, manggagawang bukid, kababaihang magsasaka at kabataang magbubukid. Ito ay may animnapu’t limang panlalawigang balangay (65 provincial chapters) sa labinlimang panrehiyong balangay (15 regional chapters) na binubuo ng mahigit dalawang milyong kasapian mula sa Luzon, Visayas at Mindanao.

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MANILA, Philippines – Activists who protested outside President Aquino’s home late last month filed a complaint against the Quezon City police personnel who allegedly used excessive violence to disperse them.

Thirteen of the “Manilakbayan ng Mindanao” protesters went to the Commission of Human Rights (CHR) on Friday to file a complaint against the Masambong police station commander, Supt. Pedro Sanchez and some 16 fellow Quezon City policemen.

Read more: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/657548/group-files-rights-violation-case-vs-qc-cops-over-melee-outside-aquino-home#ixzz3MCtFK7WJ

Ang Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) ay demokratiko at militanteng kilusan ng mga magsasaka, manggagawang bukid, kababaihang magsasaka at kabataang magbubukid. Ito ay may animnapu’t limang panlalawigang balangay (65 provincial chapters) sa labinlimang panrehiyong balangay (15 regional chapters) na binubuo ng mahigit dalawang milyong kasapian mula sa Luzon, Visayas at Mindanao.