‘Dugo sa patubig’
The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas strongly condemned the appointment of former AFP Chief Ricardo Visaya as the administrator of the embattled National Irrigation Administration (NIA). “Visaya’s appointment as NIA chief is a grave insult and affront to farmers. Visaya has a long list of crimes against the peasant masses. We will counter his appointment,” said KMP chairperson Joseph Canlas.
“NIA is a civilian agency mandated to provide irrigation services to farmers and agricultural producers to help ensure food security and rice self-sufficiency. Why appoint a retired general, a human rights violator, more so, a much-reviled former AFP Chief to NIA’s top post?” asked Canlas, noting that ‘Visaya is more likely to pour blood instead of water into farmlands and irrigation canals.’
“We are demanding free irrigation, not a free reign for Visayas to continuously abuse farmers’ rights,” the KMP leader said.
Visaya was the ground commander of the 69th Infantry Batallion Philippine army during the 2004 Hacienda Luisita Massacre that killed seven farmworkers in the disputed Cojuangco-Aquino landholdings. Visaya, a trusted protege of Gen. Jovito Palparan, is also accountable for the abduction and torture of brothers Raymond and Reynaldo Manalo, the disappearance of UP students Karen Empeno and Sherlyn Cadapan, and the militarization of urban poor communities during Arroyo’s Oplan Bantay Laya.
In Mindanao, Visaya served as the commander of the Philippine Army’s 4th Infantry Division, the notorious military unit responsible for killing and forcible evacuation of farmers and Lumad and their communities in CARAGA and Northern Mindanao regions.
During the start of Oplan Bayanihan under the previous Aquino administration, the Philippine Army’s 69th Infantry Battalion which was personally trained and handled by Visaya was deployed to Davao City where it unleashed terror upon the civilian population. In 2015, the same army unit was responsible for the strafing of the home of KMP leader Aida Seisa in Davao’s Paquibato district and killing three people, including a tribal datu.
“Visaya is a legit Jovito Palparan clone. He is responsible for numerous killings of peasant and Lumad leaders, human rights abuses and military atrocities in peasant communities,” the KMP leader said.
The farmers group will protest Visaya’s appointment and Duterte’s persisting political accommodation to the retired army general. ###