Peasants brutally killed 

In a media forum today, peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) belied preposterous claims of the Philippine National Police and Duterte government that there are not extrajudicial killings in the country. The strong demand for justice for all peasant victims of extrajudicial killings would be among the highlight of the Pambansang Lakbayan para sa Lupa at laban sa Pasismo, a national peasant caravan that will take place this month.

As of August, 88 individuals fell victim to politically-motivated extra judicial killings, 81 of whom were all farmers, peasant leaders and land reform advocates. “The peasant victims of extrajudicial killings under the Duterte administration are not mere statistics. They were fathers, mothers and they had families. They were hardworking individuals who were killed because of their staunch upholding of their right to the land,” said Danilo Ramos, chairperson of KMP.

The peasant group assailed the continuing peasant killings and demanded justice for the victims of extrajudicial and political killings. “There are dead bodies everywhere. The stench of death stinks too much, the Duterte regime cannot conceal the dreadful situation of extrajudicial killings and human rights atrocities. We demand justice for all the victims and those responsible will pay dearly.”

Ramos said the trend in peasant killings under Duterte showed that the victims were all subjected to the most heinous atrocities and killed in the most inhumane manner -– killed execution-style by masked riding-in-tandem assassins, killed inside their house and in front of their families, killed in their farms by goons, security guards of landlords and paramilitary, husband-and-wife peasant leaders killed at the same time, leaving behind orphaned children. “All of them were killed because of their staunch advocacy for genuine land reform. They lived and fought for land they till but they were given bullets.”

Early this year, KMP estimated that one farmer is killed every two days. “The killings of peasants never stopped. They are the victims of the government’s all-out war carried out in the countryside — another side of Duterte’s triple war against the people. The deadly trio of Oplan Tokhang, all-out war and Martial Law is destroying and endangering the lives of Filipinos. No one is safe and everybody can be a target,” added Ramos who also noted that the plunge in President Rodrigo Duterte’s satisfaction and trust ratings has everything to do with the policies that he upheld in the past year.

“The dip in Duterte’s ratings is reflective of his growing political isolation from the masses. We will make sure to further expose him for what he really is – an enemy of the people,” Ramos said. The nationwide peasant caravan will make the Duterte regime accountable for the continuing landlessness and poverty of farmers.

“There is no genuine land reform under the Duterte regime. Land monopoly persists and vast tracts of lands remain in the control of a few landed families. Agricultural lands are being converted, further threatening our food security. Tens of thousands of hectares of lands are devoted to foreign-owned plantations. Estimates peg that more than 7 in every 10 farmers nationwide have no land to till.”

October Peasant Caravan for Land

 

Early this year, KMP called on all farmers, agrarian reform beneficiaries and actual land tillers to launch local and national actions to dismantle haciendas, big landholdings and plantations as part of their assertion to the right to the land. These land cultivation activities orBungkalan continue nationwide and has spread in terms of scope and hectarage.

 

Starting October 16, peasant organizations provinces and regions will launch activities nationwide – regional and inter-island peasant caravans, land cultivation activities, barricades and Kadenang Magsasaka, protests actions, fora, mass education and mass information campaigns that will lead to a nationally-coordinated mobilization on October 25 in Mendiola and other major urban centers.

On October 25, tens of thousands of farmers, supported by workers and other sectors and progressive groups will march from DAR Central Office to Mendiola to demand genuine land reform, a stop to political and extrajudicial killings, the lifting of Martial Law and an end to Duterte’s tyrannical rule. ###