Press Release | October 21, 2017
Reference: Cristina Palabay, Secretary General, +63917-3162831
Karapatan Public Information Desk, +63918-9790580
Killing of peasants continue under Duterte regime – Karapatan
“There is not only the massacre of urban poor communities in the cities, but there is also the systematic killing of farmers in the countryside. With Duterte’s counterinsurgency program Oplan Kapayapaan wreaking havoc in rural areas, farmers and local peasant organizations have bore the brunt of incessant attacks perpetrated by State security forces. Labeling peasant communities and their leaders as ‘enemies of the State’, the Duterte regime has copied from the same handbook that his predecessors have used as a guide to repress people’s struggles,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay on the ongoing attacks against peasant communities.
As of September 30, 2017, Karapatan has documented 98 victims of political killings, 91 of them are peasants. Many of those killed belong to local farmers’ organizations which have stood firm in asserting their rights, as well as leading campaigns against the militarization of their communities. Perpetrators of killings include soldiers, police personnel, paramilitary groups and private armies of landlords. (List of peasants killed under Duterte is available upon request through firstname.lastname@example.org)
“This is not a new trend. Because Duterte is a mere rusty, old, and rambling replica of past regimes, his policies have yielded the same results, albeit with increasing frequency and brutality. Like in the Arroyo and the Aquino regimes, farmers compose the majority of those killed. From January 2001-June 2010, 603 farmers were killed during the Arroyo presidency, while Aquino’s record have resulted to the killing of 270 peasants,” Palabay further said.
She added that “with the removal of Rafael “Ka Paeng” Mariano as DAR Secretary, previous department initiatives in favor of farmers were overturned. Duterte and his friends, composed of landlords and businessmen, have resumed business as usual, as land conversions, land grabbing and other similar affronts to deny farmers of their land continue.”
Karapatan’s secretary general also enjoined individuals to support the Pambansang Lakbayan ng Magsasaka para sa Lupa at Laban sa Pasismo, a nine-day protest caravan of farmers and fishermen from different parts of the country led by the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP). The caravan, which has already started on October 15 and will culminate on October 25, sought to amplify the call for genuine land reform, and to demand an end to State fascism.
“This regime, like all the previous regimes who have cowered under the demands of bureaucrat capitalists and imperialist nations, have missed the point of resolving the struggle of peasants. The call is clear and simple: genuine agrarian reform. However, fascist minds muddled in profit cannot seem to comprehend this very basic equation. Instead, they bring out their guns, bombs, and all weapons available in the government’s arsenal to kill those who seek to own the land they till, to target those who call for genuine agrarian reform, and to silence dissent that voice out the intensifying State fascism in peasant communities,” concluded Palabay.
PUBLIC INFORMATION DESK
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KARAPATAN is an alliance of human rights organizations and programs, human rights desks and committees of people’s organizations, and individual advocates committed to the defense and promotion of people’s rights and civil liberties. It monitors and documents cases of human rights violations, assists and defends victims and conducts education, training and campaign.