Press Release 
November 11, 2017

Reference:  Cristina Palabay, Secretary General, 0917-3162831
                        Karapatan Public Information Desk, 0918-979058

Peasant killings continue due to US-directed counter-insurgency program in PH

“Two more killings add to the increasing number of peasant killings in the country. Amid the masquerade happening in Manila due to the 2017 ASEAN Summit and US President Donald Trump’s visit, marginalized communities continue to be targeted by the guns, policies, and agreements put forward by these powerful, militarist, ruthless, and greedy imperialists. This is the real situation on the ground – a truth that will haunt these heads of States despite their ornamented rhetoric of development, progress, and security,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay.

On November 8, 2017, Webby Argabio, 51, a member of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) in Negros, was gunned down at around 5pm by suspected military agents. Argabio was on his way home from attending the KMP Southern Negros Assembly in Kabankalan, Negros Occidental. 

Also in Boston, Davao Oriental, Arnel Otacan, 33, a member of the local peasant organization Nigkasinabot Koy Mag-umma Tu Boston (NIGKUMB), was shot by suspected elements of the 67th Infantry Battalion – Philippine Army (IBPA) last October 28, 2017. Otacan failed to come home on the night of the 28th, his body eventually found at a crossing in Brgy. Cabasagan, Boston the following day. The victim sustained 7 gunshot wounds and his knees and arms were broken.
Otacan, according to his wife, was interrogated by military intelligence agents twice before he was killed – on July 15 and July 31, 2017.  Furthermore, Otacan’s wife heard reports that the military is out to kill their entire family. This prompted her and their 6 children to temporarily leave their home for safety.

The illegal arrests are also escalating, alongside the killings. On November 10, 2017, another local leader of a peasant organization was illegally arrested by  elements of the 87th IBPA. Carlito Badillo, leader of Tag-alag Farmers and Fisherfolk Association was abducted in front of a school in Tag-alag, Marabut, Western Samar, after sending his children to school at around 7am. The 87th IBPA, in a radio outfit, admitted that they have Badillo in their custody.

Palabay added that “with the implementation of Oplan Kapayapaan, Duterte’s counterinsurgency program which is largely patterned after the US counterinsurgency guide of 2009, and still receiving funds from US military foreign assistance, the role of the US in the continuing and intensifying rights violations in the country is evident. Yet, the Duterte regime is choosing to welcome Trump and other imperialist nations with open arms, unapologetically complicit of their plundering and murderous schemes that have gravely affected Filipinos.”

“Like past presidents, Duterte is quick to sell the Philippines to imperialist nations, ignoring the clamor for national industrialization and free land distribution that could build and strengthen our national economy. The Duterte regime has also surrendered our sovereignty, cowering under the territorial, political and economic demands of these imperialists. Such a leadership is a disservice to the Filipino people, a disservice to the many peasants killed who have long fought for genuine land reform. As long as the Philippines continues its subservient relationship with imperialists, it can never move towards a society that works for the welfare of the majority,” Palabay concluded.