URGENT STATEMENT AND ADVISORY ON THE ATTACKS AGAINST FARMERS |November 15, 2017
Karapatan condemns the illegal arrest and detention of Florida “Ka Pong” Sibayan, chairperson of the Alyansa ng mga Manggagawang Bukid sa Hacienda Luisita, and the harassment of nine members of the Asian Peasant Coalition at the Opol Police Station in Misamis Oriental today, November 15, 2017. Karapatan also raises concerns on the abduction of two farmers in Isabela, who have been incommunicado to their families since November 13.
Sibayan was abducted while AMBALA and other progressive groups were holding a protest action this morning, serving a symbolic “eviction notice” against the Rizal Commercial and Banking Corporation occupying 500 hectares at the Hacienda Luisita. According to AMBALA,they served the “eviction order” as the new Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) leadership is preparing to reverse the revocation order issued by former secretary Rafael Mariano on February 23, 2017 nullifying the land conversion deal between RCBC and the Cojuangco-Aquino family.
The mass action was also conducted a day before the 13th anniversary of the Hacienda Luisita Massacre. Members of the PNP Tarlac headed by Major Razalan abducted Sibayan, while police threw rocks at the protesters. Sibayan faced inquest proceedings later this afternoon for trumped up charges of direct assault, according to the Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura.
Meanwhile, nine members of the APC from Indonesia, Cambodia and Thailand participating in the organization’s Farmer-to-Farmer Exchange are currently being held at the police station in Misamis Oriental, according to the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas.
Since November 13, Isabela-based farmers Oliver Molina and his cousin Robert Dalupang have been missing. On that day, their relatives said, the two went to tend to their farms in the mountainous area of Brgy. Diasan, Echangue. According to their families, footprints of what seems to be combat boots were seen in the area where the two went. On November 14, their relatives saw soldiers of the 86th Infantry Battalion-Philippine Army in the said area and asked them if they saw Molina and Dalupang. Soldiers denied seeing the two. As of this writing, both farmers remain missing.
Such relentless attacks against peasants show the fascist fangs of the Duterte regime, which, like the haciendero BS Aquino III government, exhibits contempt for the farmers’ legitimate struggle for free land distribution and genuine agrarian reform.
Reference: Cristina Palabay, Secretary General, +63917-3162831
Karapatan Public Information Desk, +63918-9790580
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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.