January 19, 2018

Killings intensified during Martial Law in Mindanao
No justice for 109 farmers killed under Duterte

Peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) today trooped to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Headquarters to assail the mercenary AFP and its paramilitary auxiliaries that are responsible for the killing of over a hundred farmers, peasant women, fisherfolks, agricultural workers and indigenous peoples. “These killings are state-sanctioned and carried out under the government’s Oplan Kapayapaan counter-insurgency program.”
An estimate of 126 politically-motivated extrajudicial killings across the country were documented by human rights group KARAPATAN from July 2016 to December 31, 2017 under the Duterte regime. 106 of the victims are male and 20 are female.
Out of the 126 EJK victims, 109 are farmers. “These killings were perpetrated by the AFP, PNP and their masked assassins,” says Antonio Flores, secretary general of KMP.
“Majority of the killings happened during Martial Law in Mindanao and are linked to agrarian cases and land disputes. Those killed were defending their farms and ancestral lands from landgrabbers, large-scale mining companies, big business and plantations. Those killed were resisting the wanton militarization and human rights violations in rural areas,” the KMP leader said.
The 126 extra-judicial killing cases under Duterte showed the following trend:
·         Out of the 126 victims, 109 are farmers
·         Out of the 126 victims, 106 are male and 20 are female
·         Majority of the cases happened under Martial Law in Mindanao
·         Majority of the victims are farmers who are active in local peasant organizations affiliated with Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas
·         The victims were brutally killed;
·         Many of the victims were either killed inside or near their homes and/or killed in the presence of their family members;
·         Many of the victims died in strafing or indiscriminate firing incidents;
·         Several victims were couples, family members and related to each other;
·         Majority of the victims were tagged as members of the New People’s Army;
·         The killings were related to agrarian cases and land issues;
·         The suspects were masked assassins riding motorcycles; and
·         The suspected perpetrators are military elements and intelligence agents of active Philippine Army Battalions deployed in areas where the killings took place;
“We demand justice for all the victims of political killings. Human rights violations continue as sanctioned by AFP Commander-in-Chief, Rodrigo Duterte himself. We hold Duterte, DND Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, AFP Chief Rey Leonardo Guerrero and Philippine Army Commanding General Rolando Bautista responsible for the hundreds of deaths,” KMP’s Flores said. 
Cases of arrests and detention also on the rise
KMP said next to killings, illegal arrest and detention was among the top trending human rights violations.
Farmers, mostly members of progressive peasant organizations in their areas, are unjustly arrested on the mere suspicion that they are supporters or members of the New People’s Army (NPA).
The rising incidents of illegal and warrantless arrests exhibit the Duterte regime’s barbaric disregard of human rights, civil and political liberties.
Since July last year, almost a thousand individuals were illegally arrested without detention while 220 individuals were arrested and detained. Majority of those detained were slapped with fabricated charges of illegal possession of explosives and ammunition, murder, frustrated murder and other non-bailable criminal cases after they were implicated by state forces to the NPA’s military actions.
This January, four farmers were abducted by suspected military elements in separate incidents in North Cotabato and Davao Oriental. Intense militarization also targeting farmers continue in rural areas in Mindanao and Luzon. Among the documented incidents are the following:
Farmers Filjun Celeste Arpajo, 30 and Venjie Catampo, 28, of Purok Mahayahay, Barangay Marayag Lupon, Davao Oriental were forcibly taken by suspected military elements on January 16, 2018 and used as guides.
Last January 9, Jarold Adiaton, 29 and Jane Solis, 26 both residents of Barangay Balite,Magpet North Cotabato and members of Balite Farmers Association (BFA) were forcibly taken by composite agents of 15th and 39th IBPA and Cotabato Provincial and Magpet Municipal police officers inside their house. Meanwhile, Datu Maylan Andas, 59, a resident of Barangay Tempuran Magpet North Cotabato and a member of Manobo Aromanen Pasakkaday Association (MAPA) was also abducted while feeding his chicken on the same day.
Students and teachers of ALCADEV alternative school and nearby indigenous community in Barangay Diatagon, Lianga, Surigao del Sur continue to endure military harassment for more than a week now.
Heightened operations of the the 730th Combat Group of the Philippine Air Force in Calaca and Nasugbu towns in Batangas.
In Quezon province, a fact-finding team in Barangay Jonggo, Lopez town was blocked by the 85th Infantry Batallion, Philippine Army of the 2nd Infantry Division, yesterday January 17. The FFM team were to investigate reports of military encampment and harassment in the community of Barangay Jonggo since January 15.
Day of protest
Farmers have set January 22, the 31st anniversary of Mendiola Massacre, as the Day of Protest against killing of farmers and other anti-people policies implemented by the Duterte regime – the TRAIN tax measure and the Charter Change proposal that will give 100% ownership of alienable and disposable lands to foreign entities. Protest actions will take place in Manila, Batangas, Laguna, Cavite, Quezon, Negros, Bicol, Davao City and other urban centers nationwide.  
“Thirty-one long years after Mendiola Massacre, farmers are still being killed in their defense of the lands. Justice for the slain farmers are long overdue,” Flores concluded. ###
Reference: Antonio Flores, +63921-2726682