Manila, Philippines – Various people’s organizations, led by Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), Unyon ng Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) and Anakpawis Party-list, marked the “National Day of Action against Peasant Killings in Negros and Whole Philippines” by a protest at Mendiola bridge in Manila. This is part of the campaign or series of protests, that included those led by the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines in Sydney, Australia and by the Malaya Movement in Washington DC, US. Negros farmers will also held protests in various areas of Negros island on April 12.
“These protests will lead to the global condemnation of the Duterte regime, as an anti-peasant, anti-Filipino, and sower of state terrorism in the country,” Anakpawis Party-list nominee Rafael “Ka Paeng” said during the protest.
He urged the people to join the call for “#JusticeForNegros14” and “#StopKillingFarmers” as killings of peasants and activists are on the rise, as result of the “authoritarian” and “fascist” policies of the regime.
“SEMPO in Negros is actually ‘synchronized and enhanced murder of peasants’ operation, that in a span of 2 to 3 hours, 14 individuals were killed by the government. It is mass killing of peasants!” the peasant leader said.
KMP said that at least 205 peasants fell victims of extra-judicial killings under Duterte’s watch. Stated on House Resolution 2535 calling for the the scrapping of “Oplan Sauron,” filed by Anakpawis Representative Ariel Casilao, at least 20 peasants were killed by SEMPO in Negros Oriental from December to March, while 28 were filed with trumped up charges. Casilao joined the recent fact-finding mission in Negros Oriental led by KMP and UMA. He said during the #BigasHindiBala candle-lighting protest led by Amihan or National Federation of Peasant Women in Quezon City, that a week before the mass killing, the peasant activists who were killed, aided some local farmers who were in an agrarian dispute.
Casilao called for the scrapping Oplan Sauron as it is sowing state terror in Negros Oriental. It is the police and military internal security plan, adopted from the Memorandum Order 32 issued by Duterte last year, and from the counter-insurgency program Oplan Kapayapaan. Memorandum Order 32 targets activists in Samar, Negros island and Bicol region.
“Now that the truth is being revealed by the families and witnesses, that the victims are summarily executed, Albayalde, Año and Panelo are exposed as the ‘triad of lies,'” Mariano said.
Police chief Oscar Albayalde prematurely concluded that the victims were rebels and that they resisted arrests, resulting to their killings.
“Albayalde’s pronouncements of internal investigation is actually internal cover-up. He is an anomaly of scientific and objective methods of investigation, who concludes prior investigating,” he said.
Casilao and other Makabayan bloc lawmakers earlier demanded Albayalde’s resignation.
“Albayalde is a liability to Duterte, if the president fails to dismiss him, it is an admission that he is the main proponent of mass killings of peasants and activists in the country, and he will bear the snowballing public outrage that already reached the international community,” he dared.
Mariano urged the peasant sectors of Negros, Samar, Mindanao and other provinces whose communities are heavily militarized, to rise up and breakout from state terrorism.
“Respect for human rights and democracy is alien to the Duterte regime, the marginalized sectors are only left with the option to fight for and uphold democracy and justice in the country,” he called. ###