Fighting for genuine land reform and welfare of farmers is not a crime

We condemn the continued attacks against farmers, peasant leaders, rural women and children, land reform advocates, environmental activists and human rights defenders.

We do not deserve these attacks ranging from extrajudicial killings, threat, harassment and intimidation, red-tagging, illegal arrests and detention, and trumped-up charges when what we are doing is only just and necessary — to assert genuine land reform and launch struggles to achieve better economic, social and political conditions for farmers.

We are farmers, peasant leaders and land reform advocates and we comprise almost 85 percent of the population. We are not criminals. We are not terrorists. Ang pagsasaka at pagbubungkal ng lupa ay hindi gawaing terorismo. Ang maghangad at kumilos para sa tunay na reporma sa lupa ay hindi krimen. (Farming is not an act of terrorism. Aspring and working to achieve genuine land reform is not a crime.)

In early 2017, KMP has started its nationwide campaign for land cultivation (bungkalan) in haciendas, big landholdings and idle lands across the country. Since then we have covered more than 100,000 hectares of land cultivation in several hundreds of bungkalans launched by farmers and their respective local organizations. We have reaped benefits for tens of thousands of peasant families who have been neglected by the Duterte government and are not receiving much needed social services and support. Through these bungkalans, farmers were able to feed their families and put food on our tables. Through these collective actions, farmers are unleashing their full potential as productive forces and prime movers of the economy.

Madman Duterte wants to destroy these gains. He wants to exterminate farmers who feed the nation. Duterte and his administration is the real criminal and terrorist.

Out of all the victims of state-sponsored human rights violations, farmers are the most numerous. It is a shame that those who toil to produce food for the nation are being killed and suppressed by no less than the government that is supposed to protect and serve its constituents.

We have long before exposed Malacanang, the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines as the primary violators of farmers’ rights and welfare. Madman Duterte is a self-appointed representative of hacienderos, landlords and bourgeoisie compradors in the Philippines. He is protecting the interests of big landholdings, foreign and local plantations, and mining companies that are perennially land grabbing our lands and resources.

As of December 2017, a total of 126 victims of extrajudicial killings (EJKs) killed by suspected state elements and paramilitary have been documented. Of this number, 110 were farmers and peasant leaders. Farmers are also being arrested, detained and charged with fabricated criminal cases. The rural population is severely affected with militarization and its accompanying burden of human rights abuses.

He wants to exterminate farmers who feed the nation. Duterte is the real criminal and terrorist.

EJKs and human rights violations against farmers are happening in the context of a strong peasant mass movement that is triggered by agrarian unrest brought about by land monopolies, land grabbing, corporate takeover of resources, and Duterte’s push for anti-people and neoliberal policies.

Farmers and peasant organizations who are actively engaging in mass struggles to assert genuine land reform, oppose all forms of feudal and rural exploitation, uplift the state of farmers and all those who oppose militarization have become default targets of the Duterte administration’s all-out war.

We are being attacked from all fronts – economic, political and socio-cultural. Our right to life is threatened by the state and its instruments.

We will continue to defend our rights and fight back against all the attacks on our ranks. We are farmers and Filipinos, we are not criminals.

References:
Danilo Ramos, KMP Chairperson
Antonio Flores, KMP Secretary General, 0921-2726682
Rafael Mariano, KMP Chairman Emeritus