About 50 farmers from the nationwide group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP, Peasant Movement of the Philippines), Alyansa ng Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita (AMBALA), Danggayan dagiti Mannalon ti Cagayan Valley (DANGGAYAN-CV, KMP Cagayan Valley) and Tanggol Magsasaka condemned the continuing extra-judicial killings against peasants, as well as the counter-insurgency program of president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino Oplan Bayanihan and protested in front of Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City. They were also joined by leaders of Pamalakaya-Pilipinas, Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura, Amihan peasant federation, Anakpawis Partylist and NNARA-Youth.
“The injustice of Mendiola Massacre is now at its 24th year and yet extra-judicial killings against peasants continue. Imagine we are ruled by presidents, mother and son who tolerate these gruesome acts against us who struggle for our rights to land,” said Antonio Flores, KMP Spokesperson and Tanggol Magsasaka Co-convenor.
“Aquino’s Oplan Bayanihan is hypocritical as it is a bastardation of the true meaning of our country’s valued tradition. Aquino’s Bayanihan is out to destroy that tradition, wreaking havoc among peasants and displacing us from our farms,” Flores said.
The groups also condemned the continuing extra-judicial killing, the latest victim was Oyi Villarosa, a peasant leader of Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luson (AMGL, KMP Central Luzon) in Sta. Rosa, Nueva Ecija. Villarosa was killed last January 2 by motorcycle-riding men.
“Oplan Bayanihan is nothing but a continuation and mutation of Oplan Bantay Laya, its primary objective is to repress people’s movement such as ours, to dampen our struggle for genuine land reform and protect the interest of big landlords, compradors and foreign monopoly. This strategy based no other than from the US Counterinsurgency Guide of 2009 is doomed to fail as we would never be cowed nor deceived by measures,” Flores added.
The groups also scored Aquino’s governance in 2010 as his administration tolled 13 peasant victims of extra-judicial killings, 2 of enforced disappearances and 5 for political persecution or accusations of fabricated charges. They are calling for justice for Pascual Guevarra, the first EJK victim, killed on July 9, Villarosa, Ireneo Rodriguez of SAMBAT (KMP Batangas) killed on November 9 and other victims from Rizal, Masbate, Davao City and Compostela Valley.
They are also demanding the immediate release of Dario Tomada, former peasant leader of SAGUPA - SB (KMP Eastern Visayas), Darwin Liwag of PUMALAG (KMP Laguna), Esmeraldo Bardon of KMP Camarines Norte, Felicidad Caparal of UMA and other political prisoners across the country.
“The reality is the exact opposite of what Aquino is promising the country. His talk are all crap and we are killed or imprisoned one by one. The people should learn that Aquino ran for president to protect his family’s interest in Hacienda Luisita, as well as other hacienderos controlling vast lands in different parts of the country. He is no agent of reform, he is to preserve feudal control or their monopoly over lands, he is anti-peasant, anti-people,” added Flores.
The group said that the Aquino government is already positioning its military for an all-out onslaught against the peasants as farmer groups from different areas reported setting up of detachments. Farmers from Bgy. San Rafael in Rodriguez, Rizal reported that 2 American soldiers joined a military operation climbing the mountain of Parawagan. In Bgy. Tungkong Mangga, San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan, elements of the PNP Provincial Mobile Group began training exercises on Araneta-controlled lands but their operations covered the lands of local farmers. There is also a sudden increase in numbers of military detachments in Eastern Visayan provinces. In Mindanao, the military continues it destructive operations at Paquibato District, Davao City, as well as in Marihatag town, Surigao del Sur.
“Aquino is replicating his mother’s legacy of total war. He is dumb not to learn from history as his mother’s rule resulted gross human rights violations as product of massive militarization, killing of activists, deployment of para-military groups and low intensity conflict,” Flores said.
The groups mocked Aquino playing toy soldiers and as protest burned symbols of Oplan Bayanihan. KMP said that they would intensify their protest on January 21 to commemorate Mendiola Massacre and condemn the 24 years of injustice for the victims. #