“This is the very reason we set-up our 100-day camp-out, to call for genuine land reform and justice for victims of human rights abuses under the Arroyo government. But Aquino is mute and deaf as he continues to ignore us, worse, we were violently dispersed and killings continue until now,” said Antonio Flores, KMP Spokesperson and Tanggol Magsasaka co-convenor.
“Ka Fernando fought for genuine land reform, justice and democracy since Marcos’ times, a defender of peasant rights, thus, he was targeted by fascist forces of the state and was not spared though he was a member of Aquino’s Liberal Party,” Flores added.
KMP with Katipunan ng mga Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan (KASAMA-TK, KMP Southern Tagalog) and Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luzon (AMGL, KMP Central Luzon) have set-up their 100-day camp-out at Mendiola last June 30 to push President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III to implement genuine land reform and serve justice for victims of human rights abuses. But after 3 days, July 3 about 3:30pm, more than 200 elements of Manila police violently dispersed the farmers and demolished their make-shift shelters. The incident resulted into 11 wounded and 42 farmers and supporters arrested. The groups file complaints at the Commission on Human Rights yesterday morning. They are now staying at the compound of Caritas Manila near Nagtahan.
Tanggol Magsasaka said that KMP has the most number of member-victims of EJK by the Arroyo government reaching to 561 of the 1,190 victims documented by Karapatan human rights group. The group said that EJK victimized 119 KMP leaders including Eddie Gumanoy of KASAMA-TK (KMP Southern Tagalog), Renato Pacaide of KMP Far Southern Mindanao Region, Arthur Orpilla and Dionisio Battad of DANGGAYAN – CV (KMP Cagayan Valley), Marcelino Beltran of AMT (KMP Tarlac), Fermin Lorico of KAUGMAON (KMP Negros Oriental), Celso Pojas of FADC (KMP Davao City) and more. In addition, there are 129 peasants and organizers who were victimized by enforced disappearances including Nilo Arado of PAMANGGAS – Panay and Jonas Burgos of AMB (KMP Bulacan).
KMP and Tanggol Magsasaka said that Aquino is inclined to implement the same or worse oppressive measure as Oplan Bantay Laya (OBL), the counter-insurgency program of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
“During the campaign period, he disapproved of disarming the CAFGUs and para-military groups, issued statements exclusive on media killings prior his inaugural and attended military rites where AFP Chief of Staff Ricardo David imposed a deadline of 3 years to end insurgency, to add, there were no release of political prisoners, no signs of resumption of peace talks between the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and the government,” Flores said.
The groups said Aquino kept quiet on the killings of activists, thus, sending no deterrent on the perpetrators. They added that Aquino has done nothing so far to put down the culture of impunity in the country.
“The Aquino government with all its machinery and influence is helpless of stopping the killings. The mere inaction of Aquino is the very promotion of killings in the country,” said Flores.
“The Aquino government is hopeless this early and it is clear that change could only be from the people struggling for democratic rights and fundamental reforms. We now declare Aquino and Arroyo are synonymous, we expect nothing from him but more killings, more human rights abuses, more terror and fascism. We call on all sectors to rise up against the oppression as the Aquino government is pathetic to protect and promote our basic rights,” Flores called. #