KMP and Tanggol Magsasaka said that the Aquino has exposed himself as having no plans of a genuine land reform program, instead, he is pushing for the Public-Private Partnership which the groups claimed would worsen dislocation among farmers and massive land-use conversions (LUCs).
“Aquino is a goner, the Filipino peasantry lost patience and it is very clear as the blue sky that he is an adversary of our interest and protector of big landlords, feudal control over vast lands. Thus, we firmly believe that extra-judicial killings are part of his fascist attack on the peasants who struggle for land and justice,” said Antonio Flores, KMP Spokesperson and Tanggol Magsasaka Co-Convenor.
“Aquino treated us farmers as nobody, saying nothing on land reform on his inaugural and SONA speeches, as if there is no agrarian unrest in the country. In addition, human rights violations continued such as the EJK of Pascual Guevarra on July 9, a senior leader of ALMANA 3,100 (peasant organization inside the 3,100-hectares of Fort Magsaysay Military Reservation), then the serial killings in Southern Mindanao region, the massacre in Masbate and Antipolo,” Flores said.
Tanggol Magsasaka reported that followed the killing of Pascual, farmers Julius Tamondes and Naldo Labrador of Paquibato District, Davao City were killed August 12 and September 3, respectively. These was followed by the killing of Vicente Felisilda on September 9, in Compostela Valley. The September 7 massacre in Mobo town, Masbate killed farmers Vicente Flores, 41, Richard Oliva, 44, Melencio Monacelio, 45 and Jonathan Monacelio, a 21-year-old high school student. The most recent was the killing of certain Robert and Junior in Antipolo, Rizal.
Aside from extra-judicial killing, Tanggol Magsasaka said that political persecution continued such as the ‘arrest and detention’ of Dario Tomada on July 22. He is being implicated to the alleged “mass murder” in Inopacan, Leyte. KMP and Tanggol Magsasaka is resolutely campaigning for the immediate release of Tomada and the organizer of agricultural workers Felicidad Caparal who was arrested on January 27, 2009 and remained incarcerated in Northern Samar until present.
Moreover, KMP and AMGL is steadfast on calling for justice for the victims of the Hacienda Luisita massacre and extra-judicial killings that followed. A youth-leader inside the hacienda, Ronald Intal was abducted and still missing until now. The groups demanded the Aquino government to immediately surface him. The groups added that they are calling for an end of an attempt to Rudolfo Sambajon’s life, a peasant leader from AMGL – Bataan. He escaped the attempt of assailants last September 11 to 13 in Bataan.
KMP and its regional chapters are calling for the immediate stop to extra-judicial killings and massive militarization such as in Quezon in Southern Tagalog, Samar in Eastern Visayas and in the provinces of Southern Mindanao region. The groups said that the military operations are the very means of rights abuses against peasants, usually threatening them and accusing them of members or supporters of the New People’s Army (NPA).
“This is what we get from the grandstanding and lipservice Aquino did during the elections? Promising change and using his parents, depicting them as icons of democracy, but now already in power, oppression and exploitation to poor Filipinos such as the peasants continue grossly,” Flores asked.
Aside from the recent abuses on peasants, the groups are still calling for justice for Eddie Gumanoy, peasant leader from Southern Tagalog, killed on April 22, 2003 during “the butcher” Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan’s stint in Mindoro island. Peasant leaders Renato Pacaide from SOCCSKSARGENDS region, Dioniso Battad and Arturo Orpilla from Cagayan Valley, Fermin Lorico from Negros Oriental, Celso Pojas from Davao City and more others became victims of extra-judicial killings under the Arroyo government. The group added that Nilo Arado, peasant leader from Panay region and Jonas Burgos from Bulacan who was abducted on April 12 and 23, 2007, respectively. They remain missing until now.
“Aquino has abandoned the Filipino people, thus, he is being abandoned even by his own supporters during elections. Some church sectors are now supporting Hacienda Luisita farmworkers as obviously the greed-full Cojuangco-Aquinos only want to preserve their feudal control over the 6,453-hectare estate,” Flores said.
The groups are griping on Aquino’s idleness on the issues, not persecuting former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and worse, extending Oplan Bantay Laya, Arroyo’s very counter-insurgency program, until next year.
“Aquino is hopeless and peasants could not expect him to promote justice and protection of basic rights. He is an advocate of oppression, poverty and injustice. Thus, when we call for justice and freedom, we call on the people’s sectors to support our call and shove the meaning of our actions into Aquino’s head,” he added.
“Considering all of these and absolutely nothing from the Aquino government, we are to join the irate protest marking his first 100 days as president on October 8 at Mendiola. We would hold vigil as early as October 6 for others to join us and see how serious we are to engage Aquino for his mediocrity and oppression to peasants,” Flores said. #