Migrante International strongly condemns the killings of 14 farmers in Negros Oriental by the Philippine National Police on Saturday, March 30, 2019 and demands justice for all the farmers who have become victims to the violent and oppressive policies of the Duterte administration.
Among the victims of the brutal killings were peasant leader Franklen Lariosa and Anok Enojo Rapada from Sta. Catalina; peasant leader Edgardo Avelino and his brother Ismael Avelino, Melchor Panares and his son Mario Panares from Canlaon City; Rogelio and Ricky Ricomuno, Gonzalo Rosales and Genes Palmares of Canlaon City.
Under Duterte, the lives of peasants and farmers throughout the country are in constant danger, not only suffering from starvation, landlessness and poverty but also from threats of being targeted for harassment, surveillance, illegal arrests, and killings by state and paramilitary forces. Farmers from Negros Island have particularly been targeted, where 40 out of 180 farmers already killed are from the region.
According to the Philippine Statistics Authority’s 2015 Census, 1.5 million people live below poverty in the Negros Island. Negros Occidental has the second highest magnitude of poor population among the provinces nationwide, while Negros Oriental ranks second. Duterte’s neglect and neoliberal economic policies, and exploitative big landlords in Negros are further driving the peasants and farmers into poverty.
The Duterte Administration’s response to the organized outcry of peasants and farmers in the country clamoring for genuine agrarian reform and resisting extreme poverty and landlessness has been an increase in violent militarization of their communities. Police and military operations such as the PNP’s Oplan Sauron or Synchronized Enhanced Managing of Police Operations (SEMPO), Duterte’s Memorandum Order 32 resulted to increased deployment of military troops who are sowing terror in the regions of Negros, Samar and Bicol. They have been responsible for the unjust killings of innocent and defenseless farmers.
Filipino migrants stand with our peasants and farmers as they continue to courageously assert for recognition of their basic human rights, and for genuine agrarian reform. We demand an end to military and police operations of our communities.
Migrante International supports the call of peasant and human rights groups for an independent and thorough investigation of the killings of the 14 farmers.
Justice for the Negros 14!
Stop Killing Farmers!
Stop the militarization of communities!