DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) condemned President Rodrigo Duterte after he ordered state forces to arrest and shoot farmers’ groups who will stage their occupy activities on government and private lands. His statement, followed the massacre of 9 sugar farmers who were staging an occupy activity in Hacienda Nene of Sagay City, Negros Occidental.
“Do not do it ever again because I have issued an order to the police. If you insist on occupying an area, like what happened in Bacolod, I will order your arrest.” Duterte said in his speech at the birthday party of former Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano.
The President added: “My order to the police is to shoot them. If they resist violently, shoot them, and if they die, I do not care,”.
In a statement, KMP chairperson Danilo Ramos condemned the pronouncement of the president, clarifying that land occupation and cultivation activities of idle agricultural lands are collective efforts of farmers to produce food crops and assert genuine land reform.
Ramos added that farmers would die hungry if they would wait for a land reform from the government.
“Only a mad leader like Duterte would give direct orders to kill his citizens and constituents,” Ramos added.
“As if Oplan Kapayapaan and militarization is not yet enough in terrorizing farmers in peasant communities and farmlands, Duterte virtually issued a shoot to kill order against farmers cultivating the land,” Ramos said.
“We will continue to hold him accountable for peasant killings and human rights violations in rural communities”.
KMP said the land occupation and cultivation activities of idle agricultural lands are collective efforts of farmers to produce food crops and assert genuine land reform.
Ramos said that farmers would die hungry if they would wait for a land reform from the government.
According to the group, more than 10,000 cases of Certification of Land Ownership Award (CLOA) cancellations are pending at the DAR.
“Farmers got old and sick following up their land cases at DAR but they never got to own the land that they have been tilling for decades,” Ramos said.
“Farmers demanded for genuine land reform and free land distribution and held many dialogues with DAR and Duterte himself but the government turned these down by siding with landlords and oligarchs. Farmers took it upon themselves to realize genuine land reform through collective land cultivation,” Ramos said
The group has documented 172 farmers killed under Duterte administration.
The most recent case is the massacre of unknown gunmen that killed 9 sugar workers, including 4 women and two children in Hacienda Nene, Sagay City, Negros Occidental last October 20. The victims were members of the National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW) engaged in a bungkalan activity.(davaotoday.com)