“The sickle is no equal to terrorism, release our farmers now!” – Sagupa Sinirangan Bisayas

Following GRP’s hosting of the 2017 ASEAN Summit attended by US President and the current face of imperialism Donald Trump, Duterte’s tongue-lashing over progressive groups, and the 360 proclamation and termination of peace negotiations with the Philippine reds, four farmers in Samar island in the Eastern Visayas region were nabbed by military elements in a span of two weeks.

Fourteen days after the illegal arrest of Marabut, Samar peasant-leader and head of Tag-alag Farmers and Fisherfolks Association Carlito “James” Badillo who admitted being harassed, tortured, and threatened by elements of the 87th Infantry Battalion last November 10, three more farmers in Palapag, Northern Samar were abducted by alleged elements of the 20th Infantry Battalion. The farmers and members of the Northern Samar Small Farmers Association (NSSFA) who were identified as Richard Avino, Teny Gerbon, and Arnel Aquino are believed to be detained at the detachment of the 20th IB at Brgy. Opong, Catubig, Northern Samar.

The three farmers from Northern Samar are still left unsurfaced as soldiers refuse to disclose their whereabouts. For two consecutive days, the family of the said farmers and human rights group Katungod Northern Samar went to the detachment of the 20th IB in the town proper of Palapag, Northern Samar, urging the military to release the abducted farmers. But instead of discharging the peasant group members, a suspected soldier phone-called Katungod Northern Samar Secretary General Sargie Macallan yesterday, November 24, asking who among the arrested persons would he choose to die.

In Matuguinao, Samar, sixty families were forced to evacuate to the forests due to the intensifying militarization in their town. The military did not only bring fear to these peasant communities but also paralyze their livelihood, thus a threat to their lives. It can be recalled that there have been aerial bombings in the said town since May this year as recorded by Katungod Sinirangan Bisayas.

Aside from the warrantless searches, suspicious men have been hopping from peasant organization to peasant organization, presenting pictures of staffs of Sagupa Sinirangan Bisayas and asking for their names and address. Tailings over peasant leaders and human rights workers all over the region have also been intensified.

Samahan han Gudti nga Parag-uma ha Sinirangan Bisayas (Sagupa SB) calls for the immediate release of Badillo who is currently facing illegal possession of firearms and explosives as charged by the military and to swiftly surface the three farmers in Palapag, Northern Samar. The regional peasant group pressed that the Duterte administration and the AFP must be held accountable for the intensifying human rights violations in Eastern Visayas. Sagupa Sinirangan Bisayas also urge the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to record and act upon these human rights abuses.

“The sickle is no equal to terrorism. We challenge the Philippine Army to release our farmers now,” said Sagupa Sinirangan Bisayas Secretary General Jun Berino.

With a hundred and fifty new soldiers in Eastern Visayas and four more military battalions to be re-deployed in the region, more human rights violations and similar cases are possible to happen.

“Soldiers in the region under the 8th Infantry Division are intensifying their Community Support Programs (CSP), deploying more Peace and Development Teams (PDT) to barrios, now fully disregarding the International Human Rights Law (IHL). This is all because of the foolishness of their head, Rodrigo Duterte, to terminate peace talks and declare an all-out war against its very people,” said Berino.

According to Berino, militancy and resistance with vigilance at this tempestuous times are things the Filipino people, especially the marginalized sectors, should practice.

Sagupa Sinirangan Bisayas urges the public to report all the human rights abuses and suspicious actions of alleged military elements in the region while actively supporting the back-to-back mass actions and protests.

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Dugo ngan balhas an nagbarisbis

Didto ha haluag nga katutubhan

Ini an panginahanglan:

Guti nga tubig ngan pag-ataman

Labi na an pag-ato han katawhan.

 

An maiha na nga kauriton ni Juan

An balhas nga tumuro ha umhanan

An pagguli-at han mga kabataan

An dugo han pito nga nanindugan.

 

Parag-uma, imo an Luisita

Aton an ginbalhasan nga tuna

Ha waray kapagalan nga pakigbisog,

Ha katapusan, kita gihap magdadaog.

MAGTAGUMPAY! | PH farmers unite to advance their struggle towards victory

LEGAZPI CITY, ALBAY—More than 1,400 farmers convened during the 8th National Congress of the broadest alliance of the peasant sector in the country with more than two hundred thousand members, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP). Dubbed as “MAGTAGUMPAY! Palawakin at patatagin ang Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas! Paigtingin ang pakikibaka para sa tunay na reporma sa lupa at pambansang industriyalisasyon!”, farmer-representatives from the fifteen different regions in the Philippines gathered to forward their call for a free land distribution and an end to land monopolization.

The said congress was attended by Agrarian Reform Sec. and former KMP National Chairperson Rafael “Ka Paeng” Mariano, National Anti-Poverty Commission Lead Convenor Liza Maza, Anakpawis Partylist Rep. Ariel Casilao and Kilusang Mayo Uno Sec. Gen. Jerome Adonis who gave their solidarity messages during the first day of the event.

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A press conference was held on the second day of the congress. (Photo from NNARA Youth)

 

Farmers harvest victories; ready for greater struggles

After decades of fighting and calling for the downfall of the feudal lords After decades of fighting and calling for the downfall of the feudal lords in the country, farmers have already gained countless victories and are yet to gather a lot more as they continue holding organized mass actions in all of the regions in the Philippines according to the national peasant alliance.

International League of Peoples’ Struggle Chairperson Jose Maria Sison, in his solidarity message, said that farmers through the leadership of KMP remained intact and are now even stronger despite continuous threats from the despotic landlords and military troops which includes harassment, intimidation and killings of farmer-activists. National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) consultants Wilma Austria-Tiamzon and Benito Tiamzon also expressed their highest salute to KMP for always pioneering the need for a strong peasant movement in the country.

It can be recalled that Hacienda Luisita have recently been placed under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), which will pave the way for the distribution to farmers who for a long time fought for their land grabbed by the Cojuangcos. The organized mass action in Lapanday – MARBAI also led to a fruitful harvest. Just this year, irrigation was declared free and is already being implemented by the National Irrigation Authority (NIA). Agrarian Reform Secretary Mariano also passed countless administrative orders in favor of the farmers in his first year of service, but these, according to him, are still limited as landlords holding big positions in the government actively interrupts the full institutionalization of these orders.

Mariano, in his speech, reiterated that there is a need for the farmers to push the present reactionary government to give in to their demands. “All of the victories we harvested are the fruits of our never-ending struggle”, Mariano said.

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DAR Sec. Rafael “Ka Paeng” Mariano delivering his solidarity message (Photo from DAR)

 

On the 8th historic gathering of farmer-leaders throughout the Philippines, all chapters of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas once again affirmed to advance the fight of the peasant sector as they play their role in leading the of the mass movement in the country.

Newly-elected KMP National Chairperson Danilo Ramos, in his closing remarks, held the farmer’s symbolic bolo as he chanted “Lupa ay laya!” (Land is freedom!). Ang lupa ay hindi hinihingi. Ang lupa ay ipinaglalaban. (We don’t beg for our land. We fight for it.)”, Ramos concluded.

EV peasant alliance to launch more farmer movements

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Farmer-leaders from Eastern Visayas attended the three-day Congress in Bicol. (Photo from KMP)

 

Regional peasant alliance in Eastern Visayas, Samahan han Gudti nga Parag-uma ha Sinirangan Bisayas (Sagupa – SB) which have been organizing farmers for twenty-eight years, will be launching more intensified and higher level of mass actions to shake the feudal lords and bureaucrat capitalists in Region VIII who have been putting the farmers’ lives in “misery” according to Sagupa – SB Sec. Gen. and former member of KMP National Council Nestor Lebico.

“Majority of the more than 700,000 hectares of land in Eastern Visayas is being owned and controlled by the region’s ruling elite which can be counted in numbers only”, Lebico said. He cited some of the major haciendas in the region such as the 704-hectare hacienda MAIC in San Isidro, Leyte and Hacienda Innaki A. Larrazabal (IAL) in Calubian, Leyte which measures up to 2,012 hectares. The widest haciendas in EV are found mostly on the northern part of Leyte.

“We are targeting to have these haciendas distributed to our farmers the soonest possible and this means more intensified protests and mass actions in the coming months”, he added.

Aside from their struggle against land monopolization, Sagupa – SB is also currently forwarding the demands of farm workers to an increased minimum wage both for sugar and non-sugar farm workers. EV farm workers are also currently affected by the agricultural liberation in the region, which is part of the government’s Yolanda rehabilitation plan. “We are not against the distribution of farm machineries but it has to be patterned with the overall situation of the peasant sector in the region wherein seven out of ten farmers in Eastern Visayas still own no land”, Lebico stressed.

The progressive peasant organization then reiterated that in the current semi-colonial semi-feudal system, victory lies not in Duterte’s hands, but in the united actions of the farmers all over the country who will be getting the land they deserve to own, wave by wave.