March 31, 2017
Just two days before the 4th round of formal peace talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, farmers from Luzon and Mindanao trooped to Mendiola to denounce the continuing killings of peasant leaders throughout the country.
Peasant group KMP has documented 22 farmers killed between February to March, at the time the Duterte government declared all-out war against the NPA. The most recent killings happened in March 27 when three members of Midanao farmers’ group Nagkahiusang Mag-uuma sa Laak (NAMULAK) namely Cora Molave Lina and Arman and Arlyn Almonicar, were shot dead in two separate incidents.
“Today is March 31, and we will likely see ceasefire declarations from both the NDFP and GRP. We’re just two days away from the 4th round of formal peace talks in The Netherlands. However, the campaign to expose and oppose fascist, anti-peace measures of the AFP continues. The Duterte regime must rein in its troops and abandon its failed counter-insurgency program deceptively called “Kapayapaan”. The government troops must withdraw from civilian communities and demilitarize the countryside. The killings of farmers should stop. Joint RP-US military exercises in civilian communities should stop. The bombing of communities should stop. Continuing fascist attacks on civilians undermine prospects for a just peace,” Bayan said in a statement.
Instead of militarization, the umbrella group is calling on the Duterte government to enter into agreements on socio-economic reforms and political reforms with the revolutionary forces. A key point in the agreement on socio-economic reforms is free land distribution, where a consensus is likely between the GRP and NDFP.
“Land is a fundamental demand of poor peasants and is a major point of discussion in the peace negotiations. Unless this is satisfactorily addressed, the armed conflict will continue. The government must recognize the legitimate basis of the agrarian struggle being waged by farmers nationwide. Unless domestic feudalism is dismantled, there can be no just peace,” Bayan said. ###