Stop Killing Farmers

Manila, Philippines, January 19, 2018

Anakpawis Party-list Representative Ariel “Ka Ayik”Casilao joined peasant activists and genuine agrarian reform advocates at a protest in front of Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City, this morning. He called for an end to extra-judicial killings against peasant activists and urged the public to oppose the mounting totalitarianism of the Duterte government.

The peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas and Stop Killing Farmers Movement reported farmer-victims of extra-judicial killings has already reached 109, since the beginning of the Duterte presidency. The groups will mark on January 22, the 31st anniversary of the 1987 Mendiola Massacre that killed 13 peasant activists when government forces opened fire at tens of thousands marching towards the bridge.

“A totalitarian rule is falling on its place, widespread terror against the people demanding fundamental reforms in the country, massive ‘fake news’ peddling or propaganda campaign, political repression against opposition and rule of a single party, personality cultism, control over the economy, total puppetry of the legislative, attack on the supposed independent judiciary, and assault on the pillar of democracy, freedom of the press,” Casilao said during the protest.

The lawmaker branded that President Rodrigo Duterte is now the number one enemy of the Filipino farmers as he drummed up all-out war in the countryside, which simply means intensified human rights abuses against farmers, such as extra-judicial killings, aerial bombings of communities, illegal arrests and other forms of abuse. He is also institutionalizing martial law or conditioning the people that is normalcy in governance and democratic rights should be surrendered.

The Duterte government is also the primary beneficiary of “fake news” peddling, which at the turn of the year attempted to deceive the people that the impact of the enacted Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion or TRAIN law is negligible and advantageous. It also on the stage of railroading charter change via constituent assembly composed of the president’s lackeys at the lower house. It is trying again to deceive the people that a federal set-up of government will benefit the poor and marginalized, when actually it will only serve the interest of traditional political families, and strengthen their feudal and warlord-rule over the countryside.

“A totalitarian ruler is intolerant of a free press as it is a stumbling block, hence, we see Rappler being political persecuted, we urge the public to decisively make a stand and defende press freedom and join the Black Friday Protest in Quezon City later at 6pm,” Casilao called. ###