STATEMENT: April 10, 2018
Pagkakaisa sa Tunay na Repormang Agraryo (PATRIA)
We, the Pagkakaisa sa Tunay na Repormang Agraryo (PATRIA), strongly support the efforts and collective action of the International Fact Finding Solidarity Mission (IFFSM) to closely look into and monitor the human rights abuses in the communities of peasants, indigenous peoples, and agricultural workers brought about by the declaration of Martial Law in the whole island of Mindanao.
PATRIA strongly condemns the harassment made by the military against IFFSM delegates and human rights activists since the beginning of the mission. This only proves that the policy of the government in combating so-called terrorism in the countryside is a cover-up and alibi of the Duterte regime to safeguard the interests of the big landlords, bureaucrats and big businesses in the whole island of Mindanao. Instead of protecting the people, Martial Law implementors are the ones actually sowing terror amongst the poor peasants and indigenous peoples who are defending their communities, source of livelihood, and ancestral lands.
The serious attacks on the farmers and lumads is evident in many cases of threats and harassment which includes burning and forced closure of lumad schools. Farmers, workers and lumads endure grave human rights abuses and threats. Since July 2016, the number of political extra-judicial killings have reached more than 110 cases. Most of the victims were farmers and lumads and these atrocities happened mostly in Mindanao.
Cases of illegal arrests, trumped up charges and forced surrender of farmers and lumads are among the evil expressions and faces of Martial Law. Some of the victims are also included in the terrorist proscription list issued by the Department of Justice.
We call upon all peace-loving citizens and peasant advocates to push for the implementation of genuine agrarian reform. Let us encourage people’s participation to urge the Duterte government to return to the negotiating table for peace talks without any preconditions to allow for the atmosphere of trust and hope in addressing the root causes of poverty and armed conflict in the country.
While we call for a just and lasting peace, we also call on President Duterte to stop these atrocities and massive human rights abuses — stop the red-tagging of human rights activists and all other forms of state terrorism and respect the rights of the people to land and life.