The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas joins various groups calling for justice a full year after the assassination of Randy Malayao, a long-time peasant and peace advocate. He was cowardly gunned down by unidentified assailants while asleep in a bus in Nueva Vizacaya on January 30 last year.
After years of covering people’s movements as a student-journalist of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP), Malayao went back to Cagayan Valley and served various peasant organizations. For decades, he has tirelessly maintained and developed close and deep ties with poor farmers from the barangay to the national levels. As the youngest National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) Peace Consultant, he actively participated in consolidating the rural poor’s development agenda and, with vigorous initiative, ensured that they be heard in local and international fora. He supported free land distribution for farmers. His was a life of selfless service to the rural poor and the entire Filipino people.
Only groups opposed to peasant’s rights and peace spoilers have motive and interest in the death of Malayao. In this regard, it has been none other than the AFP and PNP itself and other militarists in government who has been most consistent and unrelenting in opposing and demonizing the legitimate actions of farmers in asserting their right to land, and the efforts of various groups in pursuing a just and lasting peace. In fact, under the Executive Order 70, the NTF ELCAC (National Task Force to End the Local Communist Armed Conflict) has practically transformed the entire state machinery as one ferocious beast meant to trample upon the democratic rights of the people. It has methodically vilified legal and progressive personalities and organizations with the intention to justify and even encourage attacks against them. 244 farmers were killed since July 2016 as military rule infest whole peasant communities nationwide.
Other than capturing Malayao’s assassins, ongoing attacks against peasant and peace advocates like him must stop. The Duterte regime’s worsening attacks against farmers, their supporters, and peace advocates, however, only compel more Filipinos to follow Randy Malayao’s path of genuine service to the nation. #