Stop weaponizing the law, junk terror bill now! — farmers

“We have everything to be alarmed about the Anti-Terrorism Bill that is being railroaded in Congress. This proposed  measure, once approved, will further weaponize the law and subject ordinary Filipinos to human rights violations and abuses. Farmers and activists could be the first casualties once this draconian law is enacted,” says KMP chairperson Danilo Ramos as he warned against more state-sanctioned human rights violations.

“We must not allow a “new normal” where all democratic rights and civil liberties are stifled, critics are imprisoned, and everyone could be a target of persecution by a vindictive government,” the KMP leader said. 

“We must not allow a “new normal” where all democratic rights and civil liberties are stifled, critics are imprisoned, and everyone could be a target of persecution by a vindictive government.”

“We are in a pandemic. The people are seeking for urgent economic aid and relief, health and social services, mass testing and mass transportation. There are much more urgent and important legislation that Congress can prioritize and focus on. Why fast track the Anti-Terror Bill at this time when the population is exasperated with the government’s incompetence and neglect?,” the KMP leader said.

“Ngayon na wala pang Anti-Terrorism Law, grabe na ang nararanasang abuso ng mga magsasaka. Paano pa kapag may bagong batas na iwawasiwas pang  lalo ng mga awtoridad sa mamamayan,” the peasant leader added. (Even before the passage of the Anti-Terrorism Law, farmers are experiencing grave abuses. This new measure will be an added weapon against the masses.)

Ramos said that during the enhanced community quarantine, four (4) farmers were brutally killed merely on the suspicion that they are members and supporters of the New People’s Army (NPA). Among those summarily executed were Nora Apique, Marlon Madlos, John Farochilin, and Allan Aguilando. Before they were killed, they were redtagged and subjected to surveillance and threats, obviously by government intelligence operatives. “They are unarmed civilians who are members of legitimate farmers’ organizations. They are not combatants or members of the NPA but they were unjustly killed because they were suspected as ‘communist-terrorists.’”

Ramos said several farmers were also arrested and accused of illegal possession of firearms and explosives after they were redtagged and linked to the NPA.

The latest incident was the illegal arrest of two farmers and one minor in Barangay Logging, Las Navas, Northern Samar last June 1.

Those arrested were peasant leader Carlos Baluyot of the Alyansa san mga Parag-uma Kontra-kagutom san Las Navasnon, farmer Alvino Lucapa, and a minor identified as Jake Dela Cruz.

According to witnesses, some 70 soldiers of the 803rd IBPA were conducting operations in the village when they chanced upon the three victims. The soldiers blindfolded Baluyot and Lucapa and hogtied Dela Cruz and they were forcibly arrested. Village officials of Barangay Epaw came to the aid of the arrested individuals. The military planted evidence and preposterously alleged that the victims belonged to a bomb making unit of the NPA.

Baluyot is a local peasant leader actively leading Las Navas farmers and residents in seeking government aid and resisting military encampment in Las Navas villages. Their association and the Northern Samar Small Farmers Association were constantly red-tagged and vilified by the 20th IBPA as ‘communist fronts.’

“We strongly oppose the Anti-Terror Bill. We enjoin all Filipinos to raise concerns against this Duterte Martial Law measure,” the KMP leader said.

KMP also called on the Commission on Human Rights to probe the successive killings and illegal arrests of farmers who are redtagged as NPA supporters.  ###

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