[AMGL] CL farmers to Duterte; We are farmers, not terrorists! We need production support, not threats!

Despite the ongoing community quarantine, farmers under the Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luson gathered today to conduct a protest action while observing health protocols, to vehemently condemn the hasty approval and strongly join the call for the junking of House Bill 6875 or Anti-Terrorism Bill which was approved on third and final reading last June 3, 2020.

“Sa totoo lang hindi na bago sa aming mga magsasaka ang matapakan ang karapatang pantao dahil simula’t sapul walang ginawa ang gobyernong ito kundi patayin at dahasin ang mga magsasaka at pagbintangang terorista” said, Joseph Canlas, chairperson of the peasant alliance.

According to Canlas, even before pandemic, the PNP and AFP were consistently red-tagging legitimate organizations, its staff members, and other individuals and institutions. Now, authorities are blatantly abusing the pandemic situation to continue the attacks.

Canlas is referring to the recent redtagging wherein a tarpaulin with his name and picture, was seen in Mariveles Bataan. A local leader in Bataan who refused to be named for fear of his life was summoned to the military barracks in Camp Olivas in Pampanga and was interrogated about certain staff and members of progressive organizations and their so-called link to the CPP-NPA. Likewise, the 91st IBPA Facebook account is spreading fake news stating in a post that members of PAMANA, a local farmers organization in Aurora, are linked to the CPP-NPA-NDF and has since withdrawn support to the communist movement.

“Bakit ba pinipilit ng gobyernong ito na ang pagsapi sa mga organisasyong magsasaka ay pagsapi sa NPA at pagiging komunista? Malinaw ang desperasyon ng gobyernong itong mawalan ng kritiko dahil sumisingaw na ang kaniyang kainutilan. Nagagalit na ang mamamayan kaya gustung-gusto nilang ipatupad ang Anti-Terror Law para kahit anong salitang laban sa kanila ay kaya nilang patahimikin. Ibang usapan pa kung warrantless arrest lang dahil sa hanay namin, mas madalas pinapatay ang mga magsasaka,” Canlas added.

Canlas insisted that being a farmer and fighting for the right to till the land is never considered an act of terrorism. It is the government who harass, detain, and kill farmers and other human rights defenders that is terrorizing the people with its repressive measures.

“Imbes na pananakot at itong Terror Bill ang atupagin ng gobyernong, dapat unahin harapin at puksain ang pandemya at economic crisis na inireresulta nito. Baka sa mga susunod na araw, pag naipatupad ang batas hindi na COVID cases ang binibilang natin kundi mga biktima at pinaslang dahil sa Anti-Terror Bill,” Canlas said.

AMGL also calls for economic support to farmers who serve as food security frontliners. They are calling for adequate production subsidy and relief support for farmers to help secure food security and economic relief in this trying times. #

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