Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) assails the continued red tagging and harassment faced by the farmers of Sitio Compra, Bgy. San Mateo, Norzagaray, Bulacan from elements of the police and the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC). KMP National Chairperson Danilo Ramos says that the farmers of Sitio Compra have restlessly faced attacks. “Now, the red tagging clowns of NTF are harassing the farmers as they worry about their case in court, ensuring their family’s meals, and their children’s education amid the pandemic. The billions of funds poured for NTF is just used to harass farmers. Dapat ang inaaraw-araw sa mga magsasaka ay ayuda at suporta, hindi ganitong pananakot!” Ramos demands.
The peasant group reports that they have received complaints from farmer-residents of the area about repeated “visits” from armed men who have introduced themselves as members of the NTF-ELCAC. The “visits” reportedly began last January 22, a day after farmers charged with theft by Royal Mollucan Inc. bailed for their release from detention in the Norzagaray Police Station. Each time, the armed men ordered the farmers to attend “meetings” where they are red tagged and harassed.
“Inaaraw-araw takutin ng mga tauhan ng NTF ang mga magsasaka. Nireredtag ang aming organisasyon at binabansagang kalaban ng gobyerno. Napakalaking abala po sa mga magsasaka ang ginagawa nila dahil ilang oras ang nawawala sa amin imbes na nagtatrabaho kami. Nakakadagdag pa sila sa aming stress. Natatakot din po ang mga bata dahil may dala silang mahahabang baril,” Cecil Rapiz of Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Bulacan (AMB) narrates.
Rapiz adds that the NTF men are offering the farmers “assistance” in exchange of their “cooperation.” “Pero alam naming lumang tugtugin na ito. Paanong sila pa ang tutulong sa amin e sila nga itong nagkulong at nananakot sa amin? Mga pulis din ang kasama ng mga pribadong goons ng Royal Mollucan sa pagbabakod sa sakahan sa Sitio Compra. Hindi nila kami mauuto,” the peasant woman leader says.
The harassed farmers are among the suppliers for the Bagsakan Online Farmer’s Market.
KMP insists that this scheme is the same as the “fake and forced surrender campaign” being undertaken by state forces under the Duterte administration. “Aside from harassing farmers out of their farmlands for the benefit of landgrabbers, state forces themselves might be profiting from the prize and reward money. If so, faking and forcing surrenders have become rackets for the police and military,” Ramos ends.