Justice for Randy Echanis and farmer victims of political killings

The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) remembered slain peace consultant Randall ‘Randy’ Echanis today on his birthday. Echanis, who was tortured and brutally killed on August 10, 2020, would have been 73 today. Echanis daughter, peasant women organizer Amanda Echanis was illegally arrested and detained on December 2, 2020.

It has been eight months since Echanis was killed and justice remains elusive. His family and colleagues have not received any update and development on the Task Force created by the Department of Justice tasked to investigate Echanis’ killing.

Peasant killings escalate

KMP said the killing of farmers continues, with 325 victims as of the latest count after the heinous killing of farmers Fredo Binangkil and Julito Solano. The two were brutally murdered in Sitio Bayog, Binangkil in Sta. Catalina, Negros Oriental in the latest SEMPO led by the Philippine National Police’s Special Action Force in Central Visayas (SAF-7), the 705th Regional Mobile Force Battalion (RMFB), and the 11th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army.

Based on initial reports, Binangkil was grazing his carabao at 5:00 am on March 29 when he was accosted by members of the SAF-7. He was tortured for information on alleged NPA sightings in the area and was subsequently shot to death when he was unable to provide any information. The SAF-7 elements also fired at Binangkil’s house, which killed Julito Solano, a close friend of Binangkil and the brother of peasant leader Nene Solano. Series of house raids and harassment against farmers of Sta. Catalina followed suit.

We blame Echanis’ killing and the continuing peasant killings on state operatives and the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).

KMP demands the immediate defunding of the NTF-ELCAC and the rechanneling of its P19-billion budget to cash aid and production subsidies. ###

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