Killing of Anakpawis couple in Sorsogon smears fairness of elections

Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and Anakpawis Partylist condemns the killing of a peasant-vendor couple in Sorsogon last January 15, 2022. 

Husband and wife Silvestre Fortades Jr. and Rose Marie Galias were shot dead at around 7 am last Friday in Brgy. San Vicente, Barcelona, Sorsogon, according to Karapatan Sorsogon.

Fortades Jr. and Galias are both members of Anakpawis Partylist and Samahan ng mga Magsasaka sa Sorsogon (SAMASOR), KMP’s provincial chapter. 

“We urge an impartial investigation of this latest brutality against farmers, especially for it occurring under a nationwide election gun ban and amid continued red-tagging against KMP and Anakpawis. This incident puts to question the fairness and peacefulness of the coming election,” KMP Chairman Emeritus and Anakpawis Chairperson Rafael Mariano said.
The couple were reportedly selling garlic, onion, and other agricultural produce when two pairs of unidentified motorcycle-riding men fired at them.

“We condemn the continuing vilification and harassment promoted by state agents such as the NTF ELCAC. State-funded black propaganda against lawful and duly-registered partylists run counter to a fair electoral process. It must not be tolerated and be stopped,” the former agrarian reform secretary insists. He pointed out the “targeted attacks” against Anakpawis in the 2019 elections. “This includes black propaganda and more sinister schemes such as the arrest of Anakpawis-Bohol coordinator Alvin Fortaliza in March 2019 under trumped-up charges.”

Mariano adds that red tagging and impunity under the Duterte regime has made farmers “easy targets.” KMP noted that this incident has pushed the number of peasant victims of extrajudicial killings under the current administration to 347. #

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