FARMERS from Central Luzon under the Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luson (AMGL) and Anakpawis Partylist-Central Luzon protested have condemned human rights abuses and militarization in the region.
“It’s like martial law in Central Luzon because of the harassment of leaders of farmers,” AMGL chairperson Joseph Canlas said.
Rights watch group Karapatan has recorded eight extra-judicial killing (EJK) victims in the region since July 2016, according to Canlas.
“The victims are active members of groups fighting for land and livelihood rights. These include four in Nueva Ecija who fought for their land rights inside the Fort Magsaysay Military Reservation, secretary general of Aguman dareng Maglalautang Capampangan Jimmy Sotto and another couple belonging to the Liga ng Manggagawang Bukid in Nueva Ecija,” Canlas added.
The group said that in Nueva Ecija alone, three army battalions are allegedly deployed and encamped in the communities including the 91stIBPA in Bongabon, the 84th IBPA in Carranglan and the 69th IBPA in the towns of Guimba and Cuyapo.
AMGL-Nueva Ecija deputy secretary general Ignacio Ortiz said members of farmers’ group are allegedly being confronted by military personnel.
AMGL also slammed the government for targeting people’s organizations providing social service to peasant communities.
The group also condemned the military’s alleged intrusion in the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP) in the towns of Guimba and Cuyapo by threatening the targeted beneficiaries and vilification of the DSWD personnel.
SLP beneficiaries are farm workers in the communities who lost their livelihood due to the prevalent use of reapers and combine harvesters.
The group is set to launch its farmers’ protest march on September 16. They will be arriving in Metro Manila on September 20 and join the people’s mobilization against the alleged human rights abuses on September 21.