Tell it to SunStar: Abolish, defund NTF-Elcac

Tell it to SunStar.
Tell it to SunStar.SunStar file photo

By Zen Soriano of Amihan National Federation of Peasant Women

We strongly condemn the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac) for again red-tagging the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) as among 30 “Communist Terrorist Group Front Organizations.” Presented at the NTF-Elcac National Executive Committee meeting last April 6, this citation is only the latest in the government’s persistent red-tagging of the KMP and other peasant organizations as sanctioned by the United States government’s Counterinsurgency program.

The red-tagging comes in the midst of the economic crisis exacerbated by the El Niño calamity that has caused almost P3 billion in damage so far in the agriculture sector. The KMP is red-tagged as the proposed Charter change, which will further open Philippine resources to foreign ownership, reaches its second reading in Congress. It also comes before the Balikatan military exercises that start on April 22 and will draw 16,000 troops and 14 observer countries to the country.

As the KMP is maliciously and falsely discredited, the NTF-Elcac lauds the Marcos government for granting certificate of land ownership awards to agrarian reform beneficiaries, which in reality only make up a very small percentage of the peasant population in the country. This conveniently disregards the decades-long struggle of Filipino farmers against landlessness and land-grabbing, and the root causes of insurgency. In fact, it is from that struggle that the KMP was established in 1985 to advocate for genuine land reform and free land distribution.

We reiterate our call for urgent relief and production support to El Niño-stricken farmers, to end militarization of the countryside, and to develop local agriculture instead of relying on foreign importation for the country’s food supply.

As a red-tagged organization, we state that red-tagging puts lives in danger, as it often leads to threats and harassment, illegal arrests and detention, and outright killing of farmers and peasant leaders. At least 80 political prisoners are peasant women. A total of 46 peasant women, 14 minors, and 10 peasant couples were killed under the Duterte administration, while five minors and the Fausto family were killed under the Marcos Jr. regime.

We enjoin various sectors to condemn and oppose all forms of red-tagging, and demand to abolish and defund the NTF-Elcac.


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