Our quest for a just and lasting peace will continue even as we welcome the termination of the unilateral interim ceasefire by the New People’s Army (NPA),” said KMP chairperson Joseph Canlas in reaction to the declaration of termination of ceasefire by the NPA.
“The termination of the ceasefire by the NPA will give justice to farmers who are perpetually terrorized by AFP troops and private security of landlords, plantations and mining companies,” Canlas said.
“We will not be surprised if in the coming days and weeks, the NPA would carry out punitive actions against anti-people and environmentally-destructive enterprises guilty of crimes against the peasant masses,” the KMP leader said.
Canlas said the Lorenzo family owned-Lapanday Foods Corp. is responsible for landgrabbing and eviction of thousands of agrarian reform beneficiaries in Tagum Davao del Norte while San Miguel Corporation’s Agusan Minerals and Petroleum is implicated in the killing of Compostela Valley peasant leader and anti-mining advocate Jimmy Saypan.
“For more than four months, we have raised to the peace negotiating panels, particularly to the GRP, complaints on incidents of extrajudicial killings, illegal arrest, forced evacuation, threat, harassment and intimidation and use of schools, medical, religious and other public places for military purpose in rural areas which are violations of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CAHRIHL). Farmers and indigenous peoples have also demanded the pull-out of AFP troops from farms and ancestral lands.”
“The mercenary AFP took advantage of ceasefire to further inflict harm upon the civilian population, particularly farmers and Lumad asserting genuine land reform and resisting landgrabbing schemes.”
Canlas noted that from August 2016 to January this year, 20 farmers were killed, either by suspected state forces and paramilitary acting as security force multipliers and goons of landlords.
“The AFP’s intense militarization campaign under the guise of Peace and Development Outreach Program (PDOP) in rural areas and peasant communities that are being carried out by AFP have resulted to ceasefire violations and have further endangered the lives and livelihood of millions of farmers and rural folk.”
“The government peace panel reneged several times on its pledge to release political prisoners including sick and elderly detainees,” Canlas said who also noted that KMP and Tanggol Magsasaka have aided rights group KARAPATAN in fulfilling documentation requirements necessary for the release of peasant political prisoners.
More than 400 political prisoners, majority of whom are from peasant origin, are still languishing in jails nationwide on trumped-up and fabricated criminal cases.
Canlas said farmers will remain vigilant in exposing the government’s new counterinsurgency plan — Oplan Kapayapaan. ###