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Philippine troops, block farmers in Anti-GMA –Pro Peasant caravan in Pampanga, Central Luz

by Pesante-USA Friday, Oct. 20, 2006 at 4:11 PM
magsasakapil@hotmail.com 213-241-0906 337 Glendale Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90026

The Philippine Peasant Support Network (Pesnte) -USA in solidarity with the peasant organizations in the Philippines, strongly condemns the military and police harrasment of the peasant caravan from Central Luzon in Pampanga, going to Manila in protest over the agrarian reform month in the Philippines. Media souces reported today that 500 militant farmers taking part in a Central Luzon-wide caravan against political killings and American war games were stopped on Thursday by about 200 government soldiers and residents in the Pampanga capital of San Fernando and blocked four times by policemen on their way to this ecozone and Manila. Pesante-USA vehemently protest such military harrasments that used their civilian supporters to coerce and harass peasant protesting GMA's bogus land reform and fascist attacks against the people especially the KMP and other progressive groups.

Philippine troops, block farmers in Anti-GMA –Pro Peasant caravan in Pampanga, Central Luzon

Los Angeles -- The Philippine Peasant Support Network (Pesnte) -USA in solidarity with the peasant organizations in the Philippines, strongly condemns the military and police harrasment of the peasant caravan from Central Luzon in Pampanga, going to Manila in protest over the agrarian reform month in the Philippines.

Media souces reported today that 500 militant farmers taking part in a Central Luzon-wide caravan against political killings and American war games were stopped on Thursday by about 200 government soldiers and residents in the Pampanga capital of San Fernando and blocked four times by policemen on their way to this ecozone and Manila.

Pesante-USA vehemently protest such military harrasments that used their civilian supporters to coerce and harass peasant protesting GMA's bogus land reform and fascist attacks against the people especially the KMP and other progressive groups.

"The killing of Bishop Ramento, a peasant and peace advocate highlights the fascist trends and the US-Arroyo regime's anti-people terror warfare." Members of the Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luzon (AMGL) also reported to the media that at first they found themselves confronted by the AFP troops and their supporterss who positioned themselves at the intersection of Barangay Sindalan. Residents, accompanied by junior Army officers, shouted anti-leftist and anti-communist slogans, heckling the farmers for opposing the government.

They went after the AMGL contingent all the way from the Scholastica’s Academy where the farmers spent the night on Wednesday.

“Lumayas kayo (Go away),” yelled the civilian supporters gathered by the Army from the villages of Mexico town and San Fernando City. They were among those who joined the rallies organized by the Army and village officials on Tuesday.As the army organized supporters went on with the taunting, the farmers stayed seated in their hired vehicles and did not respond.

The media sources also reported that Joseph Canlas, AMGL chair, said a soldier in plainclothes tried to penetrate the AMGL ranks but was stopped by the caravan marshals.

At about the same time, the police blocked the route to conduct an inspection for firearms. The caravan was delayed for an hour, and ended at around 11:30 a.m. AGML’s Canlas said the “obstacles” met on Thursday came on the heels of harassment by the military that delayed the caravan by three days.

In another report, Senior Supt. Enrico Salapong, San Fernando police chief, said checkpoints had been set up since Wednesday to guard against bombings, crimes and possible streaming of supporters of Makati City Mayor Jejomar Binay.The caravan was briefly stalled by another police blockade at the San Fernando-Angeles City boundary.

Pesante -USA learned from media reports that at the Mabalacat town’s First Street, where the farmers began marching toward Clark’s main gate, the police fielded at least two SWAT teams to stop the rally. The permit issued by Mayor Carmelo Lazatin allowed a rally in Angeles City, not in front of Clark, a police official told AMGL leaders during the negotiation.

The farmers marched on but were blocked by two police vans at a corner leading to the gate, a kilometer away. The gate was cordoned off with barbed wires. Inside, American troops participating in the Talon Vision and Amphibious Landing Exercises proceeded with their flight training.

The farmers stood their ground, staying there for five minutes as they shouted slogans condemning the military exercises.

By 2 p.m., all 14 vehicles of the AMGL now bound for Manila were stopped at the Dau gate of the North Luzon Expressway (NLEx). These were supposed to join the Lakbayan ng Anakpawis Laban sa Kahirapan, Kagutuman, Pamamaslang at Charter Change ng Rehimeng US-Arroyo.

Roman Polintan, chair of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan in Central Luzon, said more than 100 anti-riot policemen blocked the route. By 2:30 p.m., the police sent two fire trucks to fortify the gate. Traffic at the southbound lanes stalled. The caravan proceeded to the NLEX later in the afternoon.

The KMP peasant rallies is in commemoration of the agrarian reform month in the Philippines. In October 1972, Dictator Marcos proclaimed “land reform” during martial law and made it as “the corner stone of his new society.”



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