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Tuesday, Aug. 05, 2008 at 11:17 PM
We, the undersigned, condemn in the strongest possible terms the recent spate of killings of farmers and farmer-leaders in Masbate, perpetrated by individuals identified as belonging to the local command of the New People’s Army.
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On July 20, 2008, around 15-20 armed men shot and killed Alberto “Bito” Yusi, president of Samahan ng mga Anak ng Magsasaka ng Famosa, Incorporated (SAMFAI), an organization of landless peasants that petitioned for the distribution of the 490-hectare Ticao Agro-Industrial Development Incorporated (TAIDI) landholding situated at Barangay Famosa, Monreal, Masbate.
Only two weeks before his death, Junrie Pagaspas and Rene Llabres, ordinary farmers, were slain by armed men known in the community as members of the NPA. Several months before, or in December, Botsoy Vale, farmer leader and elected Kagawad, was tortured and killed by the NPA. The latter death was claimed officially by the Jose Rapsing Command of the NPA. Around the time of his death, a death list was issued by the revolutionary armed groups, enumerating the names of the individuals they claim to be counter-revolutionaries.
It is truly revolting that such acts of violence and killings perpetrated against ordinary farmers mired in poverty and fighting injustice have been the handiwork of those who purport to fight for the masses and stand beside the oppressed (Ito’y nagtatanggol sa sambayanan laban sa masasamang pwersa ng pang-aapi at pagsasamantalang imperyalista at peudal at laging nagsisikap na tulungan sila sa lahat ng paraan sa pang-araw-araw nilang pamumuhay).  It is quite uncanny that the organization that claims to serve the people (Ang Bagong Hukbong Bayan ay maglilingkod sa mga mamamayan sa lahat ng maaaring paraan bukod sa pagtupad nito ng mga tungkulin sa labanan ) is responsible for acts the consequence of which would benefit the landowner bent on reconsolidating his lands.
We remind the National Democratic Front that it is a signatory to the 1998 Comprehensive Agreement for Respect of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law that upholds the protection of non-combatants as prescribed by international conventions. It cannot be gainsaid that farmers are not only non-combatants, but belong to the marginalized classes of society whose rights we are all dutybound to defend.
Invoking this, we call on the National Democratic Front (NDF) and the NPA General Command to act swiftly to prevent another peasant killing in Masbate. As we have repeatedly condemned the killings of national democratic activists by the government, so too must we condemn killings and transgressions of human rights violations by the Armed Left. Let not another woman find herself a widow. Let not another child find himself an orphan.
Let the death list stop.
(FOR THE REFORM CARP MOVEMENT)
Alyansa ng mga Magsasaka sa Kanlurang Batangas (AMKB)
Katipunan ng Bagong Pilipina (KABAPA) * Makabayang Alyansa ng mga Magsasaka sa Pilipinas (MAKABAYAN-Pilipinas)
Negros Farmers Council (NFC)
Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Samahang Magsasaka (PAKISAMA)
Pagkakaisa para sa Tunay na Repormang Agraryo (PARAGOS-Pilipinas)
Pambansang Katipunan ng mga Samahan sa Kanayunan (PKSK)
Samahang Magsasaka ng Macabud
Agrarian Justice Foundation
Center for Agrarian Reform Empowerment and Transformation (CARET)
Center for Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (CARRD)
Centro Saka Incorporated (CSI)
FOCUS on the Global South
Kaisahan Tungo sa Kaunlaran ng Kanayunan at Repormang Pansakahan (KAISAHAN)
Management and Organizational Development for Empowerment (MODE)
People’s Alternative Study and Research Center (PASCRES)
Project Development Institute (PDI)
Philippine Ecumenical Action for Community Empowerment (PEACE Foundation)
Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development (PLCPD)
Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM)
Rural Women Center-Centro Saka Incorporated (RWC-CSI)
Sentro ng Alternatibong Lingap Panligal (SALIGAN)
Asian NGO Coalition for Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (ANGOC)
Peoples’ Campaign for Agrarian Reform Network (AR Now!)
Kilusan para sa Pagsusulong ng Repormang Agraryo (KILOS AR)
Partnership for Agrarian Reform and Rural Development Services (PARRDS)
Paralegal Educational Skills Advancement and Networking Technology (PESANTech)
Pambansang Koalisyon ng Kababaihan sa Kanayunan (PKKK)
Sugar Workers Alliance of Negros (SWAN)
Europe solidaire sans frontières (ESSF), France
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