190 farmer-leaders killed in last 5 months
MANILA, Philippines — Despite the lockdowns to contain the coronavirus disease—which also restricted the movement of both people and goods — more than 100 peasants were killed between March and June, two farmers’ groups reported on Tuesday.
The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and Tanggol Magsasaka said that some 262 farmers and peasant leaders had been killed since July 2016, 190 of them killed in the past five months.
In June alone, six leaders were killed in Iloilo, Northern Samar, Negros Occidental, and Albay—all of which were affiliated with farmer groups opposing the government, and were gunned down by men on motorcycles.
They were Harold Tablazon, a former member of the Federation of Iloilo Farmers Association; Zaldy Meraya and Bebe Tobino from Northern Samar; Jose Jerry Catalogo of the National Federation of Sugar Workers; and Organisasyon ng Magsasaka sa Albay members Elder Molina and Jose Arthur Clemente.
“Tanggol Magsasaka has documented extrajudicial killings, illegal arrests and illegal detention, filing of fabricated criminal charges, Red-tagging and vilification, torture, surveillance, bombing of peasant communities and unending list of human rights violations committed by state forces,” KMP said.
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