Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas slammed the state forces saying that the asserting farmers’ rights do not equate terrorism.
By Datu Zahir Meditar
Fifteen uniformed and armed men of the Philippine National Police (PNP) stormed Brgy. Coral Ni Lopez, Calaca, Batangas on Monday to confront and intimidate the community on their planned ‘protest’ in support for their detained community members while the hearing of Julie Jolongbayan, Marcelo Vidal, Leovino Jolongbayan, Roilan Tenorio, and Doroteo Bautista takes place.
According to the residents, the home of Barangay Secretary Virgilio Vidal, one of the Calaca 6 that is currently freed out of bail, was vehemently rushed by the police forces and other neighboring households, which left them traumatized by the incident.
On May 10, six farmers leaders of Samahan ng mga Magsasaka sa Coral Ni Lopez (SAMACOLO), also known as Calaca 6, were arrested by the PNP allegedly for illegal possession of firearms in Brgy. Coral ni Lopez, Calaca, Batangas and were brought to Camp Vicente Lim. Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) stated that authorities and state forces barraged into the farmers’ homes and planted the firearms, further accusing them of breach in the Comprehensive Law on Firearms and Ammunition.
Progressive groups condemned the arrest of the six farmers and continuous harassment towards the community members, stating that the police should stop the attacks on farmers, not just Brgy. Coral ni Lopez, but in the Southern Tagalog region at large.
Human rights group Karapatan Timog Katagalugan stated that people should stop making trumped-up charges against the farmers, as this will only burden the lives of the affected families.
“Tanging matinding trauma ang dinulot ng mga kaganapan sa mga kapamilya lalo na sa mga kanilang mga anak na naiwan sa baryo. Hustisya ang inaasam ng mga kapamilya para sa anim na magsasaka. Kagyat na pagpapalaya para sa anim na magsasakang walang kasalanan ang sigaw ng pamilya kasama ang Karapatan Timog Katagalugan. Panagutin ang bulok na institusyong AFP-PNP!” they said.
In addition, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) explained that the attacks on farmers will intensify when the Anti-Terror Bill will be taken into effect.
“Wala pa man ang “Anti-Terror Law” ay daan-daan na ang magsasakang nakapiit sa mga kulungan dahil sa pagigiit ng kanilang karapatang magbungkal ng lupa, mga binansagang rebelde o terorista,” KMP explained.
Since the 1970s, farmers of SAMACOLO are still fighting for their rights on the land which is owned by Luis Lopez. Up until now, local government officials have had no response to the continuous red-tagging by state forces, which they are accusing the farmers as ‘NPA at night.’ [P]
Photo from Bulatlat