June 8, 2012
On the eve of CARP’s 24th anniversary, another peasant leader abducted
A militant farmers’ group in Southern Tagalog reported another peasant leader who was illegally arrested and detained in Quezon province yesterday.
Franklin Barrera, an 18-year old farmer from Brgy. San Vicente, Gumaca, Quezon was the latest victim of human rights violations in the region.
Suspected elements of the military hit him from behind and forced him inside a red van in Yumul St., Brgy. Gomez, Lopez, Quezon. He became unconscious and found himself in a house in Brgy. San Isidro, Lopez, Quezon, near the 85th IBPA detachment.
He escaped through the backdoor and was confined in a hospital in Atimonan, Quezon.
Barrera is a convenor of the Save Bondoc Peninsula Movement, an alliance organized to stop the human rights violations of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in Bondoc Peninsula.
“The Aquino government obviously wants to preempt the people’s alliance campaign that will expose the real characteristic of its “people centered” counter-insurgency program dubbed as Oplan Bayanihan,” said Axel Pinpin, secretary general of Katipunan ng mga Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan (Kasama-TK) and a former political detainee.
The group mentioned that yesterday’s incident is only one among the many cases of human rights violations in the province since the AFP deployed 8 battalions of military in the area.
“Aquino’s policies like Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program and Oplan Bayanihan deprived us of a normal and peaceful life. We live in fear as we experience illegal arrests and search, torture, and other forms of harassment everyday,” says Orly Macellana, spokesperson of the Save Bondoc Peninsula Movement.
“The abduction of Barrera sealed the grim future of the agrarian reform under the rule of the country’s top haciendero, Noynoy Aquino,” Pinpin added.
The group lambasted President Benigno Simeon Aquino III instruction to DAR Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes, “that CARP should be completed within the time allotted to us because it will be very difficult to get further extension.”
“Aquino’s statement is a mockery of farmers’ long aspiration for land, a mere lip service,” Pinpin reacted
The group called for the junking of CARP two days before its 24th year of implementation.
According to Kasama-TK, CARP, which is to expire in 2014, failed to distribute the land to the farmers because “it was designed to serve the interest of the big hacienderos in the country.”
“CARP even legitimized fascism in order to protect the big landlord’s properties from acquisition and distribution,” Pinpin added.
Military and paramilitary groups escalated their operations in Bondoc Peninsula and South Quezon, which they believe to be consolidated areas of the New People’s Army, after Aquino announced that he would end communist insurgency by 2012.
Kasama-TK also likened Aquino to an absentee landlord who just waits for harvest season and receives share without even visiting his land or meeting his serf.
As the farmers hold their protest at the Aquino residence in Times Street, President Aquino is on a trip to Europe and the United States.
“We’re fed-up of Aquino’s rhetoric,” says Pinpin when asked if they are demanding an audience from the President to hear their grievances, adding, “Why not just immediately distribute his hacienda?”
Another group of farmers supporting CARP that marches all the way from Mindanao, is set for a dialogue with Malacañang officials today after President Aquino directed administration officials to meet with the farmers.
But Pinpin’s group counters that “A dialogue with Aquino will only give opportunity for theHaciendero Republic to pose as champion of democratic reforms by playing this all too predictable skit where farmers air grievance, Malacañang opens door, government promises, farmers go straight home, hence “problem” is solved without changing a bit in the current social order.”
“We could not take that Aquino is enjoying his trip abroad and having fun while farmers are suffering in the hands of the military. Hindi namin maisip kung paano pa siya nakakatulog nang mahimbing habang puno ng ligalig ang buhay ng mga magsasaka,” Marcellana said. #