Farmers, fishers want AFP out of their communities
Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) joined the protest led by the peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) at the general headquarters of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in Camp Aguinaldo on Wednesday to demand the immediate and unconditional pullout of their troops in peasant communities in the countryside, saying their presence pose threat to the security and livelihood of the farmers and other rural people.
PAMALAKAYA said continuing presence of military in the countryside is a blatant violation of their self-declared unilateral ceasefire against the communist-led New People’s Army (NPA) because they are supposed to be in the military barracks and not operating in the alleged guerilla zone-peasant communities. The fisherfolk group blasted the AFP for the rampant human rights abuses against farmers they tag as communist member or even supporter.
“The military’s failure and frustration to capture their enemies is always diverted into the farmers and innocent civilians through harassment, filing of trumped up charges and worst, perpetrating extrajudicial killings with impunity. The continuing and growing militarization will always be a threat to the peaceful and tranquil lives of the rural people as the AFP’s current orientation is not to protect but to suppress the democratic rights and interests of the Filipino people,” Salvador France, Pamalakaya Secretary General said during the protest.
The fisherfolk group said the AFP has now nothing to do with the countryside as their counterinsurgency plan Oplan Bayanihan has already ended since last year.
Farmers from Southern Tagalog and Central Luzon regions will converge on January 20 to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the bloody Mendiola Massacre that killed 13 farmers and wounding many others who were asking for free distribution of land. ###