By ILPS Commission 6
The International League of Peoples’ Struggle Commission 6, in behalf of all its member organizations, condemns in the highest possible terms the Aquino government of the Philippines for the massacre perpetrated by the government forces to Kidapawan farmers. We also stand with the Filipino peasantry and the people in their call for justice and an end to militarization in Mindanao, Southern Philippines.
On April 1, military and police forces of the Philippine government sprayed live bullets to protesting farmers in Kidapawan, North Cotabato in Mindanao. Led by the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP)1, more than 6,000 peasants have barricaded the provincial road since March 30 to call for the release of the 15,000 sacks of rice promised as assistance for El Nino-stricken farmers, and for the immediate pull-out of military troops from peasant communities. But instead of heeding the calls of the farmers and giving what is due them, the landlord Aquino government through the local Philippine National Police (PNP) and the local government through its governor replied with violence.
The brutal crackdown claimed at least 2 lives, ten (10) people with gun shot wounds and are still confined in the hospital, 78 individuals were illegally arrested and were charged with direct assault. According to the National Fact Finding Mission led by Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), Karapatan and Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN), in the first 24 hours, 34 injuries of various degrees have been served, twenty-two (22) of which were gunshot related wounds: (9 grazed wounds and 13 splinters). The rest were blunt trauma cases (contusions) caused by truncheons and other hard objects. 4 patients were also catered due to Acute Stress Reaction because of intense fear and hyper-vigilance that needed sedation.
Up until now, government troops are harassing the peasant communities in North Cotabato, with warrants of arrest looming over their heads, which is a known tactic of the Aquino regime.
This is not the first massacre under an Aquino administration. The hands of the landlord clan Cojuangco-Aquino have been stained with the blood of peasants since time immemorial. This massacre is redolent of the Mendiola massacre2 under the first Aquino administration and the Hacienda Luisita Massacre3 in the heart of the Cojuangco-Aquinos’ land estate, among others. In fact, the Aquino government and the obscene rule of landlords remain the largest obstacle to genuine agrarian reform in the Philippines and to the development of peasant communities in the country in general.
The Aquino government will pay for this carnage, and it will pay dearly. The history of peasant movements of the world is nothing if not instructive.
In solidarity we link arms with the families of the victims of the Kidapawan Massacre – their clenched calloused fists are their medals of valour.
We call upon the peasantry, fisherfolk, agricultural workers, rural women, and rural peoples of the world to stand with the victims of the Kidapawan Massacre, the Filipino peasantry and rural people in their struggle for land. Let us stand united against all forms of state terrorism and reaction.
Food not bullets!
Justice for all the victims of the Kidapawan Massacre!
Fight state oppression and state terrorism!
Down with feudalism!
1 Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) is a democratic and militant movement of landless peasants, small farmers, farm workers, rural youth and peasant women. It has effective leadership over a total of 1.3 million rural people with 65 provincial chapters and 15 regional chapters nationwide.
2 the Mendiola massacre happened on January 22, 1987 where thousands of farmers calling for genuine agrarian reform led by KMP were met with a cascade of bullets by government forces under the Aquino regime.
3 the Hacienda Luisita massacre transpired on November 16, 2004 where farm workers and agricultural workers of Hacienda Luisita were brutally sprayed with bullets by government forces and security guards of the Cojuangco-Aquino clan – landlords of Hacienda Luisita.