Rural Missionaries condemn continued killings of farmers: 5 victims in about a week, from Nueva Ecija and Isabela
Manila, Philippines - The women and men, priests, clergy and lay workers of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP) denounced the merciless killing of four (4) farmers in Fort Magsaysay Military Reservation (FMMR) in Laur, Nueva Ecija last September 3, 2016 and the extra-judicial killing of an Isabela peasant leader in yesterday, in Delfin Albano town of the said province. RMP joined the nation in calling for justice for the victims, disband all the private armies and a realization of genuine agrarian reform in our country.
“We strongly condemn this latest atrocity to the Rural Poor. We are saddened that these farmers’ demand is only to have lands to till and provide food for their families but fell victims to human rights violations in our country,” stated by Sr. Ellen Belardo, RGS, National Coordinator of RMP.
“We join the prayer of every Filipino for the massacre victims Violeta Mercado, Emerenciana Mercado dela Rosa, Gaudencio Bagalay and Eulogio Barbado; and the victim of extra-judicial killings, Ariel Diaz, chairperson of Dagami Isabela peasant organization and organizer of Uma agri-workers group,” Belardo said.
Reports from RMP Central Luzon, stated that the recent attack in Laur, Nueva Ecija is a perpetuation of the long-running series of abuses to farmers and residents who are claiming rights for the 3,100 hectares of land against the land grabbers and speculators. Since 2015, cases of burning of farmers’ hut and destroying their crops continue and until the latest incident.
Meanwhile, the case of Diaz, as an active leader and organizer of peasant organizations in Isabela province, became a target as he was a staunch opposition of government and private projects such as the sugar and cassava plantation for bio-ethanol. He opposed government forces and private armies who are securing the projects.
“Again, we call on Pres. Rodrigo Duterte to immediately resolve the issue of landlessness, and realize genuine agrarian reform; and put a stop to the killings of Filipino farmers, as well as, incarcerate all the perpetrators,” ended by Belardo. ###
The RMP is a national organization, inter-congregational and inter-diocesan in character, of women and men religious, priests and lay. We live and work with the peasants (farmers, fisherfolks, indigenous peoples and agricultural workers).