Tell it to Sunstar: Who will feed the farmers?
It has always been red.
Nine farmers including women and children were killed in Hacienda Nene Sagay City, Negros Occidental on October 20, 2018.
A total of 172 peasants were killed in the Duterte administration. The murdered farmers were organized agricultural sugar workers. They held “bungkalan” earlier that day and were resting when they were gunned down.
According to reports, one of them had bullets worth a magazine of M-16 in his head, three had their bodies burned by the assailants.
The Philippine Army tagged the peasants involved in the “bungkalan” in Negros as supporters of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People’s Army (NPA), its armed wing earlier this year.
Nonetheless, the NFSW states that the “bungkalan” is the farmers’ way to feed their families now that it is Tiempo Muerto or dead season of the sugar industry and the LCA’S were lands under agrarian reform that are undistributed.
Seven out of 10 farmers do not have their own land, according to the data of National Network of Agrarian Reform Advocates- Network (NNARA Youth).
There are agrarian reforms on paper that remain only partially executed. In addition to having no own land to till, farmers also suffer from backward way of farming as in manual process or renting tools and equipment from the landlords for a high price from their low wage.
The agricultural sugar workers are said to earn an average of 500-750 pesos weekly.
It’s ironic how the Philippines is an agricultural country yet we import rice and our farmers are poor. Agriculture is a determining factor in the success of industry yet the system remains feudal.
Philippine National Police chief Director General Oscar Albayalde said in a press briefing that one of the angles they are looking at is the NPA doing the killing spree to blame it on the government and gather empathy from the people. The state forces labelled the agricultural sugar workers as NPA before and now they pinpoint the massacre as doing of the same armed group.
Another angle is the landlord hiring private goons to kill the tillers since some claim that Hacienda Nene is uncovered of the agrarian reform. Whether a hacienda is covered by the reform or not, no landlord should justify killing farmers occupying it.
Malacañang said that officials assured that those behind the barbarous deed would be punished. Various groups demand justice and accountability.
One thing is clear: people are comfortable with legitimacy. Many people are not likely to support the revolutionary government just because of one government’s wrongdoing. People dissent when they see something is wrong. People rebel because of systemic oppression and long-term clamor that remain unheard.
The PNP claimed that the communists are plotting Duterte’s ouster this October, which they later said was postponed to December. Farmers’ group celebrate October as “Peasants’ Month.”
With the recent incident, we can see that October is red not because of rebel insurgency but because of the blood of the peasants brutally killed.
More than that, the country has been in bloodbath since the start of the current administration when the extrajudicial killings have become widespread and severe, like a de facto death penalty.
This is not the first massacre incident on farmers in Philippine history. Filipino farmers have long fight for genuine agrarian reforms. Up until now all they struggle for their sectoral interest to be uplifted.
Most of the 172 peasants killed in this administration were organized. They ask for lands, not bullets. -
Karen Bautista is a first year Bachelor Arts in Political Science student of theuniversity of the Philippines-manila of