Justice for Atty. Ben Ramos
The leaders and members of the National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW) in North Negros condemn the killing of people’s lawyer, Atty. Ben Ramos. The sugar workers of North Negros mourn the passing of a truly dependable friend and comrade. Amid our bereavement, and despite these vicious attacks against our ranks, the peasants of Negros are ever determined to continue the struggle for social justice.
The relatives and survivors of the Sagay massacre and other Negros peasants who have become victims of the brutal repression carried out by the local government and the US-Duterte regime, have lost a fierce defender of their rights. As Secretary General of the National Union of Peoples’s Lawyers (NUPL) in Negros Island, Atty. Ramos was a close ally of peasants and farm workers oppressed by anti-people laws, policies and programs.
Farmers run to Atty. Ramos to help them face the countless charges fabricated by landlords and the state. They could call him anytime whenever they need to consult him on rights cases, legal remedies, trainings and legal clinics, and other concerns that require his expertise. We had Atty. Ramos by our side in our call to implement genuine land reform; he was with farm workers, peasants and the people long-deprived of owning the land they till.
The death of Atty. Ramos will bring forth more allies and defenders of the peasants. His was a profound death, a death so heavy, it is deeply grieved by the farmers and the people. Unlike the lives of those who serve only their selfish interests, such as those behind the fatal shooting of Atty. Ramos, the massacre of Sagay 9, and the deaths of other peasants who became victims of extra-judicial killings (EJK). The lives of the culprits are worthless to the people; their deaths are light as a feather.
The killing of Atty. Ramos is now included in the long list of EJKs in the country. The struggling masses and their supporters have become easy targets of state agents, their various armed groups and hired guns. The perpetrators are allowed to run free and evade responsibility with impunity.
If this government can neither respond to nor defend the interests of the peasants and the people, where would those oppressed by the state itself run to for help? If this government cannot dispense justice, whom must the people turn to?
Along with the people calling for justice for the Sagay 9 massacre, we also call for justice for Atty. Ben Ramos and all victims of EJK. The people of Negros shall continue the struggle for justice!
Federation of Agricultural Workers | Philippines