AMIHAN Northern Mindanao
The administration of Pres. Benigno Aquino III seriously puts into doubt the respect for human rights of the farmers in the country. Aquino III is heir to the vast Hacienda Luisita Incorporated landholdings where, in 2004, 14 farmer leaders were massacred in front of its gates for protesting a bogus land distribution scheme that virtually dodges coverage from former President Corazon Aquinos agrarian reform program. The now infamous Hacienda Luisita Massacre continues to hound the Aquino presidency.
The neglect of the plights of the farmers is becoming a central human rights issue under the present administration, further illustrated by this new brutal incident in Central Mindanao.
We, the members of AMIHAN Northern Mindanao, a coalition of 43 community-based organizations of peasant women in the Region, deeply revile the acts of violence committed by the Security Guards under Chevron Security Agency against the peaceful protest of the Buffalo-Tamaraw-Limus (Bukidnon Free Farmers and Agricultural Laborers Association Triad Agricultural Manpower of Rural Active Workers Landless Tillers Inhabitants of Musuan) on June 14, 2011.
We condemn the indiscriminate firing of the guards on the protesters, consequently wounding six farmers Winnie Loable, Jose Benimerito, Marilou Portin, Abelardo Jardin, Larry de Vera and Gregorio Santillan.The guards also tore down the kampuhan (protest camps), took away the cooking utensils and other essentials, and destroyed the groups loudspeaker to stop them from continuing their protest.
We salute BTL Womens Association member Marilou Portin, and all the other BTL members in kampuhan, for courageously fighting for their rights despite the threats posed on them by the Central Mindanao University and its hired goons. Their plight has been long, more than a decade, and yet they continue to stand by their principles and hope for the realization of their demands.
We call on the Local Government Unit of Bukidnon to act for the immediate arrest of guards and the authorities responsible for the incident, and to assist in the treatment of the wounded farmers. Moreover, we challenge them to support the call of the farmers for a genuine agrarian reform that would not just dangle their land ownership in front of them and take it away when it is already within their reach.
We call for the Central Mindanao University president, Maria Luisa Soliven, be made accountable for the incident this early, and call for her suspension to prevent her from interfering with the necessary investigations.
We call for the cancellation of Chevron Security Agencys permit to operate. They are not protectors of anything but brutal hired goons who, like rabid guard dogs, would bite and kill at the beck and call of their master.
We call on the human rights workers and advocates, and the international community to reverberate the condemnation against the extent of the culture of impunity in Bukidnon a reflection of what is happening in many parts of the Philippines and extend assistance for the medication and other needs of the victims and the protestors now in crises because hunger and diseases.
Most importantly, we call on the Government of the Philippines to review the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms (CARPER). Despite the few boasted successes of the program, most of the Bukidnon farmers do not support CARPER because they are its victims.
April Argen Pat B. Marzon
Staff, Amihan NMR
+639052472573 / +639996221291
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