Political prisoners express support for farmers, calls the struggle for genuine land reform a “matter of life and death”

“91 farmers have already been killed under the Duterte regime, targeted because of their active involvement in peasant organizations to push forward the struggle for genuine land reform. Literally, the plight of farmers is a matter of life and death, especially in a feudal setting where agricultural lands are controlled by big landlords and agrobusiness corporations,” political prisoners stated in a statement.

 

Political prisoners from Camp Bagong Diwa and Caloocan City Jail expressed their deep support and solidarity for the Pambansang Lakbayan ng Magsasaka para sa Lupa at Laban sa Pasismo, a protest caravan that brought together farmers and fishermen from different parts of the country.

Political detainees also underscored that peasants are not only killed, but have also been the subject of political persecution and repression for voicing their demands. They added that majority of the 435 political prisoners in the country are peasants, jailed through defective warrants and trumped-up charges. They also raised the issue of corruption inside jails, the overcrowding in cells, and the snail-paced justice system – all of which adds up to the injustice that political prisoners endure.

Moreover, political prisoners added that the killings and illegal arrest and detention in the ranks of farmers  is a systematic attack on peasant communities who protest and bring to light the intensifying State repression in the country. Policies such as Duterte’s counterinsurgency program Oplan Kapayapaan has funded, instigated, and legitimized rights abuses done against farmers. For peasant political prisoners and farmers all over the country, the demand is simple and clear: Free land distribution! Land to the tillers!

The statement further expressed that the Duterte regime is a burden to farmers, and is now exposed as an instrument of landlords, businessmen, and foreign interests such as that of the United States. In this regard, political prisoners called for sectors to involve themselves in all forms of resistance against the Duterte regime’s fascist polices. “Isulong ang mas mataas na antas ng pakikibaka hanggang sa maibagsak ang mga ugat at salot sa lipunang Pilipino,” the statement concluded.

 

 

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