Militant groups renew call: End militarization in agri areas

By: CNU Intern June 15,2018 - 07:50 PM

Militant groups in Cebu is calling on the government to end of militarization in agricultural areas as they continue to demand for a genuine agrarian reform program.

The groups alleged that the military have been abusing farmers in agricultural areas.

According to the data gathered by the militant group, Anakpawis, farmers were killed in 152 cases, majority of which were found in Mindanao (140 cases) that is still under Martial Law.

Rep. Ariel Casilao of Anakpawis cited the government’s Build Build Build program as one of the reasons the farmers were targeted.

Casilao said that the program would use agricultural lands and covert them into ecotourism spots and to pave way for mining companies.

“We have agricultural lands, in fact, we still have 7,000,000 hectares of agricultural public lands waiting for distribution, but the government prioritizes agricultural lands for special economic zones,” Casilao said.

He said that the agricultural lands should be given to the rural poor farmers.

When sought for comment, Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco, who was in Cebu on Friday, said that those who claimed to be abused to present a position paper so that action would be taken by the President Rodrigo Duterte.

Kung naa silay ingon ana nga claims. Let the victims speak. Mosulat lang sila sa Presidente aron naay basis ang Presidente to investigate. Di man na ingon ana nga motuo dayon, i-investigate man gyod na. (If they have claims, then let the victims speak. Write the President so that there will basis for the President to investigate the claims. It’s not that we will believe what they claim at face value, these would be investigated and verified first.) If there are claims of abuse, let those who claimed to be abused come up with a position paper, so that the President can order an investigation,” Evasco said.

Casilao said that the mistake of the current government was that they did not take lessons coming from past regimes regarding militarization.

“You cannot solve the problem of landlessness and call for a genuine agrarian reform by military means,” He added.

Col. Medel Aguilar, Armed Forces of the Philippines Central Command (AFP-Centcom) spokesman, refused to comment on the issue. / Bea Samantha Esteves , CNU Intern with reports from Reporter Nestle L. Semilla and Correspondent Rosalie O. Abatayo

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TAGS: agri areas, call, end, groups, militant, militarization, renew

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