AFP ‘pests’ to Catubig farmers—PKM-EV
The Eastern Visayas-based chapter of Pambansang Katipunan ng mga Magbubukid (PKM), the revolutionary mass organization of farmers, calls as “military infestation” the intensified encampment of peasant communities in Catubig a month after the brutal killing of the 20th Infantry Battalion of two children in Barangay Roxas, Catubig.
“It is harvest season for the farmers of Catubig valley, considered as rice granary of the region. But farmers are afraid to tend their farms for fear of being strafed by fascist soldiers, just as how innocent children gathering copra were intently and mercilessly fired upon one month ago,” PKM-EV said.
The revolutionary organization underscored that militarization doubly worsens the infestation of their farms which has seen significantly reduced production levels this harvest season and affected the peasants’ livelihood. Rats, worms, and the black bug widely infested their farmlands. PKM also received reports of cases of swine fever that led to several deaths since January of this year.
“This debunks the development posturing of AFP-PNP under the pretext of Retooled Community Support Program (RCSP). These fascist criminals worsen rural poverty by impeding the local peasants’ economic activities because of their garrisoning of entire barrios and the climate of fear thus engendered,” PKM-EV said.
Peasants in Barangay Roxas report of restriction of mobility and barrio checkpoint, not to mention the intense surveillance and interrogation of residents in the barrio. Soldiers also forbid them to tend their farms beyond 3PM.
The AFP-PNP agents also swarm neighboring communities such San Jose (Hebobollao), San Francisco, Calingnan, Hitapi-an, C.M. Recto (Lobedico), among others. Fascist troops make rounds even in the middle of the night, subjecting innocent farmers to hostile interviews and accusing them either as members or supporters of NPA. They round up residents for various meetings, forcing them to have their names “cleared” and declare the revolutionary movement as “persona non grata”.
PKM-EV said the AFP-PNP intensifies military occupation and beefs up their terrorist attacks against civilians as part of the Duterte regime’s desperate and futile goal to crush all forms of the people’s resistance, including armed struggle, so he can perpetuate himself in power.
“Peasants in Catubig and elsewhere in the country must combat and frustrate the climate of fear instigated in communities. They must expose and oppose the gross and systematic human rights violations against civilians that only worsen the increasingly intolerable poverty in the countryside,” PKM-EV ended.