Condemn mass arrest of close to 100 farmers in Tarlac
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) joins the Filipino people in strongly condemning the Philippine National Police (PNP) for the mass arrest of 92 farmers and brutal dispersal of the community land preparation activity (referred to as bungkalan or collective farming) of farmers and their supporters in Hacienda Tinang, Concepcion, Tarlac yesterday. The farmers are being maliciously linked by the police to the New People’s Army. They are being charged with “malicious mischief” and “obstruction of justice.”
Farmers of the Malayang Kilusang Samahan ng Magsasaka ng Tinang (MAKISAMA-Tinang), together with their supporters, were preparing two hectares of land when the police came to disrupt the peaceful activity. Their supporters included students and campus journalists from different universities, and artists and advocates for land reform.
According to MAKISAMA-Tinang, their members are rightful holders of Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOA) under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) covering 200 hectares of land. They, however, continue to be denied their right to till their own land.
The problem of the Hacienda Tinang peasants is a microcosm of the bigger problem of landlessness across the country and puts to light the worsening situation of farmers under the bogus CARP and CARPER. It exposes the program as a big sham. Today marks the 34th year of CARP.
The brutal dispersal and mass arrest of farmers in Tarlac is the fourth violent incident of police brutality and suppression of the people’s right to peaceably assemble since the proclamation of Marcos Jr as president of the reactionary government. Days away from Marcos Jr’s inauguration, the police is displaying state fascist thuggery to suppress protests and tyrannize the people.
The police suppression of the people’s democratic rights is foreboding of the more brutal things to come under the Marcos II regime. Marcos wants to suppress all forms of dissent and resistance in order to promote the false optics of “unity.”
We hold Gen. Vicente Danao, acting chief of the PNP, directly accountable for the brutal mass arrest and dispersal of the community farmers’ activity in Tarlac. Recall that last week, Gen. Danao gave clear orders to suppress any form of mass actions, in an act of ingratiating himself to Marcos Jr.
The Filipino people must continue to collectively raise their voice against intensifying police and state repression and support farmers in their just demand for genuine land reform. They must not allow themselves to be silenced and cowed in the face of the return of the Marcoses to power.\#