Int’l fact-finding mission prove Duterte’s regime is murderous, fascist
An international fact-finding solidarity mission to far-flung communities in Mindanao revealed the brutality of the Duterte regime toward peasants, indigenous peoples and civilians especially under the agony brought by the still existing martial law rule.
The Philippines remain as one of the top importers of rice across the globe. But Filipino farmers, who tirelessly work day and night, continues to suffer from landlessness, hoax reforms and intensified fascist attacks from the government.
The country has a long-standing history of agrarian betrayal, from Corazon Aquino to Rodrigo Duterte. Independent think-tank IBON Foundation said in a study that landlessness remains a major problem in the country, with one-third of landlords and businesses controlling at least 80% of agricultural lands in the country. The study also stressed that half of all farms are under tenancy, lease and other forms of tenurial arrangements that further the problem of landlessness.
IBON also cited that 76% of agrarian reform beneficiaries are “unable to amortize the land granted to them and thus are at risk of losing their lands.”
The Philippine government has been massaging statistics in a poor and hopeless attempt to make it appear that land reform is progressing in the country. But they have continuously neglected the legitimate demands of the Filipino people, especially on achieving a genuine agrarian land reform. What they do instead is sustain the problem and let big landlords and international corporations benefit from the abundant Philippine lands.
And while trampling the democratic rights of the Filipino people, especially farmers, Duterte hurls his fascist and militaristic tactics and sows fear and terror against them.
Human rights workers and advocates participated in an International Fact-Finding Solidarity Mission last April 6–9 in Caraga, Northern Mindanao and Southern Mindanao regions. Their findings affirmed the continuing fact that state forces continue to sow fear and terror among peasants, agricultural workers, national minorities and residents in Mindanao to halt them in their fight for land, rights and justice.
The fact-finding delegation was harassed and held at checkpoints for multiple times. Sr. Patricia Fox, an Australian missionary now facing deportation, was one of the human rights workers who joined a team in the Southern Mindanao region. It was also participated by leaders and legislators like former Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano, former congressman Satur Ocampo and Fernando Hicap, incumbent Makabayan bloc representatives Ariel Casilao (Anakpawis), Carlos Zarate (Bayan Muna), Antonio Tinio (Act Teachers), France Castro (Act Teachers) and Sarah Elago (Kabataan), along with other human rights workers from various international peasant and solidarity groups and land reform advocates.
Cases of human rights violations have risen to alarming proportions since Duterte declared martial law in May 2017 and extended it up until the end of this year. Duterte has utilized his rapacious cretins from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police to unleash barbarity and despotism, along with a determined campaign to discourage poor peasants from asserting their land rights.
Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas proved the money-making modus of the military: an unforgiving rebel surrender campaign to civilians and farmers. In a news report, the AFP said NPA surrenderees are now at 2,000 particularly in Compostela Valley and Agusan del Sur.
“Our government is very much sincere to assist those CPP-NPAs who wanted to return to the fold of the government and avail the peace and development program through the Comprehensive Local Integration Program (CLIP),” said First Lt. Jhocell D. Asis, Civil Military Operation (CMO) officer of the 71st IB, in a statement sent to The Manila Bulletin.
In Southern Mindanao, fact-finding mission teams documented 428 forced surrenderees, while in Caraga and Northern Mindanao, there were 12 and 18 respectively.
The military earns from the reward offered by the government while those who have been forced to surrender continue to live an impoverished life. Last February, Duterte offered a bounty for rebels at Php 25,000 each to save on “anti-insurgency costs.”
Ten members of the 1st Special Forces Company ransacked the house of Winerio Sinaday, 63. His son, Rodgie, 33, recounted that his father was forcibly brought to the Mampayad detachment in Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon. Winerio was accused as a commander of the New People’s Army (NPA). After two weeks of detention, Winerio was released on the condition that he should report to the Mampayad detachment every week. If this condition was not met, he will be recaptured again. The military came back and is now accusing Rodgie also as an NPA commander.
The mission cited trends in the documented political killings among farmers and land reform advocates. They were usually involved in local peasant struggles and killings were rampant — they were attacked near their homes in the presence of family members. The vicious killings were perpetrated by masked gunmen, some of whom were known assets of operating military units and several who were killed were accused as members and supporters of the NPA.
Cases of forced evacuation in Lumad communities also heightened this year. Lumad families from at least eight sitios in Talaingod, Davao del Norte, were forced to evacuate starting February due to heightened military attacks.
Aside from the continuing fascist attacks, the Duterte government, a clear lapdog of the United States, has already assured his cronies of their share of the spoils of the ruins in Marawi. They have heavily salivated for the wide selection of lands to control for their own interest. In fact, according to officials from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, World Bank “experts” will take part in creating a rehabilitation plan for projects to be undertaken in Marawi.
The oppressed have no choice but to fight back. With the fascism-stricken conditions, resistance will only strengthen. As a lapdog of the United States, Duterte is undeniably the terrorist in this country. The Filipino people have no other path to tread but the route to an intensified militancy and struggle. The Filipino people should dismantle, resist and frustrate his repressive regime.
At the heart of this fascist and murderous attacks by the US-Duterte regime is the perennial problem of landlessness among poor peasants in the face of exploitative monopoly control of landlords and compradors.
Duterte’s supporters, with his charlatan army of trolls and paid pseudo-journalists, will be heavily slammed with the heart-breaking facts from the fact-finding mission. Human rights workers and the Filipino people continue to prove how cold-blooded and vicious the Duterte regime is.
The infamous cheap dictator wannabe admitted murdering someone “over a look” as a teenager. True enough, old habits die hard.