MANILA, Philippines — “Unending brutal attacks” by government troops, sanctioned by President Rodrigo Duterte, may well drive farmers into taking up arms and joining communist rebels, an activist peasant organization warned Tuesday, November 28.
Antonio Flores, secretary general of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, accused the military of targeting peasant communities for retaliatory attacks meant for the New People’s Army.
“Majority of the farmers and activists killed, illegally arrested and unjustly detained were tagged as members of the NPA,” Flores said. “If that is now the case, then farmers might as well join the NPA, wield arms and fight fair. Resistance is our only option in this war roused by Duterte.”
Flores made the statement at a gathering of leaders of the KMP and Anakpawis party-list to discuss alleged abuses by state security forces.
The KMP officer said “there could have been a chance for peace and the resolution of the roots of the armed conflict but President Duterte scuttled it when he ended the peace talks” just as government and rebel negotiators signaled major advances in negotiations on social and economic reforms.
He also said the “revolutionary government” Duterte has publicly suggested he might declare is a “veil” for “setting up a fascist dictatorship.”
“We reject Duterte’s fake revolutionary government,” Flores said. “History has taught us that fascist dictators and despots are overthrown and toppled through collective action and people power.”
He accused Duterte of seeking to control all legal institutions and to “silence and kill all forms of political dissent.”
But, he predicted, “Duterte has planted terror. He will definitely reap revolt.”
Flores said the KMP will be mobilizing and joining nationwide protests on November 30, Bonifacio Day, which is incidentally the same day Duterte supporters say they will hold rallies to declare the “revolutionary government,” and on December 10, International Human Rights Day.
The KMP also released a fact-sheet of alleged atrocities against peasant under Duterte: