With 91 peasants slain in 14 months, monthly kill rate under Duterte higher than 2 predecessors

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A Karapatan poster of peasant couple Ramon and Leonila Pesadilla, members of the Compostela Valley Farmers Association, who were murdered March 2 by gunmen who barged into their home in Barangay Osmena, Compostela town, Compostela Valley. The two were active in opposinng the encroachment of large-scale mining. Before they were killed, they had donated a parcel of land for the Salugpungan Ta Tanu Igkanugon Community Learning Center, a school for lumad children.

MANILA, Philippines – The human rights organization Karapatan has accused the Duterte government of carrying out “not only the massacre of urban poor communities,” referring to the killings in the course of the war on drugs, but also “the systematic killing of farmers in the countryside.”

According to its documentation, Karapatan (KARAPATAN: Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights) indicated that, of the 98 political killings it had recorded during President Rodrigo Duterte’s first 14 months – from July 2016 to the end of September this year – some 91 had victimized peasants.

Comparing this to Duterte’s two immediate predecessors, the human rights group said it recorded 603 peasants killed from January 2001 to June 2010, the nine-year presidency of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo; and 270 under the six-year term of Benigno Aquino III from July 2010 to June 2016.

InterAksyon computed the monthly average of peasant killings based on Karapatan’s figures and found that the rate under the Duterte was higher than under Arroyo and Aquino.

Duterte:

  • 91 killings
  • July 2016 to September 2017 (14 months)
  • 5 killings a month

Aquino:

  • 270 killings
  • July 2010 to June 2016 (66 months)
  • 4 a month (rounded off)

Arroyo:

  • 603 killing
  • January 2001 to June 2010 (114 months)
  • 5 killings a month (rounded off)

Karapatan said “farmers and local peasant organizations have borne the brunt of incessant attacks perpetrated by State security forces” under the counterinsurgency program Oplan Kapayapaan.

“Labeling peasant communities and their leaders as ‘enemies of the State,’ the Duterte regime has copied from the same handbook that his predecessors have used as a guide to repress people’s struggles,” Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay said in a statement.

She noted that many of the peasants allegedly murdered by State actors came from organizations that have campaigned for farmers’ rights — such as agrarian reform — and an end to the militarization of their communities, but added that “this is not a new trend” since “Duterte is a mere rusty, old, and rambling replica of past regimes, his policies have yielded the same results, albeit with increasing frequency and brutality.”

KARAPATAN’S TALLY OF PEASANTS MURDERED UNDER THE DUTERTE ADMINISTRATION: