De Lima deplores senseless killings of nine farmers


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Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has deplored the senseless killings of nine farmers in Sagay City, Negros Occidental as she lambasted the Duterte administration’s blatant encouragement of killings of individuals who get in the way of its policies.

De Lima said the tragic shooting of nine farmers is a grim reflection of the decades-old failure of the government’s agrarian reform program to extricate poor Filipino farmers from vicious and degrading cycle of poverty.

“Nakakagalit at nakakalungkot na humantong tayo sa sitwasyong kamatayan ang tugon sa pagsusumikap ng ating mga magsasakang pagyamanin ang lupa, ibsan ang kanilang gutom at ipaglaban ang kanilang karapatan,” she said in her recent Dispatch from Crame No. 409.

“At sino ba ang naghikayat at nagpauso sa mga nangyayaring patayan ngayon sa ating bayan? Hindi ba mismong Si Presidente Duterte at ang kanyang war on drugs?” she asked.

Based on news accounts, nine members of the National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW) started their “bungkalan” activity where peasants occupy and cultivate idle portions of private lands when the shooting happened in Hacienda Nene last Oct. 21.

The nine fatalities reportedly succumbed to multiple gunshot wounds and burns.

The NFSW has also reportedly condemned the incident, saying that landlords who are “deathly afraid of the unified strength of the farmers” use “brute force and even killings to attack farmers” who are only asserting their rights.

Like the thousands of deaths in the war on drugs, the Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development said the Filipino people cannot remain numb and lose these kinds of incidents from their collective memory.

She said that an impartial and thorough investigation should be conducted by the government to give justice to the victims and their families.

“This is impunity in one of its worst forms,” she said, adding that “we must continue to demand for justice of perpetrators including those who encouraged such dastardly acts.”

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