On August 29, nine Moro peasants were gunned down by the police after getting off their motorcycles within the University of Southern Mindanao campus. Two of the victims were minors. 32 empty shells from different high-powered firearms were found on site.
Today, September 1, the Commission on Human Rights confirmed that the massacre of the Kabacan 9 had, indeed, been perpetrated by the police, and therefore considered extra-judicial killings. The confirmation came from the dying declaration of one of the victims who had managed to give his testimony before losing his life.
The CHR’s announcement arrived on the fifth anniversary of the Lianga Massacre, in which Manobo leaders Dionel Campos and Datu Juvello Sinzo as well as beloved educator Emerito Samarca, executive director of the Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural Development (ALCADEV), were executed by Magahat-Bagani paramilitary forces right in front of ALCADEV students.
The Kabacan Massacre took place just three days after the Mindanao Interfaith Services Foundation Inc. (MISFI) Academy was left in ruins by approximately 50 members of the paramilitary group Bagani in Bukidnon, and six days after another Manobo leader who stood against development aggression, Bae Milda Ansado, was shot dead in Magpet town, her throat slashed and eyes removed.
The massacre also came on the heels of serial bombings by the 7th Infantry Battalion of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in Zambales that led to the evacuation of 659 Aeta families. Forms of torture, including the forcible feeding of manure, were reportedly committed by elements of the AFP.
Attacks on the peasantry have been becoming more frequent–and more brutal–since the assassination of peasant leader Randall Echanis in Quezon City, who received 40 stab wounds before a fatal blow to the aorta last August 10. National minorities in particular have been suffering the brunt of this recent spate of state terrorism.
Sama-samang Artista para sa Kilusang Agraryo condemns these attacks either perpetrated or sanctioned by the fascist Duterte regime, whose anti-peasant policies and measures have killed at least 274 peasants. In four years, President Duterte has managed to surpass former President Noynoy Aquino’s record of 270 peasant killings in six.
Whom the regime won’t kill with its inutile response to the COVID-19 pandemic, it will kill with guns, bombs, knives, or shit. Frontliners in both healthcare facilities and farmlands are dying, and their blood is on the hands of the President, his heartless bureaucrats, his merciless dogs in the police and the military, and his soulless accomplices among the big landlords and comprador bourgeoisie.
There can be no peace while this fascist is in power. Either Duterte resigns, or we oust him.