Another farmer killed in Mindanao, says peasant group

THE militant peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) today condemned the extrajudicial killing of another farmer leader in Zamboanga Del Sur in Mindanao three days before the commemoration of International Human Rights Day tomorrow.

Rolando Quijano, a farmer and active member of Alliance of Farmers Union in Zamboanga Del Sur (AFUZS-KMP) was shot to death at around 12:00 noon last Friday at Purok 4, Barangay Ocapan, San Miguel Town in the province of Zamboanga Del Sur by suspected elements of the 53rd Infantry Battalion – Philippine Army.

The peasant group said the 53rd IBPA has long been camped in Barangay Ocapan and has built a military detachment inside the village.

“The extrajudicial killing of Quijano by suspected state security forces clearly shows that the culture of impunity prevails under the Aquino administration,” says KMP spokesperson Antonio Flores.

Flores said “Quijano’s relatives and colleagues believe his death was due to his active opposition to large-scale mining and illegal logging in Zamboanga Del Sur.”

“Worse,” Flores said, “Quijano’s death occurred at the height of the Mindanao farmers and human rights advocates’ lakbayan here in Manila to protest the unabated killings linked to the large-scale mining in the South.”

“The climate of impunity remains and it’s a blood-stained Human Rights Day for the Aquino administration. Aquino’s human rights record is tainted by the blood of the Filipino peasantry,” the peasant leader said.

The KMP also assailed the Aquino administration’s counter-insurgency operation plan “Bayanihan” for the killing of Quijano.

“Oplan Bayanihan enjoy the blessings of the haciendero President because it conceals the escalating terror and human rights abuses perpetrated by the military against farmers with the very same anti-peasant peace and development projects by the government,” Flores said referring to the government’s alleged “sell-out of vast tracts of lands and resources to mining firms.”

“We hold Aquino as commander-in-chief of the armed forces responsible for the death of Quijano and all other farmers killed under his administration,” Flores added.

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