SAGAY City – Together with the National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW) and the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), Karapatan and other human rights and people’s organizations will start today the two-day National Fact Finding Mission (NFFM) on the recent massacre of nine farmers at the Hacienda Nene, Brgy. Bulanon, Sagay City in Negros Occidental. Representatives of organizations in the said mission will extend solidarity to the survivors and kin of victims in the massacre.

Leaders and documenters from the Unyon ng Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA), Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP), National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL), Promotion for Church People’s Response (PCPR), National Network of Agrarian Reform Advocates-Youth (NNARA-Youth), Gabriela Women’s Party, Gabriela Youth, Salinlahi, Children’s Rehabilitation Center, Kabataan Partylist, Northern Negros Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (NNAHRA), and Paghugpong sang mga Mangunguma sa Panay kag Guimaras (PAMANGGAS) also joined the said NFFM.

According to Clarizza Singson of Karapatan Negros, numerous spectacular angles have been floated by the Philippine National Police in their so-called investigation on the case.

“They allege that the leaders and organizers of the NFSW are those behind the massacre. In yet another disjointed angle, they say that the perpetrators are members of the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army, purportedly using their “mass base” in “Oplan Bungkalan at Okupasyon” to create untoward incidents which can be blamed on the government.”

“We view these statements by authorities as a prelude to other forms of whitewashing that are being employed to deny justice to the victims. These baseless statements serve as a diversion, thus enabling the perpetrators to evade accountability,” Singson added.

“The same malicious ruses were used by State forces during the Hacienda Luisita massacre and the Kidapawan carnage,” said Karapatan national vice chairperson Reylan Vergara.

“The same lame excuses were also used by State forces in the twelve other massacres of peasants under the Duterte regime. Parang sirang plaka na itong PNP at Armed Forces of the Philippines sa kanilang mga kagila-gilalas at baluktot na teorya sa mga kaso ng paglabag sa karapatang pantao,” Vergara added.

The National Fact Finding Mission will seek to not only look into the facts of the incident, but more importantly, to situate the gruesome massacre in the context that led to it and to recommend ways by which accountability can be sought.

“This independent investigation of people’s organizations and human rights groups will delve deeply into the root causes of poverty and agrarian unrest in Hacienda Nene and the over-all situation of peasants and farm workers in Negros – those that have plagued the island for years with the continuing feudal exploitation and oppression of peasants and the poor,” said Singson.

The mission will likewise look into the role of State forces in addressing the climate of impunity that persists in Negros and other parts of the country where peasants are being persecuted and killed because of their advocacies and organizing work.

“We are one with the Filipino people, most especially the majority of poor peasants in the country, in seeking justice for the Sagay 9 and all victims of human rights violations,” Vergara said./


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