Manila, Philippines – In the marking the 11th United Nations International Day of the Rural Women, the Amihan or National Federation of Peasant Women marched and protested in front of Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City to demand its call “Stop Militarization Now!” and Duterte regime’s attacks against the Filipino peasant women, across the country. It added that militarization of peasant communities usually victimizes peasant women and children. The protest, joined by members of Anakpawis Party-list and other peasant groups, was highlighted by the setting up of a roulette or “Roleta ng mga Abuso ni Duterte at AFP sa Kababaihang Magsasaka.”

“While the world recognizes the invaluable contribution of peasant women to development, the Duterte regime does the opposite. Already engrossed in chronic landlessness, poverty and hunger, Duterte worsens it by direct fascist attacks legitimized by his various authoritarian issuances,” Amihan National Chairperson Zenaida Soriano said during the protest.

Peasant communities in Mindanao have been subjected to massive military operations due to the martial law, while Duterte’s Memorandum Order 32 enabled government armed forces to attack peasant communities in Negros, Samar and Bicol. The latest victim was lumad teacher Melissa Comiso and executive of the Rural Missionaries Program literacy program in the Caraga region. She was arrested on October 10 and accused of fabricated charges.

The 2019 theme set by the UN is “Rural Women and Girls Building Climate Resilience”.

“Duterte’s armed goons continue to attack peasant women activists who are asserting rights to land and livelihood, defending the environment from destructive projects, and who cultivate crops contributing to the food security in the country. Instead of being protected, we are being attacked by Duterte,” she added.

She said that many internal refugee peasant women or “bakwit” are in Manila, such as the peasant women of Quezon, Cavite and Rizal province and lumad students from Mindanao. Militarization has totally disrupted their daily lives in the farms and caused mass trauma and mental health issues.

“We appeal to the people to echo our calls and uphold the rights of the Filipino peasant women in the country. Duterte is attacking every marginalized sector in the country. He is a tyrant and a dictator. He has no moral ground to remain as president and must be removed from the seat of power,” Soriano ended. ###

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