The Amihan National Federation of Peasant Women condemned the continuing military operations in Quezon province including the towns of Catanauan, Buenavista, Lopez, San Narciso and Mulanay and called on the Duterte government to stop militarization of peasant communities and the immediate pull-out of military troops.

Reports from Tanggol Quezon, a multi-sectoral alliance of cause-oriented groups and religious organizations said that there have been continuous aerial bombing and strafing of military forces in 19 barangays situated in the towns of Lopez, Catanauan, Buenavista, Mulanay, and San Narciso as the military’s clearing operations under the 59th and 85th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army have continued in the area which resulted to damages and distress affecting almost 26,000 individuals.

According to Tanggol Quezon, the intensified military operations started following an encounter between the AFP and the New People’s Army last February 5.

“Duterte and his mercenary troops do not differentiate armed groups from civilians. They are mercilessly bombing every farming community, blinded by its madness to meet its deadline in ending communist insurgency by 2022. These are clear acts of state terrorism targeting civilians and farming communities,” Amihan national chairperson Zenaida Soriano said.

“Farmer families in Quezon are still feeling the brunt of the pandemic and the prolonged lockdown as well as the depressed farm gate prices of copra and coconut. What they need is immediate aid and production subsidy to ease their impoverished conditions and not armed soldiers sowing fear and causing additional distress,” Soriano added.

The peasant women group said that under the Duterte government’s Executive Order 70 and the NTF-ELCAC, more peasant communities have become victims of military abuses.

“Even without the formal implementation of the Anti-Terror Law, red-tagging, harassment, illegal arrest and detention and extrajudicial killings intensified perpetrated by military forces and various government officials under the Duterte government. Anti-Terror Law will only lead to more abuses and violations of human rights and international humanitarian law,” Soriano said.

“We urge various sectors to defend Quezon farmers and support the peasant communities in the call to stop militarization and pull-out of military troops. We should hold the Duterte government and its fascist forces accountable in terrorizing rural communities,” Soriano ended. ###

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