“We express our deepest sympathies to the families and friends of the slain Lumad farmers of Lianga. Their brutal death speaks of the appalling injustices committed by state armed forces and paramilitary groups perpetrated by the Duterte government against Lumad and other members of the national minority,” Amihan National Federation of Peasant Women national chairperson Zenaida Soriano said.

On June 15, 2021 at around 1pm, the group of Lumad farmers was harvesting abaca hemp in Sitio Panukmoan, Barangay Diatagon, Lianga, Surigao del Sur when troops belonging to the 3rd Special Battalion Force (SBF) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) indiscriminately fired at them which killed Willy Rodriguez, Lenie Rivas, and Angel Rivas.

According to the Save Our Schools Network, the victims were found with smashed faces and limbs, the two females Lenie and 12-year-old Angel, were found with shattered genitalia.

The soldiers brought the bodies of the victims to their brigade headquarters in St. Christine, Lianga and presented them as members of the New People’s Army.

“This is a result of Duterte’s ‘Barilin n’yo sa puke’ command and his macho-feudal tirades and ‘jokes’. Isa itong malinaw na kahayupan at paglapastangan ng mga militar sa mga inosenteng magsasaka at sibilyan. Anong klaseng tao ang makakagawa ng ganito sa isang labingdalawang taong gulang na bata?” exclaimed Soriano.

The peasant women group noted that based on Karapatan’s documentation, Lenie and Angel is the 43rd and 44th peasant women killed under Duterte while Angel is the 13th minor victim of extrajudicial killings.

“Gender and age does not matter in this regime’s killing spree. Speaking up for farmers’ rights to land, livelihood and justice and standing up against anti-farmer and anti-people policies will make you an enemy of the Duterte government, thus, target of rights abuses,” Soriano added.

“Lumad communities have been consistent targets of endless fascist attacks of the Duterte government. From the threat to bomb Lumad schools to its forced closure, illegal arrest and detention and extrajudicial killings and massacre of its leaders, volunteer teachers and supporters and forced evacuation of communities due to militarization. All in a desperate attempt to sell out their ancestral lands for plunder of mining and agricultural plantations,” Soriano said.

“These killings and attacks against Lumad should be ended. The military forces along with Duterte, the AFP’s Commander-in-Chief, should be held accountable for their brutal crimes against the peasantry, especially the women and minors,” Soriano added.

“We urge the public to stand with the Rodriguez and Rivas families as well as Lumad communities as they continue to fight for justice for all the victims of these atrocities and their right to their ancestral lands and self-determination. We call for the immediate pull out of military troops in Lumad communities, abolishment of the NTF ELCAC and the junking of the Anti-Terror Law which served as instruments to perpetuate human rights violations. Lastly, we call for the end of Duterte’s macho-fascist rule, waging a war against the peasantry and the marginalized sector,” Soriano ended. ###

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