According to Mallari, “Despite China’s experience with Syngenta, it has opted to take it over being one of the ‘Big Four’ agribusiness giants toward market monopolization through the exploitation of agricultural biotechnology. This was met with backlash from within China and other affected counties.”
The NVNSM documented cases of leaders and organizers of the Tuwali Ifugao people’s organizations leading the barricade experiencing a surge of vilification, red-tagging, surveillance, and intrusions in their homes by suspected personnel of Oceanagold. There are also threats of dispersal and harm against the barricade especially in light of Oceanagold’s failure to secure an injunction against Governor Carlos Padilla’s restraining order anchored on the expiration of Oceanagold’s Financial or Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA).
“The demand for an independent investigation is a respite for the Filipino people, especially the rural people who have to bear with poverty and militarization of their communities, from the spike of state-perpetrated attacks. More importantly, it will send the message to other UN member states like in Latin America and Asia where killings are just as rampant to address the situation and hold the perpetrators accountable,” Mallari said.
“We hope that the Belgrade Call to Action will push the governments of these countries to undertake appropriate measures that will put an end to the phenomenon of peasant killings and promote genuine agrarian reform to uplift farmers from their dire conditions,” Mallari stressed.
“IRRI failed to improve the lives of the farmers and end rural hunger as it had boasted. Worse, it has facilitated landgrabs, trapped farmers into debt bondage, and has dipped rice farmers’ income as its corporate funders have been profiting off farmers’ demise.” Mallari added.
The PCFS official vented her concern on the spate of massacres happening in Negros province, especially since Duterte declared it with two other provinces in a state of lawless violence under Memorandum Order No. 32. She said the island of Negros is known as the hacienda-capital in the Philippines as it is home to the largest landholdings still owned by landlords and to a large concentration of landless farmers. Similar massacres committed by military took place in Sagay City, Negros Occidental and Guihulngan, Negros Oriental, killing nine in October and six in December last year respectively. All victims were farmers actively campaigning on local issues.