Why So Many Filipino Farmers Are Being Killed
For many people in the U.S. who have had to rethink or diversify where they get their food, COVID has called increased attention to the critical role of farmers, and has in many cases strengthened our relationship to local agriculture. In the Philippines, the pandemic has also opened people's eyes to the importance of those who grow the country's food.
That's why, in large part, it has become such big news that so many of those farmers are being targeted and killed by the government for fighting for their right to own the land that they work.
According to a joint statement by KMP (The Peasant Movement of the Philippines) and A Growing Culture, since President Rodrigo Duterte came to power in July 2016, there have been 288 documented killings of peasants, farmworkers and fisherfolk related to land dispute cases and advocacy for agrarian reform, including 87 farmers since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
These are alarming numbers, and the details of what's happening on the ground — hit-lists, farm massacres, crackdown on dissent, impunity for the perpetrators — are even worse. Daniel recently interviewed Danilo Ramos, National Chairman of KMP, to learn more about what's going on. Danilo has been at the forefront of the fight for agrarian reform in the Philippines for decades, and continues to be a public face of this movement even though it's putting his life in danger.
If you're interested at all in what it's like to be a small farmer, in this country or any other, I think it's worth reading what Danilo has to say.
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