The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) condemns in the strongest terms possible the massacre of nine farm workers in Hacienda Nene, Purok Fire Tree, Barangay Bulanon, Sagay City in Negros Occidental last Saturday evening.
The Sagay massacre is indubitably the handiwork of the big landlords and warlords and perpetrated by their military- and police-backed private armies. According to witness accounts, the farm workers were resting in a makeshift tent when around 40 armed men arrived past 9pm at the area and sprayed gunfire at them. The shooting lasted for ten minutes. The perpetrators then poured gasoline and set the place on fire burning three of the corpses.
The massacre took place in a 75-hectare sugarcane field. The farmers, who belonged to the National Federation for Sugar Workers (NFSW), were asserting their right to cultivate the idle land for food. Earlier that morning, they had started to till the land to plant corn and mongo.
The brutal Sagay massacre shows the extent of ruthlessness to which the ruling classes of big landlords resort to in order to defend their interests in the face of a restive and assertive peasant masses. Big landlords, who contribute nothing to production, accumulate riches on the blood and sweat of the poor peasants and farm workers.
The Sagay massacre is the latest of the relentless fascist attacks against the peasant masses under the Duterte regime across the country. The brutal campaign of armed suppression is especially brutal in Negros where a number of peasant leaders and activists have been gunned down. There are at least 44 cases of political killings under the Duterte regime.
For having incited fascist impunity and state terrorism, the CPP holds the Duterte fascist regime ultimately responsible for the massacre. To deflect blame, Duterte’s officials are now scorning the farm workers for “illegal occupation” and defending the landlord for “defending his property.”
A few months ago, the Hacienda Nene farm workers were accused by the military as being supporters of the NPA. In its desperation to cover up the crime, Duterte’s police officials now accuse the NPA of having perpetrated the brutal massacre.
The Sagay massacre exemplifies why the masses of peasants and farm workers have taken up arms and continue to join the New People’s Army in large numbers. Their demand for land reform is at the center of the Party’s program. In the revolutionary areas across the country, mass campaigns are being carried out to fight the feudal oppression and exploitation of peasants.