Pandayan condemns the murder of one of our members in Negros Occidental, Rico Adeva, who was killed in front of his wife. It is unfortunate that Rico, an organizer of the Task Force Mapalad, became another statistic in the on-going campaign of summary executions against activists around the country.
It is no secret that violence related to agrarian reform has been happening in rural communities in Negros and around the country. Rico’s death looks like another incident of muzzling the efforts of agrarian reform advocates to distribute land to the powerless and hungry Filipino farmers. This demonstrates the failure of the government to act decisively on the issue of agrarian reform. It is a testament to its pathetic implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program.
Moreover, this cowardly act of killing a defenseless NGO worker and agrarian reform activist also highlights the inefficiency of the Arroyo government to deal with people instigating these attacks against progressive elements of our society. It shows that her administration is really no different from Marcos’ repressive and brutal regime. It is getting to be really difficult for NGO workers and activists to continue their work under this climate of fear.
We ask the president: is the practice of murder now a public policy? If President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo truly values the sanctity of human life she should now put the brakes to these senseless killings. The culture of impunity must stop now.
Pandayan calls on the Filipino people and the international community to break their silence on the Arroyo administration’s grotesque human rights record. We must act now before it is too late. Public apathy will only encourages more killings.
Finally, Pandayan salutes Rico Adeva. We will continue his work in upholding the rights of the millions of Filipino peasants nationwide. We pledge to continue to pursue the ideals of freedom, democracy and justice.
Pandayan para sa Sosyalistang Pilipinas (PANDAYAN)
Room 207, Center for Community Services Building,
Social Development Complex, Ateneo de Manila University,
Loyola Heights, Quezon City