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Philippines

Faith-based groups lead efforts to defend Filipino farm workers

At least 90 farmers and rural workers have been killed since Duterte came to power

Updated: October 20, 2017 09:49 AM GMT
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Faith-based groups lead efforts to defend Filipino farm workers

Representatives of faith-based organizations join the launch of the Coalition for Land, Against Martial Law and Oppression in Manila on Oct. 19. (Photo by Nadja de Vera)

Faith-based groups in the Philippines led the formation of an organization that aims to advance and defend the rights of rural poor in the country.

People behind the group Coalition for Land, Against Martial Law and Oppression, or Clamor, said it is "high time to stand together to defend the rights of the peasantry."

The new group was also organized on Oct. 19 as a response to President Rodrigo Duterte's threat to declare martial law across the country.

Bishop Deogracias Iniguez, chairman of the Ecumenical Bishops' Forum, noted how Filipino peasants and farmers "have long been disregarded by society."

He said organization was formed amid the growing number of rural poor being killed in the provinces.

The Rural Missionaries of the Philippines listed 90 peasants and rural workers killed since Duterte came to power in 2016.

In the central Philippine province of Negros Oriental, eight farmers have already been killed by suspected government security agents since July.

"We are alarmed and disturbed by these killings and abuses," said Good Shepherd Sister Elen Belardo.

She said killings "worsen the already miserable situation of the rural poor."

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