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“We cry for justice. The farmers are not pigs, they are human beings,” said Archbishop Antonio J. Ledesma of Cagayan de Oro in a written statement.
A video of an armed security guard killing a farmer leader in a rice field in Coron, Palawan in front of several eyewitnesses has surfaced online.
The victim was Arnel Figueroa, a 44-year-old leader of Pesante – an organization of farmers seeking the proper distribution of land based on the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) of 1988.
The killed farmer leader had been leading a six-year battle for their right to be given part of the Yulo ranch which the farmers planted with rice, bananas, sweet potatoes and coconut. He has a wife who is pregnant with their fourth child.
The viral video was taken by 36-year-old Maria Maaya L. Thind, the general secretary of the Pesante which is composed of 10,000 member farmers.
The suspect is currently in the custody of the police. Pesante members have picketed the police station in order to prevent Mayo from getting out.