Another Farmer Killed on Day of Oral Arguments in Supreme Court

February 3, 2021

Source Verification: Gi Estrada – Media Officer, 09179450552

Antonio “Cano” Arellano a member of an organization under the National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW) was killed early morning of February 2, 2021, the same day that the Anti Terror Law (ATL) held its oral arguments in the Supreme Court.

The NFSW is a member organization of the Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA), which is one of the petitioners against the ATL under the Council for People’s Development and Governance (CPDG).

According to Antonio “Ka Tonying” Flores, chairperson of UMA, Cano was shot dead by four unidentified suspects at 6am of Feb. 2. He was the chairman of Paghiliusa sa Mangunguma sa Sitio Binabono (PMSB) in Brgy. Jonob-jonob, Escalante City, which is under the NFSW. He was shot on his head, arm, and hand.

Ka Tonying dared Duterte Youth leader Ronald Cardema and other pro-ATL proponents to answer who are the real terrorists. Are they those being killed by state security forces like NFSW members and many other activists nationwide or those criticizing the ATL who are victims of state terrorism?

There are now more than 100 activists killed in Negros Island alone, many of which are members of NFSW.

They are not only killed but arrested, detained, and charged with trumped up charges. In the affidavit submitted by Ka Tonying in the Supreme Court as part of the petition of the CPDG, he stated the following among others:

On 31 October 2019, John Milton ‘Ka Butch’ Lozande, secretary general of the National Federation of Sugar workers, an UMA member, was arrested together with more than 50 activists in Bacolod City over planted evidence of firearms and explosives.

On 27 October 2018, Rene Manlangit and Rogelio Arquillo, Jr., officials of a local chapter of NFSW, were accused of being NPA members of the police and were charged for serving as masterminds of the Sagay 9 massacre.  

He also stated in his affidavit that UMA has been red tagged several times.

NFSW has likewise suffered the same fate that is why many of its members have been killed and suffered several human rights violations as stated earlier. In addition to this, many of its members have been forced to surrender as so-called NPA rebels and disaffiliate from NFSW and forcibly join bogus organizations set up by state security forces. This is in violation of their constitutional right to freedom of association.

And up to now, Negros Island is still under Memorandum Order No. 32 or under a state of lawless violence.

Ka Tonying concluded that members of the NFSW, UMA and other progressive organizations will suffer more human rights violations from state terrorism if the Supreme Court upholds the constitutionality of the Anti-Terror Law.#

Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura

Federation of Agricultural Workers | Philippines