BAYAN statement on the deaths of Benito Tiamzon, Wilma Austria Tiamzon and their companions – updates from the peasant movement of the Philippines

Benito Tiamzon and Wilma Austria Tiamzon were true revolutionaries who engaged the GRP in peace negotiations in 2016–2017 to address the roots of the armed conflict. Benito Tiamzon was an NDFP peace panel member, Wilma Austria was a peace consultant. Both were also veterans of the struggle against the US-Marcos dictatorship in the 70s and 80s and were former political prisoners. The manner of their death on August 21, 2022, as recently announced by their comrades, is utterly condemnable.

We express our condolences with their families as we call for an independent investigation of the gruesome circumstances of their deaths along with 8 others. For too long, revolutionaries have been executed in what is routinely made to appear as armed encounters or firefights.

The killings of revolutionaries in these fake encounters are no different from the tokhang murders in the drug war. These violations of international humanitarian law are apparently justified by the terrorist tag on the victims. Again, this is unacceptable.

The blatant IHL violations and terrorist-labeling of revolutionaries ,and even activists, should stop. The summary killings of unarmed or hors de combat individuals should be seriously investigated. Instead of state terror the roots of the armed conflict should be addressed. Human rights defenders, peace advocates and freedom-loving Filipinos are called on to raise their voices against fascist terror, summary executions and the unjust terrorist-labeling of dissent.

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Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas

The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas or Peasant Movement of the Philippines (KMP) was founded at a time of great political upheaval and broad mass movement against the tyranny and abuses of the Marcos dictatorship. Hundreds of peasant leaders and land reform advocates from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao gathered during the historic founding of KMP on July 24, 1985. After thirty five years, KMP remains as the largest national democratic mass organization of peasants in the Philippines.

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