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On the Frontlines of Duterte’s War on Farmers

January 26, 2021
Farmers lead protest against extrajudicial killings in the Philippines, January, 9th 2021.

Farmers lead protest against extrajudicial killings in the Philippines, January, 9th 2021. Credit: KMP


January 26, 2021

Media Contact:
Anuradha Mittal
[email protected]
+1 510-530-5126

Oakland, CA — Since taking power in 2016, President Rodrigo Duterte has waged a brutal war on farmers — there have been 311 documented killings of peasants, farmworkers, and fisherfolk related to land dispute cases and agrarian reform advocacy. These are not random or isolated killings, but targeted assassinations carried out against peasant farmers struggling for a better future.

The government’s development strategy prioritizes a “modern” export-oriented commercial agriculture system that directly threatens farmers’ and Indigenous Peoples’ right to land and life. Those who organize and resist are killed or imprisoned with impunity in President Rodrigo Duterte’s Philippines.

While farmer killings have not generated the same international media coverage as Duterte’s drug war, it remains an escalating situation, closely linked to suppressing the resistance to the government and World Bank’s shared vision for development of agriculture in the Philippines.

Hear the latest podcast from the Oakland Institute which takes you to the frontlines of Duterte’s war on farmers as we speak with Kathryn Manga, a member of KMP, a Filipino movement of landless peasants, small farmers, farm workers, rural youth and peasant women. She discusses the ongoing struggle for genuine land reform, social justice, and social change amidst violent repression.

In “Fuel on the Fire: The World Bank’s Complicity in Duterte’s War on Farmers in the Philippines,” the latest from Our Take, we examine how the Bank is complicit in enabling human rights abuses while continuing to grant hundreds of millions of dollars towards agricultural reforms that benefit agribusiness at the expense of peasant farmers.