SOMEWHERE IN BUKIDNON PROVINCE – Hundreds gathered and cheered as the host recounted the “victories” of the peasant movement in the region during the 47th founding anniversary celebration of the Communist Party of the Philippines here on Saturday.

The celebration started with the singing of communist hymn, Internationale, and followed by a play which paid tribute to the ‘martyrs’ of the New People’s Army.

Another skit was played showing different struggles and mass actions of the peasants this year, which started when drought hit several municipalities in Bukidnon on January 2015. The drought left thousands of peasants with nothing to farm and to eat.

On June 12, farmers from Kahugpungan sa mga Mag-uuma sa Kitaotao (KMK) rallied in front of Kitaotao Municipal Hall and the National Food Authority warehouse in Maramag demanding for 3,000 sacks of rice.

Related Story: Bukidnon farmers to receive 3,000 sacks of rice after protest

Red tagging

But the farmers did not only received support for their cause, they also received threats which they call as “psywars”, tagging them as NPA members.

Ka Theo of the NPA’s Mt. Apo Operations Command said that they lauded the victories of the peasant movement in their area of responsibility.

“Ang kahakog sa gobyerno ang nagtukmod sa mga mag-uuma na musukol og maningil (The greed of the government has pushed farmers to fight and claim what is theirs),” Ka Theo said.

Last August 27 in White Culaman, Kitaotao, Bukidnon, 15 farmers were forced to board a military helicopter and were taken to Maramag after they were accused of being NPA members.

A farmers group in the locality said that “subversive documents, bombs, and other materials, were planted” to justify their arrest.

The arrest led several community members to flee their communities and find shelter at the nearby church in Arakan Valley, North Cotabato and in Davao City.

Related story: 15 farmers, including minor arrested in Bukidnon, forced to board helicopter

Ka Theo said that since the series of attacks against the community, more and more people are joining their ranks.

“In this front alone, our number will double as 2016 approaches,” he said.

For this year, Ka Theo said, more barrios (villages) are added in their area of responsibility.

The Front 53 of the New Peoples Army, according to Ka Theo, is now covering 90 villages in the municipalities of Bukidnon and North Cotabato. (

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