Police and alleged members of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) are actively red-tagging farmers from Norzagaray, Bulacan, a militant farmers’ group said on Thursday.
In a statement, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) chairperson Danilo Ramos said farmers of Sitio Compra, Barangay San Mateo are facing relentless harassment over alleged red-tagging activities by the NTF-ELCAC.
The peasant group said it has received complaints from the farmers in the area about the repeated “visits” from armed men who have introduced themselves as NTF-ELCAC members.
The NTF-ELCAC is the government’s anti-communist task force which has been accused of spreading disinformation against critics of the administration.
Just recently, NTF-ELCAC spokesman Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr. claimed that top universities and colleges have become hotbeds of communist recruitment. School officials have denied this allegation.
The KMP said the visits reportedly began last January 22, a day after farmers charged with theft and grave threat by Royal Mollucan Inc. were released from detention in the Norzagaray Police Station after posting bail.
Police arrested 14 farmers on Jan. 19 for harvesting their own crops in the disputed land in Sitio Compra.
“What they are doing has caused great inconvenience to farmers because we have lost time instead of working. They add to our stress. Our children are scared because they carry long firearms,” Cecil Rapiz of Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Bulacan (AMB) said.
Rapiz added that the armed men are offering the farmers “assistance” in exchange for their “cooperation.” The farmers provide the produce to the Bagsakan Online Farmer’s Market.