As the Adviser of the GPH Peace Panel representing Local Government Units and as President of the League of Cities of the Philippines, I am condemning the recent killings of peasant leaders in Isabela and Nueva Ecija.
A thorough and no-nonsense investigation must be conducted by the local PNP backed up by the concerned regional directors of Department of Agrarian Reform. Criminal charges must be filed against the perpetrators of these crimes.
I also call on all local government officials in the said provinces to take serious actions and use the powers given to them by law to stop the perpetrators in their evil design of taking over the farmers' land. They should not wait for the government peace panel to look into these reports. They should act now if there is evidence and reasonable ground.
It is precisely the issue of land that is the central mobilizing force of the almost five-decade armed revolution in our countrysides. And the Duterte administration is determined to solve this central issue and other socio-economic and political concerns to achieve a just and lasting peace in our country.