MANILA - The 14 people killed in an alleged anti-criminality campaign in Negros Oriental were farmers who were massacred by the police, a lawmaker said Saturday.
Kabataan Party-list Rep. Sarah Elago, in a statement, condemned the killings and said her group holds the Duterte administration and authorities accountable "for this crime against our farmers."
"The youth stands with our farmers as we call for justice for the victims of the Canlaon Massacre and all the victims of state-perpetrated violence and bogus land reform programs," Elago said.
The party-list group said authorities entered one of the farmers' home Friday night without any search warrant.
It added that that at least 180 farmers have been killed during the Duterte administration, 40 of which were from Negros island.
In October 2018, 9 sugarcane farmers in Sagay City, Negros Occidental were eating dinner when they were shot by 5 to 6 gunmen.
"It is a sad reality that those who work hard to produce food for the rest of the nation have nothing to provide for themselves and their families," Elago said.
"Even more appalling is the fact that when our farmers are not dying of starvation, they find themselves gunned down and rained upon by bullets."
The Negros Oriental Police Provincial Office earlier said 8 were killed in Canlaon City, 4 in Majuyod town, and 2 in Sta. Catalina town, while 12 others were arrested.
Local police claimed they conducted search and arrest warrant operations against "hardcore criminals."
The suspects allegedly fired back against authorities, wounding a police officer.