A group of farmers on Monday picketed in front of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) office in Quezon City to protest the appointment of former Armed Forces chief Ricardo Visaya as administrator of the agency.
During Visaya’s term, he was the ground commander of the Northern Luzon Command in Central Luzon when many farmers were massacred in Hacienda Luisita, according to Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas Secretary General Milo Melegrito.
“Most of our farmer leaders were killed during his [Visaya] tenure as ground commander,” Melegrito said in Filipino during an interview.
He identified the farmer leaders as Jhon Gado, Perla Rodriguez, Tirzo Cruz, Ricardo Ramos, Federico de Leon, William Tadena, Bishop Alberto Ravento and Francisco Rivera.
“Visaya is accountable for numerous killings of peasant leaders and activists in Central Luzon from 2005 to 2007,” he said.
Melegrito added that Visaya was “trained under the notorious butcher” Gen. Jovito Palparan.
“We are begging and urging President Rodrigo Duterte to please change his mind and find a more deserving official to head the irrigation agency,” he said.
Earlier this month, then-NIA chief Peter Laviña resigned from his post amid corruption allegations.
On March 7, Duterte confirmed that Visaya will replace Laviña as the new irrigation chief. DEMPSEY REYES