Peasant actions leading to 30th year of Mendiola Massacre to demand land, justice

January 16, 2017


Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas is preparing for a series of actions leading to the 30th year of the heinous Mendiola Massacre. “This year’s protest and commemoration of the Mendiola Massacre will happen under extraordinary circumstances — peasant leader Rafael Mariano who led the farmers march to Mendiola in 1987 is now DAR secretary and the land problem is among the major agenda of the peace talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).”
“After three decades, there’s still no land and no justice for farmers. No one was arrested, convicted and punished for the massacre at Mendiola that killed 13 farmers namely Danilo Arjona, Leopoldo Alonzo, Adelfa Aribe, Dionisio Bautista, Roberto Caylao, Vicente Campomanes, Ronilo Dumanico, Dante Evangelio, Angelito Gutierrez, Rodrigo Grampan, Bernabe Laquindanum, Sonny Boy Perez, and Roberto Yumul,” said Joseph Canlas, chairperson of KMP.

“After Mendiola Massacre, the administration of then President Cory Aquino enacted the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL) and implemented the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), which was judged by history as a bogus land reform program that evaded social justice and actual land distribution to farmers,” the peasant leader said.

The month-long protests and actions will include the farmers’ assertion for the enactment of a new land reform program that seeks free land distribution to farmers. KMP is supporting the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB) that is filed in Congress since 2007. Farmers will also expose the AFP’s continuing militarization of farmlands and peasant communities that resulted to rights violations and extrajudicial killings. Regional peasants camp-outs and land occupation activities are also underway.

“Seven months into the Duterte administration, we have yet to see drastic policies that will address the problem of the landlessness and poverty of our farmers,” Canlas said, adding that the executive order on the moratorium on land use conversion is taking too long to be issued and efforts of Secretary Mariano at DAR to implement pro-farmer policies are being blocked by Duterte’s economic managers and big landowners like the Cojuangco-Aquinos of Hacienda Luisita and the Lorenzos of Lapanday.”

“We will highlight that genuine land reform is necessary and imperative to achieve change and these actions will show strong support to the third round of peace talks between the GRP and NDFP. We want to see substantial and major results from the negotiations in terms of upholding social and economic reforms. ” Canlas said.

KMP and its allied land reform advocates and peasant-based organizations will launch actions at Congress, Camp Aguinaldo, Department of Agrarian Reform this week. The culminating activity will be a protest at Mendiola on Friday, January 20. ###