Only genuine land reform will bring justice to the slain farmers of #MendiolaMassacre
Mendiola, Manil – The fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Friday joined thousands of farmers led by the peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) in a protest in Mendiola, Manila to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the bloody Mendiola Massacre which occurred on January 22, 1987 in Mendiola, Manila.
Thirty years ago, more than 20,000 farmers marched to Mendiola to call for genuine agrarian reform and better rural living conditions to then-President Corazon Aquino. But instead of heeding their just calls, they were met with gun shots and violence from the state forces, killing 13 farmers and wounding many others.
“The demand that our martyred farmers were calling 30 years ago is still the clamor of the Filipino peasantry up to date. Until now, justice has yet to be served to our peasant martyrs who died in the bloody massacre. Worst is Mendiola massacre-like suppression and violations against our farmers still prevail up to these days,” Salvador France, PAMALAKAYA Secretary General said during the protest.
Citing the data of KMP, around 32 percent or 9.671 million hectares of the country’s land area are agricultural lands of which big landlords still control hundreds of thousands. PAMALAKAYA assailed the widespread land-use conversion wherein vast tracts of agricultural lands cultivated by the farmers are transformed into other purposes like residential, commercial and even government projects, resulting to displacement of the farmers in the countryside.
The fisherfolk group said the absence of a genuine land reform stabilizes the few landlords’ control and monopoly over vast tracts of agricultural lands, thus making the farmers and other rural people bound in shackles of poverty.
“Feudal lords and its representatives from the government work hand in glove to preserve the semi-feudal order that makes the country’s rich agricultural lands at the hands of the very few and making our agriculture in a backward state,” France said.
PAMALAKAYA said the Filipino peasantry together with other progressive sectors will zealously fight for genuine land reform with the central goal of free distribution of land to the tillers and an end to all types of feudal exploitations in the countryside. ###