Mendiola Massacre: 30 years of injustice to farmers

Thirty years after the occurrence of the heinous Mendiola Massacre, the Filipino peasantry continues to experience injustice. Aside from the fact that no one has ever been convicted of the killings, no genuine agrarian reform law has been enacted up to now.

On January 22, 1987 thousands of farmers marched the streets of Mendiola to protest the Aquino administration's lack of action on land reform. Instead of hearing them out, anti-riot personnel disguised as civilians, open-fired on unarmed protesters killing 13 farmers and injuring almost a hundred.

In response to this dreadful incident, the government was forced to implement the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) a year later. However, CARP has been deceptive and only protected the interest of the landlords. More so, militarization and killings of farmers have been rampant.

The Philippine Network of Food Security Programmes (PNFSP) has full support of House Bill 555 or the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB). We believe that GARB's provisions such as free land distribution, protection against land conversions and land grabbing and adequate support service delivery, radically break away from previous landlord-centered agrarian reform provisions and present a much promising and viable way to end land monopoly.

PNFSP hope that President Rodrigo Duterte will be true to his word that change is coming. Agrarian reform remains to be a crucial issue. We believe that Secretary Rafael “Ka Paeng” Mariano of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) carries the interests of the peasants. And we also stand firm in our resolve to work with and for the peasantry to advance their demands for genuine agrarian reform. It is, after all, only through their united and organized action that change will finally come.###

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