[34 years after Mendiola Massacre] Farmers to march anew to Mendiola to protest land grabbing, peasant killings, and massacres under Duterte

Peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) today announced the holding of a nationally-coordinated mobilization on January 22 to denounce and protest the intensifying land grabbing and land-use conversion of productive agricultural land, coupled with state-sponsored human rights violations against farmers. 

“Then and now, farmers have been demanding for land reform and free land distribution. The situation of Filipino peasants when they marched from Central Luzon to Mendiola in 1987 remains unchanged, and even worse this 2021, especially with the rising cases of peasant massacres and mass killings under the Duterte administration,” says KMP chairperson Danilo Ramos who noted that 21 incidents of peasant massacres and mass killings of farmers happened under the current regime, with 107 victims, based on the documentation of Tanggol Magsasaka.  

KMP cited the recent instances of land grabbing, demolition of farms and houses, and eviction of farmers in Bataan, Laguna, Cavite, Bulacan, and Iloilo that highlights the government’s role in enabling the land grabbing of productive agricultural lands. “We are in a pandemic and food production must be given priority. However, destruction of farms, crops, and livelihood 

The militant peasant group said also to blame for the aggressive land grabbing, and land conversion is the absence of a genuine agrarian reform program and pro-people land and resources program that will prioritize the needs of the population and the requirements of domestic economic development. Also to blame is the government’s Build, Build, Build program that authorizes the massive conversion of land for the building of arterial roads and linkages, mega-dams, airport, and railway expansions, among other big-ticket infrastructure projects that are the most common source of bureaucratic corruption. 

In Central Luzon alone, large-scale projects such as Clark International Airport, Metro Rail Transit (MRT) 7, Central Luzon Link Expressway Phase I and II, Philippine National Rail North project are in the pipeline. These projects will cut across the country’s food basket and rice granaries, further endangering our food security and the livelihood of farmers. 

Southern Luzon, particularly CALABARZON provinces remain coveted hot spots for the expansion of sprawling real estate developments. Premier real estate corporations like Ayala Land Inc., Vista Land Inc., Aboitiz Land, among others, remain business as usual and are gearing for so-called inevitable expansion amid the COVID-19 pandemic with the construction of integrated townships, industrial hubs, mixed-use developments, among other projects that will displace farmers and urban poor. 

“Sa Enero 22, magmamartsa ang mga magbubukid patungong Mendiola para igiit ang karapatan sa lupa at manawagan ng hustisya para sa mga biktima ng pagmasaker ng estado noon at ngayon,” said Ramos. #

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