Farmers are still seeking justice 34 years after the heinous Mendiola Massacre that killed 13 farmers seeking genuine land reform and free land distribution from the government. “Then and now, the situation of farmers remain unchanged. Poor farmers remain landless, and subjected to social injustices.”
According to KMP, 34 years after the carnage in Mendiola, the massacres and mass killings of farmers across the country persist under the Duterte administration. KMP has documented 22 massacres with 107 victims mostly peasants and indigenous peoples defending their right to the land. The perpetrators are either state forces — military and police, private security, and goons of landgrabbers who are also emboldened with Duterte’s kill, kill, kill policy.
“Duterte can easily surpass the gruesome record of previous administrations in terms of peasant killings and massacres. Farmers, regard him as the Massacre King — a tyrant that deserves to be ousted from power,” says Danilo Ramos, chairperson of KMP.
Most of the massacres happened in Negros and Bicol where Memorandum Order No. 32 is enforced, and in Mindanao where Martial Law situation persists. The latest is the massacre of 9 Tumandok farmers in Tapaz, Capiz that were killed in a SEMPO operation by combined police and military forces.
The farmers’ march near Malacanang also highlighted the land grabbing in vast landholdings and land-use conversion of productive agricultural lands. Farmers are in dispute with oligarchs such as Ayalas, San Miguel Corp. Villars and landlords benefiting from Duterte’s patronage and the absence of genuine land reform. ”This is just the start of our year-long campaign for land, justice and Duterte’s ouster,” Ramos said.
KMP also noted that farmers and indigenous people are also the first victims of the Anti-Terrorism Law, especially with the persisting red tagging of legitimate peasant organizations advocating farmers’ rights and resisting militarization in the provinces.
Farmers from Central Luzon and Southern Tagalog joined the protests in Mendiola to amplify their calls and demands for free land distribution and substantial government aid to sectors affected by the pandemic and successive calamities. #