31 years on: No justice for Mendiola Massacre victims

Photo from Manila Today

THIRTY-one years have passed and justice remains elusive for the 13 slain farmers in Mendiola peacefully protesting for a genuine land reform.

Miltant groups commemorated the bloody mobilization with a protest which marched from the Department of Agrarian Reform in Quezon City Circle to Mendiola in Manila, where the massacre happened.

On January 22, 1987, thousands of farmers trooped to Mendiola wishful for a dialogue with late President Corazon Aquino. Instead of giving them their democratic right for a genuine agrarian reform, they were met by bullets from state security forces.

After the massacre, Aquino created the Citizens’ Mendiola Commission to fool the Filipino people that she is sincere in giving justice to the slain farmers. Until today, no one is punished for the crime that turned a peaceful mobilization to a violent one.

Also thirty-one years later, the land reform program of the Philippines remain rotten, only worsening the already deleterious state of farmers across the country. Land monopoly remains dominant in the country, where millions of hectares of land are owned by the ruling few.

Millions of Filipino farmers, who works more than 10 hours every day, do not own lands and struggle intensely to live and survive. This is happening while the government allows landlords and big corporations to own vast tracts of lands which exploits, kills and evicts millions of farmers.

Just recently, 2 peasant activists and a civilian was killed in separate incidents in the Caraga and Southern and Northern Mindanao region.

In fact, we can root the establishment of Haciendas, which are owned by the ruling families in the country, as a way to incessantly exploit peasants and maintain the power of the landlords and the monopoly of lands. This is one of the reasons why farmers collectively organize themselves to fight the oppressive feudal system which has kept them on the brink of death for nearly hundreds of years.

Filipino farmers are continuously deceived by stupid and ill-witted land reforms such as the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform, the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law, and the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms. They are tricked to believe that there is hope in reforms. In reality, hope remains futile for them.

The culture of impunity remains rampant in the country, especially under President Rodrigo Duterte’s murderous regime. He continues to only employ deceptive tactics and even kills hundreds of farmers under his counterinsurgency program Oplan Kapayapaan. No amount of concealment can cover how Duterte and the past puppets of the United States torments and agonizes the millions of Filipino farmers.

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