22 years after the bloody
“All we want is piece
of land”, say relatives of Mendiola Massacre victims
Quezon City, Philippines- “All we want is a piece of land that we can till
and call our own. But what we got from them the state was bullets.”
Twenty two years after the bloody carnage, relatives of the infamous
Mendiola Massacre said they want to move on and continue with what their
husbands and relatives pursued two decades ago, but the horrible event
kept on visiting them like day-to-day nightmares.
After their 7-day camped out at the Ministry of Agrarian Reform (now
Department of Agrarian Reform or DAR), from January 15-21, 1987 on January
22, leaders and members of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP),
numbering about 15,000 decided to march from the agrarian reform office to
Liwasang Bonifacio and then to Mendiola.
In Mendiola, military and police elements open fired and peppered the
farmers and their sympathizers with bullets. Thirteen marchers, mostly
farmers from Central Luzon and Southern Tagalog regions were killed and
identified as Danilo Arjona, Leopoldo Alonzo, Adelfa Aribe, Dionisio
Bautista, Roberto Caylao, Vicente Campomanes, Ronilo Dumanico, Dante
Evangelio, Angelito Gutierrez, Rodrigo Grampan, Bernabe Laquindanum, Sonny
Boy Perez and Roberto Yumul.
Aside from the 13 farmers who were killed by state security forces,
reports also said 39 marchers sustained gunshot wounds and 32 sustained
minor injuries. “Let me set the record straight. What we want is a parcel
of land but what the government gave to us were scores of bullets and in
the aftermath of the massacre is a bankrupt, bogus, anti-farmer and
pro-landlord agrarian reform program,” the Kilusang Enero 22 or KE 22 said
in a press statement.
KE 22, an assembly of relatives of Mendiola Massacre added that the
Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) passed by Congress during the
time of former President Corazon Aquino was a comprehensive failure and
merely sustained the 22-year old wounds caused by the Mendiola Massacre.
“How can you have justice with CARP? It is not a social justice program
but an instrument for further landgrabbing, further denial of peasant land
rights and class exploitation by the landlord few. CARP is part of the
long-running injustice committed to the victims of Mendiola Massacre,” KE
22 said. .
Relatives want GARB
KE 22 said it is actively supporting the passage of Genuine Agrarian
Reform Bill (GARB) or House Bill 3059 principally authored by the late
Anakpawis party list Rep. Crispin Beltran and co-authored by his successor
Anakpawis party list Rep. Rafael Mariano, Bayan Muna party list Reps.
Satur Ocampo and Teodoro Casiño and Gabriela party list lawmakers Liza
Maza and Luzviminda Ilagan.
“We hope the leadership of House Speaker Prospero Nograles will move on
and act with dispatch and resolution in favor of HB 3059. This social
justice measure is necessary for the cause of land and justice
across-the-country,” relatives of Mendiola Massacre victims added.
GARB which is still pending before the House Committee on Agrarian Reform
will cover all agricultural lands and have these lands distributed for
free to all landless, land lacking and willing to till farmers all over
the country, according to KMP deputy secretary general Willy Marbella, a
survivor of Mendiola Massacre.
KMP’s Marbella said lands operated by transnational corporations,
including commercial farms ran by big agribusiness groups shall be
nationalized in favor of farmworkers and agricultural workers who would be
trained to manage and operate these large plantations and commercial
In the case of sullied lands, or lands acquired through fraud, deception,
intimidation, or the use of force and violence, these would be subjected
to confiscation, while landlords who acquired their landholdings without
any shades of blood debts or crimes against their tenants will receive
just compensation and shall be paid by the state based on the average tax
assessment on the land for the immediate last three years preceding the
effectivity of the act.
The KMP leader said farmer beneficiaries are guaranteed with security of
tenure and sustained support systems to make the awarded lands more
productive and more responsive to the needs of the farmers and the
Filipino public in general.
Meanwhile in Hacienda Luisita, farmworkers continue to cultivate more than
1,800 hectares of the hotly disputed sugar estate outside the framework of
the 20-year old CARP.
“The key to this success story is the determination of Hacienda Luisita
farmworkers to challenge and fight the Stock Distribution Option scheme
legitimized by the bogus CARP. Now, the farmworkers and poor farmers of
Hacienda Luisita are reaping the fruits of their labor,” the Unyon ng mga
Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) said in a press statement.
UMA public information officer Rey Calaguing said the hacienda farmworkers
and poor farmers are planting various crops in more than 1,800 hectares
like rice and vegetables. “We are encouraging more farmers to join and
form themselves into cooperation units to be able to cover other hectares
for their livelihood. This is peasant class power in full swing,” he said.
UMA said the current “bungkalan” campaign has already benefited 838
families or roughly 1,676 individuals spread in the barangays of
Malapacsiao (244.5 hectares), Asturias (209.93 hectares), Bantog (258
hectares), Cut-Cut (275.9 hectares), Balite (153.4 hectares), Mutrico (248
hectares), Pando (163 hectares), Texas (140 hectares), Pasajes (60
hectares) and Parang (51.5 hectares).
Camp-out in HOR, march to Mendiola
The KMP together with the fisherfolk group Pamalakaya, UMA, Amihan peasant
federation and farmer groups Kalipunan ng Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog
Katagalugan (Kasama-TK) and Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luzon (AMGL)
will stage a three-day camp-out at the House of Representatives beginning
Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said about 1,000 farmers will
participate in the camp-out from Jan.19-21 in Batasan Complex. He said
farmers and fisherfolk will conduct mass lobbying with congressmen
starting Monday and update lawmakers on the current situation of farmers
and explain to lawmakers the necessity of passing HB 3059.
“We will seek an audience with House Speaker Prospero Nograles. That is
one of the objectives of the three-day peasant camp-out in Batasan. We
will not entertain any kind of political snub, that’s for sure,” warned
On Jan.22 farmers will march from DAR to Mendiola to officially end the
four-day peasant march for land and justice. The Pamalakaya leader said
the march to Mendiola will be joined by militant groups under the umbrella
alliance of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan.
Hicap said some 1,500 placards bearing the face of President Gloria
Macapagal-Arroyo will be slashed and burned in Mendiola to show the
peasant’s collective outrage against the brutal and anti-rural regime of
President Arroyo and the farmers’ resolve to fight for genuine land
WILFREDO MARBELLA, KMP Deputy Secretary-General
ROY MORILLA, KMP Public Information Officer (+63-905-421-73-05)
For Immediate Release
January 22, 2008
Vice Chairperson/Media Officer, 09095189340
On the 22nd anniversary of Mendiola Massacre
No justice, No peace for the Filipino peasants, people
"No justice! No peace!" is the message of militant youth led by ANAKBAYAN
as they joined the Peasant March to mark the 22nd anniversary of the
Mendiola Massacre, where unarmed peasants demonstrating for land reform
were gunned down by state security forces.
"The demands of the 13 peasants murdered in 1987 remain the same. Unless
social justice is attained thru genuine land reform, the victims of the
Mendiola Massacre will not find any peace," according to ANAKBAYAN
National Chairperson Ken Ramos.
Ramos lambasted the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program, or CARP, as a
'cure worse than the disease'. "The amount of land monopolized by landlord
families has increased, rather than decreased throughout the two decades
of CARP implementation. It contains pro-landlord loopholes, such as
retention limits, non-distributive options and land conversions that are
being exploited by landlords up to this very day," Ramos said.
Ramos also condemned
'pseudo-progressive groups' that are forcing CARP on the people. "Years of
implementation have proven that CARP is already defective, so why are they
insisting on its extension? It is simply because CARP funds and foreign
financial aid for land reform have been their cash cow for a long time.
These groups, together with big landlords and compradors, are the ones who
benefited from the fake agrarian reform policy, not the peasants," Ramos
"From Aquino to Arroyo, the demand for land by the peasants has been met
with brute force. Thus, there is 'no peace, no justice' in the
"Because of their unwavering resolve to expose the faulty CARP and push
genuine agrarian reform, peasants have been victims of state fascism,"
Ramos pointed out that the peasant sector bore the largest number of
casualties committed by AFP death squads under Gloria Arroyo's Oplan
Bantay Laya 1 & 2. He further berated the upcoming Balikatan exercises to
be held in the Bicol Region this April as another measure to monitor and
repress the peasant movement in the region.
"Giving farmers the piece of land they deserve is a starting point to
achieve peace in the countryside," Ramos said. "Genuine land reform is a
start to ending the semi-feudal roots of poverty in the Philippines." ###