Remembering the killing of 13 farmers

and the wounding of more than a hundred rallyists

in the  Mendiola Massacre of January 22, 1987

 

January 21,  2010   Posted: January 26, 2011

 

■    Davao City and Cagayan de Oro City

 

■    Video of Mendiola Massacre 1987

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Dead:

 

Danilo Arjona, Leopoldo Alonzo, Adelfa Aribe, Dionision Bautista, Roberto Caylao, Vicente Campomanes, Ronilo Dumanico, Dante Evangelio, Angelito Gutierrez, Rodrigo Grampan, Bernabe Laquindanum, Sonny Boy Perez and Roberto Yumul.

 

Wounded: 100+

 

Punished for the killings: 0

(after 24 years)

   
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Photos courtesy of  Anto Balleta, Ina Alleco Silverio, Karlos Manlupig, KMP-NMR,

Roy Morilla and Sarah Raymundo as indicated by the filenames

           
The Mendiola Massacre of January 22, 1987 during the admnistration of Cory Aquino
     
     
     
     

 

Peasant Countdown to SC decision on Luisita marks 24th year of Mendiola Massacre
 01/21/2011 - 08:30.

Kin, survivors of 24 year old carnage led launching rites at the gate of Supreme Court
Peasant Countdown to SC decision on Luisita marks 24th year of Mendiola Massacre

Survivors and relatives of 1987 Mendiola Massacre joined farm workers of Hacienda Luisita in launching a people’s countdown to the soon-to-be announced decision of the Supreme Court on the controversial Hacienda Luisita case.

Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) leaders Willy Marbella and Antonio Flores, Kasama-TK secretary general Axel Pinpin, Hacienda Luisita farm worker-leader Rodel Mesa of Unyon ng Mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) and Tess Arjona, wife of Mendiola Massacre victim Danilo Arjona made the announcement during a rally outside the Supreme Court urging Chief Justice Corona and 14 other members of the high tribunal to immediately resolve the long-running agrarian dispute in favor of 10,000 farm worker beneficiaries.

“In the name of the 13 peasant martyrs of Mendiola and for the sake of national interest and social justice, we ask Chief Justice Corona and the 14 other justices of the Supreme Court to resolve the case at the earliest possible time and that decision should put an end to more than half-a-century era of feudal reign and exploitation inside the 6,453 hectare sugar estate immorally and illegally controlled by the feudal Cojuangco-Aquino aristocracy ,” they said during the launching of Peasant Countdown to Hacienda Luisita.

The countdown was launched a day after SC Justice Corona announced on Thursday that the high court would soon issue a ruling on the issues involving the sugar estate owned by the family of President Benigno Simeon Aquino III.

Speaking before members of the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP) a group of foreign journalists covering the domestic events, Chief Justice Corona said the announcement of the decision would soon come out but did not elaborate.

However, Corona made a swipe against what he called a campaign against SC over the latter’s recent decisions which were contrary against the Aquino administration, the latest of which was the high court ruling against the Truth Commission formed by Malacanang to investigate crimes of corruption committed during the former administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

The launching of Peasant Countdown to SC Decision on Hacienda Luisita was presided by a 30-vehicle farmers’ caravan from the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to Supreme Court building in Padre Faura, Manila. KMP and UMA led the submission of a letter of appeal to Corona urging the chief justice and the 14 other justices to immediately resolve the case pending before the high tribunal.
Another letter of appeal was sent to Department of Justice (DoJ) Secretary Leila de Lima, asking her to reopen the Mendiola Massacre case and pursue accountability of officials and individuals implicated in the mass murder of farmers on January 22, 1987.

Cory promised Luisita.

As far as my recollections are concerned the late President Corazon Aquino promised she would give Hacienda Luisita to farm workers six months before the January 22, 1987 Mendiola Massacre.”

This was how Davao-based farmer leader Flores recalled what happened on June 1986, four-months after the successful People Power I revolution that led to the downfall of former strongman Ferdinand Marcos.

“If my memory serves me right, Mrs. Aquino even praised and thanked KMP leaders for pushing genuine land reform as a centerpiece program for social justice,” said Flores, who was in his early 30s when the massacred took place.

According to the Flores he was with other 12 leaders of KMP who went to Malacanang nearly 25 years ago who submitted the KMP drafted genuine land reform to Mrs. Aquino. Flores said former Executive Secretary Joker Arroyo, now a senator was also present during the meeting when the former President said she would make Hacienda Luisita a model for land reform.

“Mrs. Aquino reneged her promise and instead peppered the farmers with bullets. By December of 1986, farmer leaders had already sensed Mrs. Aquino will break her promise to farmers because members of the Constitutional Convention who were tasked to draft the 1987 charter were either representatives of big landlords or big landlords themselves. So we decided to stage a week-long protest and camp-out in Metro Manila on January 15-22 to denounce Mrs. Aquino’s grand betrayal of farmers,” Flores reminisced.

From January 15-21, 1987, about 15,000 farmers from Central Luzon and Southern Tagalog provinces staged a week-long camp-out by the gate of Ministry of Agrarian Reform (MAR), now the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR). The KMP claimed then Minister Heherson Alvarez had been evading them since they staged the protest outside the agrarian reform office.

On January 22, 1987, KMP led a long march from MAR to Mendiola and the rest was history. Thirteen farmers where instantly killed and more than 100 others were wounded when state security forces led by police and Philippine Marines open fired to 25,000 demonstrators in what is now known as Mendiola Massacre.

The KMP will also highlight in today’s protest action its strong opposition to Republic Act 9700 or the CARP extension with reforms (CARPer law) and Oplan Bayanihan, a new counter-insurgency guide which replaced Oplan Bantay Laya and which the peasant group dismissed as designed and patterned after the US Counter Insurgency Guide of 2009 (US Coin Guide).

The KMP it will also raise the issue of Hacienda Luisita and other big cases of agrarian disputes before the scheduled peace talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). #
 

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Media Release
22 January 2011

Workers support calls for Mendiola massacre probe

In time for the Mendiola massacre’s 24th anniversary, labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno expressed its support for the call of farmer group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) to reinvestigate the massacre.

“Justice should be served now on the unforgiveable crime that is the Mendiola massacre. The 24 years that passed without holding even a single person accountable for the death of 13 farmers only show how rotten our country’s judicial system is,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.

“We in KMU were there when the Filipino farmers and people marched in Mendiola calling for genuine land reform in 1987. We join our comrades in KMP in calling for a reinvestigation into the violence that met the marching farmers, workers and people 25 years ago,” Labog added.

“The Mendiola massacre happened under an Aquino government and the next notorious case of agrarian massacre in the country, the Luisita massacre, happened in the Aquinos’ hacienda. We persevere in our call for land and justice especially now that another Aquino is president of the country,” he said.

The labor center also condemned the President for refusing to address the issue of land reform which it says is behind farmers’ protests.

“It is the lack of genuine land reform in the country and the monopolization of agricultural lands by landlords that are behind the protests in Mendiola and Luisita that were met by the military with bullets.

“What we are sensing in President Aquino’s moves in Hacienda Luisita is a systematic effort to prevent the distribution of land to the hacienda’s tillers. Aquino remains anti-land reform even and especially in his family’s own land.

“Because Noynoy can’t even take the first step to resolve the Mendiola massacre in a just manner, the Filipino workers, farmers and people expect nothing from his promise of bringing about change in the long-running agrarian problem in the country,” Labog concluded.

Reference: Elmer Labog, KMU chairperson, 0908-1636597
 

 

 

 

     
     
     
     
     
           
     
     

 

Remembering the massacres of our peasant brothers and sisters
by UP Prof. Judy Taguiwalo


Reiterating our solidarity with them in the struggle for land and justice
 

From the post of Gerry Lanuza: “Paul Rciouer: Memory is the best weapon of the oppressed against their victors who enjoin them to FORGET”

From the post of Sarah Raymundo: “Ricky Carandang: ’We cannot keep revisiting issues over and over again.’ (response to the farmers' demand to put to justice the butchers responsible for the Mendiola Massacre. Some people are ugly na stupid pa).”

The above posts of UP Sociology professors Lanuza and Raymundo on Facebook moved me to write this.

I was in Mendiola in 1987 when the massacre of 13 peasant activists happened. I was not in Mendiola yesterday, January 21 when KMP and other progressive organizations marked the 24th anniversary of the January 22, 1987 Mendiola Massacre and demanded justice for the victims of the massacre and justice for all peasants killed in their struggle for land and for justice. This note is to make amend for my inability to join the farmers who continue to struggle for land and justice all through these years and to help ensure that our collective memory of the injustice suffered by our peasant brothers and sisters would be transformed into concrete solidarity with them in their struggle.

Amihan, the national organization of Filipino peasant women, founded in October 25, 1986, had just had its National Council meeting with officers coming from as far as Mindanao and Isabela. As the founding general secretary of Amihan, I was part of the Amihan contingent in that Mendiola protest to demand land for the peasantry from the Cory Aquino government.

We joined the assembly at the Liwasang Bonifacio and marched to Mendiola via Quiapo then Recto. The Amihan contingent was in the middle of the long file of demonstrators. Our part of the demonstration was still on Recto, between Morayta and Mendiola, when we heard the bursts of gunfire. Among the Amihan women, I believe I was the only one who had been in a prior protest action in Mendiola violently dispersed by the police and the military. Previous dispersal would commence with the use of water cannons to break up the line of demonstrators. In 1987, there was no such warning; it was the successive volleys of gunfire that met the demonstrators. I was shocked and at the same time had to ensure that the Amihan women were together as many of them came from the provinces and would be hard put to know where to go. A store along Recto provided us with temporary sanctuary and when the guns were silenced, we walked to the National Press Club, where we learned of the deaths of several of the demonstrators including two women.[1]

The succeeding days would be spent at the wake of the massacre victims held at the Mt. Carmel Church in New Manila. Former Senator Jose “Pepe” Diokno, Former Manila Times publisher Chino Roces were among those who condoled with the families of the victims and with KMP.

An indignation rally was held after the burial of the victims. The assembly point was at the Quezon City Memorial Circle and I remember vividly RC and Dudie Constantino joining the Amihan group in solidarity with the demand for justice for the victims.

The 1987 Mendiola massacre of the Filipino farmers was not the first or the last in the continuing struggle for land and justice of the peasantry and in the harsh response of the landlord-elite dominated Philippine state.

In September 20, 1985 a peaceful BAYAN-led Welgang Bayan in Escalante, Negros Occidental composed mostly of farm workers and farmers belonging to NFSW-FGT and other progressive groups were fired upon by elements of the Philippine Constabulary and the Civilian Home Defense Force. 20 rallyists died on the spot and about a hundred protesters were wounded. Among those who were killed was Juvelyn Jarabelo, a twenty year old member of the Student Christian Movement (SCM) who was part of the kitchen support staff of the Welgang Bayan. [2] Almost 26 years after the Escalante massacre, there is still no justice for the victims and their families.

The most recent massacre of peasants and farm workers was the Had. Luisita massacre “on November 16, 2004 when eight striking workers died, 200 others were injured and 120 farm workers and activists were arrested.” [3] Almost seven years after the Had. Luisita massacre, there is still no justice for the victims and their families and the land, promised to them, remains in the hands of the Aquino and Cojuangco families.

The statement of Carandang, one of Noynoy Aquino’s official apologists that “(w)e cannot keep revisiting issues over and over again” reveals the myopic and insensitive views of the Malacanang occupants. They refuse to understand the historical roots of the demand for land and justice of the Filipino peasants. It is not just about legal justice for the victims of all the massacres perpetrated by the state against peasants fighting for their rights. It is about social justice, the need to end the hunger for land, the hunger for social justice of those who make it possible for our lands to be productive.

But there is no use engaging those in Malacanang about social justice. Carandang’s response to the demand for justice for the victims of the Mendiola massacre is no different from the response of Malacanang to criticisms regarding the purchase of Noynoy Aquino of a Porsche: another myopic and insensitive response.

The defense of the landlord establishment by Malacanang is not surprising. It is the establishment. But for us, in academe or in the professions, turning a blind eye and deaf ears to the struggle of our peasant sisters and brothers is indefensible.

Why? Let the two poems below, one by Otto Rene Castillo and another by Gelacio Guillermo give the answer.
 

 

Apolitical Intellectuals
by Otto Rene Castillo

One day
the apolitical
intellectuals
of my country
will be interrogated
by the simplest
of our people.

They will be asked
what they did
when their nation died out
slowly,
like a sweet fire
small and alone.

No one will ask them
about their dress,
their long siestas
after lunch,
no one will want to know
about their sterile combats
with "the idea
of the nothing"
no one will care about
their higher financial learning.
 

 

They won't be questioned
on Greek mythology,
or regarding their self-disgust
when someone within them
begins to die
the coward's death.

 

They'll be asked nothing
about their absurd
justifications,
born in the shadow
of the total life.
On that day
the simple men will come.

Those who had no place
in the books and poems
of the apolitical intellectuals,
but daily delivered
their bread and milk,
their tortillas and eggs,
those who drove their cars,
who cared for their dogs and gardens
and worked for them,
and they'll ask:

"What did you do when the poor
suffered, when tenderness
and life
burned out of them?"

Apolitical intellectuals
of my sweet country,
you will not be able to answer.

A vulture of silence
will eat your gut.
 

Your own misery
will pick at your soul.
And you will be mute in your shame.

 

 

With our Arms Joined Together
Gelacio Guillermo

With our arms jointed together, do you not fear?
There are thousands and thousands of us answering
To the calls of our brothers sworn to our great creed.
Listen and shudder at the anger in our voice!

We come from all places where men still lead
Downtrodden live and die like famished dogs.
We come from the streets and slums of towns
And cities, from the factories that doom our days

To dull, mechanical labor, the whole of us silently
Bearing our souls’ anguish; our hearts seethe
With revolt against all forces that drag our creative life
Down the snare of death. We come from the den of rats.

You shall cringe as you watch us unfurl the banner
Of our brotherhood, mark the resolute ring in the army
Of voices joined together in one song, the song
Of the poor workers, the jobless, the starving,

The song also of men without homes and without land
In the country of their birth. With us have come
Our women and our innocent children and the ghosts
Of our fathers and the horde of dean men we have never known!

With our arms joined together, do you not fear?

 

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Fight for Land and Justice

Prof. Sarah Raymundo

On January 22, 1987, one year after former President Cory Aquino took office through People Power I, thousands of farmers and their class allies marched to Mendiola to remind the then president of the promise that made her presidential campaign one of the most hopeful in the history of presidential elections in the Philippines: Agrarian Reform. This for the thousands upon thousands of peasants and their families meant a future devoid of hunger, exclusion and death. It meant a future that will sever their ties from landlords who owned them and their family trees. It meant something different from Martial Law, anything and anyone but Marcos.

No such thing as "new times." Men in uniform of the Western Police District fired bullets that claimed the lives of Adelfa Aribe, Vicente Campomanis, Danilo Arjona, Ronilo Domanico, Roberto Yumol, Dionisio Bautista, Bernabe Laquindanum from Southern Tagalog; and Roberto Caylo, Rodgrigo Grampan, Dante Evangelio, Angelito Gutierrez, Leopoldo Alonzo, Sonny Boy Perez, great martyrs of a time when media practitioners and sloppy academics were obsessing over "democratic space." When people are killed right outside the locked gates of the Malacanang Palace, all talk of "democratic space" sounds like an escape to debauchery. Too obscene even for someone like me who was too young then and could only imagine the tragedy from historical accounts and a quick side by side marching with the farmers who might have met one or more of the victims when they were still alive, toiling and fighting.

Now the U.S.-Aquino Regime can only offer psywar in relation to the filipino people's struggle for land.CARPER will only extend the folly that is the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law. Worse, it is obviously an instrument to water down the solidarity among the struggling peasants. The Philippine State continues its fascistic rule and inflicts its worst form on the farmers:
Guinyangan 3 Massacre (1981)
Tagkawayan 8 Massacre (1981, Quezon)
Victoria 7 Massacre (Mindoro Oriental)
Lobo 4 Massacre (Batangas)
Blanco 5 Massacre (Mindoro Occidental)
Lumil 3 Massacre (Cavite)
Hacienda Luisita Massacre (7 dead, 2004 the estate is owned by Pres. Noynoy Aquino's family)

One of the first questions that got me to reading about the history of the peasant uprising in the Philippines was posed by the historian Professor Mila Guerero: Ano ang pinakamatagal nang problema ng Pilipinas?/What is the Philippines' longest standing problem? I was a teenager fresh out of all sorts of things so my guess was "traffic?" The answer? LAND.

It remains to be the answer. Struggle for Genuine Agrarian Reform! Realize Collective and Mechanized Farming! Struggle for Nationalism and Democracy towards Socialism!

 

 

 

Farmers condemn continuing killings, Oplan Bayanihan
01/20/2011 - 09:51.

About 50 farmers from the nationwide group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP, Peasant Movement of the Philippines), Alyansa ng Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita (AMBALA), Danggayan dagiti Mannalon ti Cagayan Valley (DANGGAYAN-CV, KMP Cagayan Valley) and Tanggol Magsasaka condemned the continuing extra-judicial killings against peasants, as well as the counter-insurgency program of president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino Oplan Bayanihan and protested in front of Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City. They were also joined by leaders of Pamalakaya-Pilipinas, Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura, Amihan peasant federation, Anakpawis Partylist and NNARA-Youth.

“The injustice of Mendiola Massacre is now at its 24th year and yet extra-judicial killings against peasants continue. Imagine we are ruled by presidents, mother and son who tolerate these gruesome acts against us who struggle for our rights to land,” said Antonio Flores, KMP Spokesperson and Tanggol Magsasaka Co-convenor.

“Aquino’s Oplan Bayanihan is hypocritical as it is a bastardation of the true meaning of our country’s valued tradition. Aquino’s Bayanihan is out to destroy that tradition, wreaking havoc among peasants and displacing us from our farms,” Flores said.

The groups also condemned the continuing extra-judicial killing, the latest victim was Oyi Villarosa, a peasant leader of Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luson (AMGL, KMP Central Luzon) in Sta. Rosa, Nueva Ecija. Villarosa was killed last January 2 by motorcycle-riding men.

“Oplan Bayanihan is nothing but a continuation and mutation of Oplan Bantay Laya, its primary objective is to repress people’s movement such as ours, to dampen our struggle for genuine land reform and protect the interest of big landlords, compradors and foreign monopoly. This strategy based no other than from the US Counterinsurgency Guide of 2009 is doomed to fail as we would never be cowed nor deceived by measures,” Flores added.

The groups also scored Aquino’s governance in 2010 as his administration tolled 13 peasant victims of extra-judicial killings, 2 of enforced disappearances and 5 for political persecution or accusations of fabricated charges. They are calling for justice for Pascual Guevarra, the first EJK victim, killed on July 9, Villarosa, Ireneo Rodriguez of SAMBAT (KMP Batangas) killed on November 9 and other victims from Rizal, Masbate, Davao City and Compostela Valley.

They are also demanding the immediate release of Dario Tomada, former peasant leader of SAGUPA - SB (KMP Eastern Visayas), Darwin Liwag of PUMALAG (KMP Laguna), Esmeraldo Bardon of KMP Camarines Norte, Felicidad Caparal of UMA and other political prisoners across the country.

“The reality is the exact opposite of what Aquino is promising the country. His talk are all crap and we are killed or imprisoned one by one. The people should learn that Aquino ran for president to protect his family’s interest in Hacienda Luisita, as well as other hacienderos controlling vast lands in different parts of the country. He is no agent of reform, he is to preserve feudal control or their monopoly over lands, he is anti-peasant, anti-people,” added Flores.

The group said that the Aquino government is already positioning its military for an all-out onslaught against the peasants as farmer groups from different areas reported setting up of detachments. Farmers from Bgy. San Rafael in Rodriguez, Rizal reported that 2 American soldiers joined a military operation climbing the mountain of Parawagan. In Bgy. Tungkong Mangga, San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan, elements of the PNP Provincial Mobile Group began training exercises on Araneta-controlled lands but their operations covered the lands of local farmers. There is also a sudden increase in numbers of military detachments in Eastern Visayan provinces. In Mindanao, the military continues it destructive operations at Paquibato District, Davao City, as well as in Marihatag town, Surigao del Sur.

“Aquino is replicating his mother’s legacy of total war. He is dumb not to learn from history as his mother’s rule resulted gross human rights violations as product of massive militarization, killing of activists, deployment of para-military groups and low intensity conflict,” Flores said.

The groups mocked Aquino playing toy soldiers and as protest burned symbols of Oplan Bayanihan. KMP said that they would intensify their protest on January 21 to commemorate Mendiola Massacre and condemn the 24 years of injustice for the victims. #
 

 
     
           
     
     
     

 

Survivors told Noynoy: Justice for Mendiola massacre victims means “giving up Luisita and reopening of the 24 year old case”
01/19/2011 - 09:49.

Three days before the 24th year anniversary of infamous Mendiola Massacre, survivors and relatives of the massacre challenged President Benigno Simeon Aquino III to give up his family’s “illegal and immoral claim” over the 6,453 hectare Hacienda Luisita and pave way for the re-opening of the case which claimed the lives of 13 farmers from Central Luzon and Southern Tagalog and injured more 100 other peasant activists 24 years ago.

In a press conference held at the national headquarters of umbrella alliance Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) in Quezon City, they said justice will only be served to the peasant martyrs of Mendiola if President Aquino will agree to have distributed the vast the sugar estate to 10,000 farm worker beneficiaries for free and that the President would also order the reinvestigation of the massacre.

“If President Aquino has that sense for justice and justice, he will immediately place Luisita under free land distribution and he will give that sacred vow to punish the perpetrators of that mass murder of peasants 24 years ago,” said Miriam Villanueva, 42 and one of the survivors of the brutal carnage.

Villanueva, the local officer of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) chapter and organizer of the Katipunan ng mga Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan (Kasama-TK) in Cavite province was 18 years old then. She recalled how she and her fellow farmers from Southern Tagalog and Central Luzon ran for cover like rats on that day- January 22, 1987 when members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) went on shooting spree and killed 13 farmers instantly and left over a hundred farmers and supporters wounded.

“Nandito pa rin iyong sugat hindi nawawala. Iyong mapait na alaala ng Mendiola Masaker parang nagpapatuloy na bangungot. Hangga’t walang katarungan sa pagkamatay ng 13 magsasaka, mananatili ang sakit at pait ng madugong kahapon,” Villanueva said.

The 42-year old peasant activist likewise questioned the implementation of extended Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) under Republic Act 9700 or the CARP extension with reforms (CARPer).

“We did not ask for CARP or CARPer. That is very clear to us when we marched from the agrarian reform office to Mendiola. What we were asking then and until now is free distribution of lands to landless tillers. Only narrow minds like that of Mr. Aquino would have difficulty in understanding of what we had collectively asked that time” said Villanueva.

KMP spokesperson Antonio Flores announced that a 30-vehicle caravan from the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) national office in Quezon City to Supreme Court will be staged on Friday January 21 to commemorate the 24th year anniversary of Mendiola Massacre.

The KMP spokesman said his group and the Unyon ng Mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) will submit a motion to the Supreme Court urging the high tribunal to immediately resolve the pending case against the Stock Distribution Option (SDO) and lift the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) imposed against the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC) which previously placed the 6,435 hectare sugar estate for distribution to farm worker beneficiaries.

Flores said from SC , the farmers will proceed to the Department of Justice (DoJ) to submit a letter of appeal to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima which would ask the latter to pursue a reinvestigation of the 24-year old Mendiola Massacre.

“For us Mendiola Massacre is a case unclosed and President Aquino is back to square one and he should face this issue fair-and –square,” the KMP leader added.

From Supreme Court, Flores said the farmers will march to Mendiola to demand to the Aquino government the immediate and unconditional distribution of Hacienda Luisita, the junking of CARPer and the scrapping of the new counter-insurgency plan Oplan Bayanihan, which KMP dismissed as extremely brutal and a champion of deception. #
 

     
     
           
     
     
     

 

KMP urges NDF, GRP to tackle Hacienda Luisita during peace talks
01/14/2011 - 08:58.
 

Supporters of striking Hacienda Luisita workers on Friday urged the peace panels of the communist-led National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) to tackle issues surrounding the 6, 453 hectare Hacienda Luisita currently embroiled in heated legal debate before the Supreme Court.

In manifesto, leaders of the militant farmer group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), the fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya), the peasant women federation Amihan and the Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) asked Luis Jalandoni, chair of the NDF peace negotiating panel and Atty. Alexander Padilla, head of the GRP peace panel to discuss the fate of the sugar estate currently controlled by the family of President Benigno Simeon Aquino III.

Speaking in behalf of the group, KMP secretary general Danilo Ramos said he is sure the NDF peace panel will bring the Luisita case as the talks proceeds with the second substantive agenda of the talks which is the Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms (CASER), but not in the case of GRP panel chief Atty. Padilla would bring the issue during the talks since Padilla’s principal is President Aquino, the man at the center of the political controversy regarding the Luisita land dispute.

“Fr. Jalandoni is expected to bring this social justice issue in the name of landless farm workers of Hacienda Luisita, but in the case of Atty. Padilla, that remains to be seen,” Ramos said. The KMP leader said it would be hard for the GRP panel to evade the issue of Hacienda Luisita even if the case is still pending in court.

“The case of Hacienda Luisita is a matter of social justice and a matter of life and death, especially to 10,000 farmer beneficiaries. It is a concrete issue that should be addressed by both panels. There is no problem with NDF since it is their interest to have Luisita sugar estate distributed for free to farm workers. The problem is on the part of the GRP who is representing Aquino, the big landlord of Luisita,” Ramos added.

Ramos who is also the concurrent secretary general of the Asian wide peasant formation Asian Peasant Coalition (APC) said farmer groups from different countries in Asia like India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Malaysia had also called for the free distribution of the Aquino-Cojuangco sugar estate to farm worker beneficiaries.

The APC which going to stage its 3rd general assembly in Colombo, Sri Lanka next week will approve a resolution demanding the outright and free distribution of the 6,453 hectare sugar lands to 10,000 farm worker beneficiaries.

Ramos said aside from Hacienda Luisita, other big cases of agrarian disputes like the case of Hacienda Yulo involving 7,100 hectares in Calamba, Laguna, the 10,000 hectare land dispute in Hacienda Looc, Nasugbu, Batangas and other agrarian reform reversals in Cagayan and Isabela provinces, Eastern Visayas, Panay, Negros and Mindanao islands should also be tackled during the talks.

Last year, the Supreme Court began hearing the Luisita case. The Hacienda Luisita Incorporated (HLI) management pushed for a compromise deal but was rejected by farm worker beneficiaries. A referendum on Stock Distribution Option (SDO) was also proposed by HLI management but was also rejected by Luisita farm workers.

The SC decided to form a mediation committee but was opposed and boycotted by farm workers. In November last year, Luisita farm workers led by United Luisita Workers Union (ULWU) and Alyansa ng mga Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita (Ambala) filed an omnibus motion urging the high tribunal to stop an alleged deal between HLI and the Wahaha group of company, a China owned softdrink giant.

Next week, Luisita farmers will file a motion for the speedy resolution of the Hacienda Luisita case. KMP said a 20-vehicle caravan from the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) national office to SC in Taft Avenue in Manila will be staged to press the high court to resolve the land dispute in favor of Luisita farm workers. #
 

     
     
           
Burning the effigy at Mendiola
           
     
     
     
=          
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Tula:

 

Alaala sa Magsasaka

ni Ka Elmo ng Migrante Austria

(01/20/11)

(Sa Huling gabi ng Kampuhan bago ang Mendiola Massacre. Enero 21,1987)

 

Tinangay ng hangin, mga taong pangungulila sa Bayan

Panandaliang Bayan ay muling mayakap at makapiling

Pinasigla ang katawang pagod sa paghahanap buhay

Sa malaon na pagpapa-alila sa bansang mayaman sa langis

 

Huling gabing sama-sama sa kampuhan sa harapan ng DAR

Makasaysayan at makabuluhan ang pagkakakilanlan

Sandaliang yapak na hindi makakalimutan at laging na-alaala

Panaghoy ng magsasaka sa kawalan ng lupang sinasaka

 

Sulo ang gabay sa bawat pagtahak sa landas ng pakikabaka

Mga awiting makabayan ang gumising sa diwang palaban

Umaapaw ang galit sa pusong umaapoy sa pag-aaklas

Kalamigan ng hamog ang siyang pumipigil sa pagliliyab

 

Pumipiglas ang buwan sa rehas ng makakapal na ulap

Nakikiisa sa anak ng bayang ginapos sa pagkaalipin

Dekadang kahirapan, siyang bumubuklod sa pagkakaisa

Lupang inagaw at malaon nang ipinaglalabang mabawi

 

 

Kaapihan ang sumasakal ng kabuhayan sa kanayunan

Nagpapalayas mula sa minanang lupang kinagisnan

Na pinagkukunan ng kayamanang ikabubuhay ng pamilya

Lipunang mapaniil, siyang balon na pinaghuhugutan ng lakas

 

Magkakakutsabang hasindero at Imperyalistang ganid

Ang tumugis at pumaslang sa 13 Bayaning Magsasaka

Tumangis ang Inangbayan  sa pagkawala ng kanyang mga anak

Na nagbubungkal ng lupa at nagpapakain sa sambayanan

 

Nagluksa ang mga kababayan sa naganap na Masaker sa Mendiola

Hindi napigilan, mga luhang pumatak sa nagbabagang disyerto

Nagpasiklab sa galit ng mga manggagawang inaalipin sa gitnang silangan

Damdaming humuhulagpos sa tinahak ng mga magsasaka

 

24 anyos na ang nakalipas, ilang rehimen na ang nagpalit ng mukha

Di pa rin nabibigyan ng hustisya ang mga mgasasaka.

24 anyos na ang nakalipas, dati si kabayan lang ang nagpa-alila

Ngayon kasama na pati anak na nagpapa-alipin sa ibayong dagat

 

Tuloy ang laban para sa tunay na reporma sa lupa at pambansang industriyalisasyon

Na magbibigay ng desenteng kabuhayan sa sariling bayan.

  

Related Video: 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lzn3BWWZR8U

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9bXB13zUDc&feature=mfu_in_order&list=UL

 

           

x

24 Years Later, the Wounds of Mendiola Still Bleed

 

Survivors of the Mendiola Massacre are left with bitter memories of that day 24 years ago, when soldiers and police fired their weapons at a group of protesting farmers. Their thirst for justice has kept them going in their continuing struggle for land.

 

Photo by Jo A. Santos / bulatlat.com

Pedro Gonzalez: ‘Life for Farmers Is Meaningless If They Are Deprived of Land’
Click here to read the story

 

Photo by Jo A. Santos / bulatlat.com

Teresita Arjona: ‘It’s Not to Much to Demand Justice, to Demand Land for the Landless’
Click here to read the story

 

Related Stories:

 

Farmers Demand New DOJ Probe of Mendiola Massacre, SC Action on Luisita Case

 

Farmers Urge Noynoy to Reopen Mendiola Massacre Case

 

Read more stories on the Mendiola Massacre and the struggle for genuine agrarian reform in the Philippines

 

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From Pinoy Weekly

Balik-tanaw sa Mendiola massacre

Binalikan ng mga magsasaka ang lugar ng pamamaslang sa 13 nilang kasamahan, 24 na taon na ang nakararaan. Tatlong presidente na ang nagdaan, pero wala pa ring hustisya sa kanila. Naiinip na ang mga magsasaka. Pinoy Weekly Staff

 

 

 

Filing a petition at the Supreme Court
     
     
     
     
           
     
     
     

 

Farmers to endure worsening hunger, poverty under the Aquino government
01/11/2011 - 09:25.

The nationwide farmers’ organization Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP, Peasant Movement of the Philippines) said that Filipino farmers are to endure worsening poverty and hunger under the Aquino government this year. The group reacted to latest reports that the National Food Authority (NFA) doubled its allocation of rice imports to traders and poverty and hunger survey of Social Weather Station (SWS) that reported a significant increase in Filipinos who claimed to have gone hungry as they lacked anything to eat from September to November last year. KMP said that president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino is a copycat of Gloria Macapal-Arroyo particularly on his agrarian and agricultural policies that gravely affects the lives of farmers nationwide.

“We see a repetition of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in Aquino’s programs, such as the liberalization of agriculture, allowing NFA to increase allocation of imported rice. Everybody knows that these bad tasting imported rice compete with the locally-produced thus, giving opportunities to landlords and traders to even depress the farmgate price of palay, leaving the rice farmers in deep poverty and debt,” said Danilo Ramos, KMP Secretary-General in a press statement.

“Aquino is a total liar when he criticized the Arroyo government of over-importing rice that rotted at NFA warehouses. Now he is doing exactly the same,” Ramos added.

KMP said that Aquino’s moves to increase allocation to traders and the P8-billion budget cut of NFA is a clear measure of liberalization. Instead of beefing up NFA to purchase more local rice, Aquino is geared towards flooding the loca market with imported rice from Vietnam and Thailand. The recent move would even slash the local rice share to the NFA stock of 16% and amplify the imported rice share of 84%.

“Aquino has no plan of changing our status as the world’s number one rice net importer and the NFA is acting as a trader for imported rice,” Ramos said.

The group said that the Aquino has ignored the farmers’ grievances since it took the post as president. Last year, the farmers opposed the P8-billion budget cut of NFA and proposed to increase the agency’s capacity to buy more local rice. The group also condemned the NFA’s increase in retail price from P25 to P27 per kilo and suggested a rollback to its previous price of P18.25 per kilo. Instead of stopping rice imports, Aquino is now increasing the allocation to traders.

“This is exactly the root causes of the worsened hunger Filipinos endured. Farmers suffer landlessness, low prices of palay and high retail price, and the Aquino government seems inexistent to make a change of our state,” Ramos said.

KMP recently called for a moratorium on land rent on landslides and flood-hit provinces in Eastern Visayas, Bicol and CARAGA. The group said that the landlords’ charging of land rent would definitely put farmers into deep poverty as their produce were heavily damaged by the heavy rains resulting flash floods and landslides.

“Affected farmers and their farms are yet to rehabilitated and here comes Aquino’s measure of flooding the local market with imported rice. Rice farmers are facing a beating under the Aquino government,” Ramos said.

“We call on concerned sectors to oppose Aquino’s liberalization policy on agriculture, particularly rice. The Aquino government is destroying our capacity to produce our own food and transforming us to mere dependents of imported rice,” Ramos called. #
 

     
           
     
     
     
     

 

ANUARY 5, 2011
NEWS RELEASE
For Reference: ROY MORILLA, KMP information officer
Contact No: 435-2383 KMP National Office

KMP dares Noynoy: Re-open Mendiola Massacre case

Seventeen days before the commemoration of the 24th anniversary of the infamous Mendiola Massacre, the militant peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) today urged President Benigno Simeon Aquino III to re-open the 24-year old case that killed 13 farmers and injured 100 others during the bloody dispersal of a farmer’s rally demanding free land distribution from the administration of the late President Corazon Cojuangco Aquino.

In a press statement, KMP secretary general Danilo Ramos said the Mendiola Massacre which took place on January 22, 1987 at the bridge of Chino Roces is not about a past being revisited or a chapter of a dark history being recalled on commemorative basis, but a living and continuing search of peasants for land and justice.

“We challenge the 50-year old President to re-open the Mendiola Massacre case and pursue a full-blown and independent probe. The murderers are still out there and worse, nobody from past administrations and even under Mr. Aquino’s administration dares to revive the investigation which is being demanded since 1987,” the KMP leader said.

From January 15-21, 1987, the KMP led militant farmers from Southern Tagalog and Central Luzon provinces staged a camp-out outside the Ministry of Agrarian Reform (MAR) office then headed by agrarian reform minister Heherson Alvarez. The farmers were demanding the immediate free distribution of lands under the Aquino administration.

On January 22, about 10,000 to 15,000 farmers marched from the agrarian reform office in Quezon City to Mendiola to ask Mrs. Aquino to make true of her promise to implement genuine land reform. But farmers were violently dispersed by military and police forces when the protesters reached Mendiola. During the dispersal, 13 farmers were killed, 39 marchers sustained gunshot wounds and 20 other farmers suffered minor injuries.

The killing of 13 farmers caused the peace panel of the communist led National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) to withdraw from peace talks with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP).

KMP said if President Aquino wants to correct the grave mistake of Mendiola massacre he would call for the re-investigation of the case and file criminal and other appropriate charges against those responsible for the brutal murder of 13 farmers. The farmer group also said another corrective measure is for the Cojuangco-Aquino clan to surrender their immoral and illegal claim on the 6,453 hectare Hacienda Luisita to the 10,000 farm worker beneficiaries, which KMP said are the collective owners of the sugar estate in Tarlac City.

The KMP said farmers all over the country will mark the 24th anniversary of Mendiola massacre with protests. The group said aside from genuine land reform and demand of justice for victims of Mendiola massacre and state repression, farmers will also call for the scrapping of extended Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program with reforms (CARPer) law and the passage of progressive Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB) or House Bill 374.

The KMP also said the nationally coordinated mass action on January 22 will call for the junking of Oplan Bayanihan, a new counter-insurgency program which the group said was designed and authored by the US state military department under the US Counter-Insurgency Guide of 2009, which the peasant group said is bound to surpass the extreme brutality of Oplan Bantay Laya implemented for nine years under the administration of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Mendiola
     
     
           
     
     
     

 

LAND REFORM AND NATIONAL DEMOCRACY

(Speech by Jose Maria Sison delivered in Pilipino before the first Central Luzon Regional Conference of Kabataang Makabayan, at Republic Central Colleges, Angeles City, on October 31, 1965; and in English at the College of Agriculture, University of the Philippines, Los Ba¤os, Laguna on March 23, 1966.)

The Colonial Question and the Agrarian Question

AT THE PRESENT STAGE of our national history, the single immediate purpose to which our people are committed is the acievement of national democracy. On this single purpose, all are agreed, irrespective of social class, unless one belongs to a class aggrandized by the perpetuation of semi-colonial and semi- feudal conditions in our society. Unless one is a landlord or a comprador, one aspires to have his nation free from colonial and imperialist exploitation. Every patriotic Filipino wishes to liquidate imperialism and feudalism simultaneously in order to achieve national democracy.

The relation between national democracy and land reform is very clear. We can achieve genuine land reform only if we, as a nation, are free from colonial and imperialist domination. In fighting for national democracy against U.S. imperialism and feudalism today, we need to unite the peasantry - the most numerous class in our society - on the side of all other patriotic classes and we need to unite with the peasantry, as the main force or backbone of our national unity and anti-imperialist struggle.

The peasantry will join the anti-imperialist movement only if it is convinced that the movement can bring about a state capable of carrying out land reform. In his long struggle for social justice, the Filipino peasant has learned that there must first be a decisive change in the character of the state, brought about largely and fundamentally by the worker-peasant alliance. He has learned the lesson a long time ago that before democratic reforms can be completely effected the national state must be secured from imperialist control and must be firmed up by the overwhelming support of the peasantry and the working class, whose alliance is far more reliable and more qualitatively powerful than that peasant-ilustrado combination which became frustrated by U.S. imperialism at the start of this century.

If we study closely the early development of the national- democractic movement, we can see its profound basis in the agrarian situation in the Philippines during the Spanish colonial era. The demand for political freedom became a valid demand to the masses only when they realized that a national state, their own popular sovereignty, could protect them against the exploitative colonial power which could only benefit the colonizers and their local agents. The Philippine revolution of 1896 took full form only after the peasantry became mobilized into a powerful national liberation movement against colonialism and serfdom. The peasantry provided the mass support for the Philippine revolutionary government and fought the most intense patriotic war against colonial authority, especially in those areas where the contradiction between the peasant and the landlord was most intense. Colonial domination meant feudalism. It had to be overthrown by the armed might of the peasantry.

If we study assiduously the writings and experience of the old national democratic heroes, we cannot help but find the insistent line that the lack of political freedom of a nation is based upon economic exploitation and control by an alien power. In the case of the Filipino people, during the Spanish era, the theocratic unity of church and state and the lack of national and individual freedom were based upon the feudal economic order and upon the mutual landlordism of lay and ecclesiastical authorities.

In Dr. Jose Rizal's El Filibusterismo, you will note how the story of Cabesang Tales cries out for a nation-state capable of protecting its own citizens against foreign exploiters. The story of Cabesang Tales is no different from the lives of our peasant brothers today. He is a victim of excessive land rent, usury, servitude, extortion, insecurity from both lawless elements and legal authorities, ignorance of laws made by landlords for their own benefit, and even of his own industry which only attracts more exploitation from the exploiters. His daughter, Huli, is sacrificed to the unjust circumstances that afflict her father's goodwill as she falls prey to the pious hypocrisies of usurious do gooders and the local curate who would even violate her virginal virtues as she seeks his fatherly assistance. On the other hand, while her family suffers all these difficulties, her brother is conscripted into the colonial army - in the same way that our youth today are conscripted into the U.S. controlled military machinery - to fight peasants that are in revolt in other islands and in neighboring countries. As the unkindest cut of all to her family, Tano her brother - now called Carolino after his share of fighting for Spanish colonialism against the rebellions natives in the Carolines - would find himself in his own country to hunt down a so-called bandit called Matanglawin, his own father who has turned into a peasant rebel leading multitudes of those who had been dispossessed of their land.

In an ironic situation where the peasant conscripts must fight their own peasant brothers upon the orders of a foreign power, when the mercenaries must face mountains and mountains of guerrillas, Carolino shoots down his own grandfather, the docile and overpatient old peasant who has always advised Cabesang Tales, his aggrieved son, never to respond to the provocations of the powerful. Old as he is, representing several generations of peasant oppression and patience, he has finally become a peasant fighter after the brutal death of his dear granddaughter only to be shot down in an objective act of colonial reaction by his own unwitting grandson. It is too late when Tano or Carolino realizes it is his own grandfather he has shot, unwittingly betraying his own family and his own class. Such is the ironic situation into which many of our peasant brothers are drawn when they enlist in the military, follow the orders of U.S. trained officers, use U.S. arms, be guided by U.S.
intelligence, ideology and advice, and allow themselves to be used against their own peasant brothers in other towns or provinces in our own country, or in foreign countries where they are used by U.S. imperialism to fight peasants who are fighting for their national freedom, as in many countries of Southeast Asia today.

The story of the peasant rebel, Matanglawin, has its basis in the life of Dr. Jose Rizal. As a young man and as a leader of his people, he showed courage in exposing the exploitative practices of the friar landlords and drew up a petition seeking redress which was signed by the tenants, leaseholders and leading citizens of Calamba. What followed the petition came to be known as the Calamba Affair. Governor General Weyler surrounded the town of Calamba, burned the homes of the people, confiscated their animals and exiled the Filipino townleaders. The colonial logic of the Calamba Affair was pursued to the end, to the death and martyrdom of Rizal and to the outbreak of the Philippine revolution. The dialectics of history led to the polarization between the Filipino peasantry and the Spanish colonial authorities. What made Rizal unforgivable to the Spanish colonial authorities was his having exposed feudal exploitation to its very foundation.

Andres Bonifacio, the city worker feeling spontaneously the fraternal links between his nascent class and the long- standing class of the peasantry, expressed in fiery revolutionary language the peasant protest against feudalism in his poem Katapusang Hibik ng Pilipinas:

Ang lupa at bahay na tinatahanan, Bukid at tubigang kalawak-lawakan, Sa paring kastila'y binubuwisan... Ikaw nga, Inang pabaya't sukaban Kami'y di na iyo saan man humanggan. Ihanda mo, Ina, ang paglilibingan Sa mawawakwak na maraming bangkay.

Bonifacio's call for revolt against feudal exploitation had been prepared by a long series of peasant struggles covering hundreds of years before him. Only after having waged a long series of sporadic and uncoordinated rebellions did the Filipino peasant realize that it took a well-organized and a conscious nation of peasants working as a single massive force to successfully attack feudal power and achieve the formation of a nation-state. Note clearly in the revolutionary poem of Bonifacio that the denunciation of feudal exploitation goes with his call for armed struggle against the colonial power.

Apolinario Mabini, in his Ordenanzas de la Revolucion, a collection of directives for the successful conduct of the revolution, expressed in clear terms the abolition of feudalism as a national objective:

Rule 21. All usurpations of properties made by the Spanish government and the religious corporations will not be recognized by the revolution, this being a movement representing the aspirations of the Filipino people, true owners of the above properties.

The Philippine revolution of 1896 could have been the instrument of the peasant masses for redeeming the lands taken away from them by their feudal exploiters through more than 300 years of colonial rule.

U.S. Imperialism: Enemy of the Filipino Peasantry

When U.S. military intervention and aggression came in 1898 to mislead and subsequently crush the Philippine revolution in the Filipino-American war of 1899-1902, the main revolutionary objectives of establishing a free nation-state and of achieving land reform was crushed. In order to succeed in its reactionary venture, U.S. imperialism snuffed out the lives of more than 250 thousand combatant and non- combatant peasants. They did to our people, largely to our peasant masses, what they are now directly doing again to the people of Vietnam with the same purpose of frustrating a revolutionary nation and its collective desire for democratic reforms, particularly land reform.

In order to stabilize its imperialist rule in the Philippines, the U.S. government sought the collaboration of the old ruling class in the previous colonial regime. It returned to the friars and their lay collaborators their landed estates which had been confiscated from them, and offered to the landlord class as a whole the privilege of sharing the spoils of a new colonial administration and of participating in a new pattern of commercial relations, that is, one between a capitalist metropolis and a colony. The new dispensation of U.S. imperialism required the Philippines to be a producer of raw materials for U.S. capitalist industries and a purchaser of surplus U.S. manufactures.

As a result of the continuous struggle of the peasant masses against U.S. imperialism even after 1902, when all the Filipino landlord and ilustrado elements had already accepted U.S. sovereignty and were already collaborating with the new colonial masters, the U.S. colonial administration went through the motion of buying friar estates for the purpose of dividing and redistributing them to tenants. However, no change in the agrarian situation could really be effected. The tenants were in no position to pay the high land prices, the high interest rates and the onerous taxes. The complicated land title system confounded them and allowed more smart government officials and private individuals to grab lands. The lack of governmental measures of assistance brought about the wholesale loss of holdings of tenants who did acquire them. Huge tracts of land became alienated into the hands of U.S. corporations and individual carpetbaggers incontravention of laws introduced by the U.S. regime
itself. Filipino landlords and renegades of the Philippine revolution were given more lands as a reward for their collaboration and were allowed to gobble up small landholding both legally and illegally.

U.S. imperialism had planned that large haciendas would still remain in the hands of the landlords in order that sugar, copra, hem, tobacco and other raw agricultural products would be immediately exchanged in bulk with U.S. surplus manufactures through the agency of what we now call the compradors. Today, if you wish to have a clear idea of compradors, observe the comprador-landlords, under the leadership of Alfredo Montelibano in the Camber of Agriculture and Natural Resources, who are benefitted by the neocolonial trade between the Philippines and the United States and who are now maneuvering the perpetuation of parity rights and preferential trade.

According to the MacMillan-Rivera report, nineteen per cent of the farms in the Philippines were operated by tenants or share-croppers at the beginning of the U.S. colonial regime. By 1918, after the supposed division and redistribution of the friar estates and after a large increase in total farms through the opening of public lands, tenancy had risen to 22 per cent. In the 1930's, as the peasantry became more dispossessed and poorer, tenancy further rose to 36 per cent. The pretended grant of independence by the United States, far from reversing the trend of peasant pauperization, increased it and exposed the emptiness of such a bogus grant. By the late 1950's the tenancy rate rose to 40 per cent.

According to figures issued by the reactionary government, tenancy in the Philippines embraced eight million out of 27 million Filipinos in 1963. In Central Luzon, 65.87 per cent of all farms were tenant operated, and in the province of Pampanga it was 88 per cent - the highest rate for all provinces in the country. This did not yet include an equal number of the wholly landless agricultural workers who subsisted under onerous contract labor conditions on sugar haciendas, coconut plantations and elsewhere. The displaced tenants and the irregular, seasonal agricultural workers - the sacadas - are also a part of the hapless poor peasantry.

Political Unity of the Peasantry and the Working Class

Within a decade after the ruthless suppression of the last guerrilla remnants of the First Philippine Republic, the worsened conditions of the peasantry in our barrios gave rise to spontaneous revolts and also produced peasant mass protest organizations. These unified in 1922 in the Confedaracion de Apareceros y Obreros Agricolas de Filipinas, which was broadened and renamed two years later as Kalipunang Pambansa ng mga Magbubukid sa Pilipinas (KPMP). The KPMP not only demanded agrarian reforms but also called for national independence in the same way the Katipunan of Bonifacio did. In 1930, the leaders of this peasant organization consequently united with the Katipunan ng mga Anak Pawis ng Pilipinas for the purpose of creating a worker-peasant political alliance under the leadership of the Communist Party of the Philippines.

The establishment of the Communist Party of the Philippines marked a qualitative change in the status and thinking of the working class and a strategic portion of the peasantry. It made these two classes more capable of conducting their own class struggle and the national struggle. They challenged the liberal democratic pretensions of U.S. imperialism and its local agents.

So long as U.S. imperialism held the reins of power in the Philippines, however, the Filipino peasantry could not raise themselves from their exploited condition. The more they manifested strength and progressive consciousness, the more they became subjected to military and police suppression unleashed by the U.S. imperialist regime. And yet, in that period, the peasant mass organizations were led into reformist activities exclusively and seemingly directed at the landlords and the trade union movement directed its main blow at the bourgeoisie "in general". It is true that the working class party was aware of the popular outcry for national independence, but it failed to develop the corresponding national democratic strategy. It failed to deliver powerful blows at U.S. imperialism to expose it thoroughly and mass the forces of the nation against it. Instead, it was the puppet politicians and even the Sakdalistas who seemed to have perceived more clearly the main contradiction and
the main demand and they tried to pursue the same objective of sabotaging the national democratic movement into two disparate ways. The puppet politicians took the way of begging for independence from U.S. imperialism. The Sakdalistas took the way of anarchism.

U.S. imperialism, together with its landlord-comprador cohorts, was certain of its main enemy. A few months after the formal alliance of the KPMP and the KAP, the Communist Party of the Philippines was immediately outlawed; thus, it was deprived of its democratic rights.

The outlawing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, nevertheless, could not conceal the reality of peasant oppression during the direct colonial rule of the United States. In 1931, a local peasant revolt occurred in Tayug, Pangasinan. A bigger armed uprising of armed peasants occurred in 1936 in the towns of Cabuyao and Sta. Rosa, Laguna led by the Sakdal. These peasant revolts were continuing manifestations of the unbearable exploitation of the peasantry and were at the same time the critical effects of the U.S. capitalist depression in the 1930's.

The bitterest agrarian unrest in the 1930's occurred in Pampanga where the Socialist Party and its peasant union, Aguman ding Maldang Talapagobra, militantly fought the landlords and stood their ground against the civilian guards and the Philippine Constabulary. The Socialist Party led the peasants and agricultural workers in the open until anti-communist repression was eased as a result of the Popular Front tactics and the Communist Party of the Philippines allowed to surface to add its force to the worldwide anti-fascist struggle. The "social justice" program of President Quezon was articulated only as a concession to the vigorous demand of the peasantry for agrarian reform.

When World War II broke out, the dislodgement of U.S. imperialism from the Philippines and the emergence of anti- Japanese resistance became the condition for the success of the peasant movement in Central Luzon and Southern Luzon to effect land reform among themselves on the land abandoned by the landlords. Throughout the country, landlord power was generally weakened as its normal lines of control were broken by the conditions of war.

The Japanese imperialists were resisted by armed peasant masses. Where resistance was most successful, the peasant masses were able to use the land abandoned by the landlords to their social advantage. The resistance against Japanese imperialism served as a means for the peasants to assert their power over the land. The armed struggle gave them the power to eliminate the control and influence of the landlords over their land. Many landlords decided to collaborate with the Japanese imperialists. This occasion should have been an opportunity for the entire peasantry to learn that landlordism seeks protection in the bigger power of imperialism, whether American or Japanese. It was indeed, unfortunate that while they were warding off the excesses and brutality of the newly-come imperialists, they became distracted from the similar nature of U.S. imperialism whose radio broadcasts were blatantly announcing its desire to re-take the Philippines and whose motley agents were already
scattered throughout the archipelago to keep USAFFE guerrillas waiting for MacArthur. The anti- fascist struggle could have been converted into a struggle against imperialism, both Japanese and American. The cadres of the peasant movement could have exposed the inter- imperialist aspect of the U.S.-Japanese war and alerted the peasantry to the return of U.S. imperialism. They could have spread out throughout the country and developed a reliable anti-imperialist guerrilla movement independent of the U.S. directed and U.S. controlled USAFFE. At any rate, through constant struggles against Japanese fascism and its landlord collaborators, the peasantry built up and supported a powerful national liberation army which delivered the most effective blows against the Japanese imperial army in the strategic areas of Central Luzon and Southern Luzon. These areas are strategic because they envelop Manila.

The Return of U.S. Imperialism and Landlordism

When the U.S. imperialists returned in 1945, they immediately attempted to re-install the landlords in all parts of the archipelago, particularly in Central Luzon and Southern Luzon, where they went to the extent of arresting, imprisoning, coercing and liquidating the peasant leaders and their comrades. They trusted the landlords, including those who collaborated with the fascist invaders, as their true allies and they were extremely distrustful of peasant guerrillas who were independent of the U.S. controlled USAFFE. Not only the Hukbalahap became the object of U.S. discrimination and abuse after the war but also the independent guerrilla units, of which the exemplary unit of Tomas Confesor in the Visayas was typical. Post-war benefits and backpay went in bulk to prop up the recognized hero- puppets of U.S. imperialism.

Depending on the intelligence provided by the USAFFE, the Counter-Intelligence Corps and the landlords, the U.S. imperialists gave instructions to the Military Police and the Civilian Guards to attack the peasant masses and apprehend their leaders who had valiantly resisted the Japanese imperialists.

An entire squadron of anti-Japanese peasant fighters which accompanied the so-called U.S. liberators from Central Luzon to Manila was disarmed in Manila, driven off on their bare feet and massacred in Bulacan by the Military Police under secret imperialist orders. Peasant leaders were thrown into the same prisons where pro-Japanese puppets were kept. No less than the national chairman of the Pambansang Kaisahan ng Magbubukid was murdered while he was under the protective custody of the Military police and while he was campaigning for "democratic peace" in the countryside. Eight members of Congress who ran under the Democratic Alliance and who were elected by the overwhelming votes of the organized and class-conscious peasantry were forcibly removed from Congress. all these provocations, which preceded the outbreak of full-scale guerrilla warfare were conducted by U.S. imperialism to clear the way for the complete return of imperialist-landlord control of the Philippines. All
these provocations led ultimately to the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus and the unwarranted murder and imprisonment of peasants and their leaders and the anti-democratic crackdown on the Communist Party of the Philippines and such mass organizations as the Pambansang kaisahan ng mga Magbubukid.

After the expulsion of the peasant-supported Democratic Alliance members of the Congress in an all-out abuse of democracy, the Bell Trade Act and the Parity Amendment were ratified, formalizing the re-establishment of the imperialist-landlord pattern of trade, free-trade so-called, and the parity rights for U.S. citizens and corporations in the exploitation of our natural resources and the operation of public utilities.

U.S. imperialism, by unilateral choice, retained its military bases at twenty-three strategic points all over the archipelago, maintained the privilege of expanding them and of moving its troops from there, and employed them to exercise coercive influence on the peasantry and the entire Filipino people. Subsequently, the U.S.-R.P. Military Assistance Pact formally sanctioned the subordination of our military to U.S. military officers in the JUSMAG and to the entire system of U.S. military bases, supplies, planning and advice. In our civil service, U.S. advisers continued to control and direct the most strategic offices. In short, U.S. imperialism retained strategic control over the coercive paraphernalia of the Philippine puppet state and over the economic foundation and civil appurtenances of daily political life.

As the landlords and the imperialists cooperated to their mutual advantage in attacking the peasant masses, the latter were compelled to fight back in order to defend their national and democratic rights. There result of the peasant struggle between the years 1946 to 1952 you already know, it is recent history and there are no better sources of information on this struggle than the veteran peasant guerrilla fighters themselves.

At the height of its world power, U.S. imperialism massed its forces against the organized peasantry in order to paralyze the backbone of the Filipino nation and make its anti-national and anti-democratic impositions. In order to suppress the organized and class-conscious peasantry, the puppet agencies of U.S. imperialism recruited its troops from the peasantry only to use them against their own brothers in other barrios and towns. Thus, the story of Cabesang Tales and his son Tano or Carolino, was again repeated in the ceaseless struggle of the peasantry.

The leadership of the revolutionary mass movement had emerged from the war politically unprepared to expose and fight the return of U.S. imperialism, which was the only power which could under the circumstances effectively help the landlords to retrieve their lands from the patriotic peasants of Central Luzon and Southern Luzon. Instead of exposing and fighting the reactionary alliance between the landlords and the newly-returned U.S. imperialists who masterminded and gave full arms support to the Military Police and the civilian guards, the peasant movement accused the landlords only as pro-Japanese collaborators and failed to direct immediately the main blow against U.S. imperialism. The leadership of the revolutionary mass movement did not expose promptly the fact that the landlords who had been pro-Japanese collaborators became pro-U.S. collaborators. The delay in the exposure of U.S. imperialism, since before the war, as the leading enemy of the Filipino people and the
peasantry gave both the U.S. imperialists and the landlords the time to consolidate their positions.

The reactionary triumph of U.S. imperialism and feudalism has prolonged the suffering and exploitation of the peasant masses. Our peasant masses continue to suffer from the unfair distribution of land and the exploitative relations between tenant and landlord, unfair sharing of the crop, usury, landlord-controlled rural banks and cooperatives, profiteering middlemen, lack of price support, lack or high cost of fertilizers, irrigation and agricultural machines, inadequacy of extension work and scientific information and the deplorable conditions of the peasant in health, housing, nourishment and education. All of these difficulties and misfortunes are those of the entire nation, our agrarian nation whose numerically dominant class is the peasantry embracing more than 70 per cent of our population. The specter of feudalism haunts us to this day and substantially determines the colonial character of our economy.

With the collaboration of U.S. imperialists and Filipino landlords in full swing, we observe that the supremacy of a ruling elite in this country combines the character of imperialism and feudalism. We observe the local supremacy of the comprador-landlord class which is the most benefitted by the strategic U.S. control of our national economy and foreign trade. The owners of the sugar, coconut, abaca and other export-crop plantations have been the most benefitted from that colonial pattern of trade between our raw material exports and manufacture imports from the United States and other capitalist countries.

It was the military power of U.S. imperialism which prevailed over the peasantry in the absence of a prompt anti-imperialist and anti-feudal strategy developed by a peasant-mobilizing party. However, the myth that Ramon Magsaysay "saved democracy" has been created by U.S. imperialist propaganda. While Magsaysay was a successful propaganda weapon of U.S. imperialism and while he was able to confuse even some peasant leaders, it is clear beyond doubt now that he was responsible for the all-out abuse of democracy directed mainly against the peasantry, for thwarting the solution of the land problem by the peasant masses themselves, for the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus and for the brutalities of the sona, village bombardments, mass detainments and murders.

The imperialist version of land reform for which Magsaysay was glorified during his time has gone completely bankrupt. The land resettlement program intended supposedly for the benefit of the landless has only prolonged the life of feudalism in the Philippines. Landlords have taken over far vaster tracts of land in those areas of resettlement and in too many cases, they have even put into question the titles of small settlers. The program of expropriating big landholding for redistribution to the landless has only been used by the landlords to dispose of their barren and useless lands at an overprice to the government. The Magsaysay land reform, conducted by the Land Tenure Administration and the NARRA, have failed to improve the condition of the peasantry as the rate of tenancy has risen far beyond 40 per cent. The credit system of the ACCFA and the system of FACOMA's have failed to help the tenants and the small farmers and have only been manipulated by the landlords and corrupt
bureaucrats for their selfish interests. Agricultural extension workers from the Bureau of Agricultural Extension have always been inadequate.

As the imperialist-landlord combination ruled over the country in the 1950's by force of its state power, the reform measures and palliative proved ineffective in alleviating the condition of the peasantry or in whipping up false illusion. Imperialist and clerical organizations like the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM) and the Federation of Free Farmers also proved ineffective even as propaganda instruments among the peasantry, especially among those who had experienced genuine peasant power.

If the old palliative become totally useless, an exploiting ruling class looks for new and seemingly better ones. The exposure of the true nature of palliative is too risky for the ruling class. it must adopt new palliative designed to meet a possible resurgence of its suppressed adversary. Even as the class conscious and progressive peasant movement has been quite suppressed since the middle of the fifties, the ruling classes never discounts the possibility of an antagonistic resurgence of a peasantry left with no quarters. So, it must make certain concessions even only on paper. Thus, the Agricultural Land Reform Code has been proposed and passed. At the same time a new scheme of "civic action" in the countryside, directed by the JUSMAG and the "counter-insurgency" adviser, has been laid out. This "civic action" in the rural areas is to be coupled with the rural development campaign of the most numerous church.

New Conditions and the Danger of Yankee Monopolization

New conditions have developed making it necessary for U.S. imperialism to exercise direct control of Philippine agriculture. U.S. imperialism is now trying to plant its roots in Philippine agriculture and complete its control of our agrarian economy in the face of the impending termination and renegotiation of the Laurel-Langley Agreement and Parity Amendment. The policy planners of U.S. imperialism are applying the same tricks they applied on Cuba in the face of and after the dissolution of the Platt Amendment - the Cuban version of our Parity Amendment. In other words, the U.S. imperialists want to preempt the negotiation table by deepening their control of our agrarian economy now. They want to continue parity rights even after the formal termination of the Laurel-Langley Agreement.

The present world condition, especially in Southeast Asia, is forcing U.S. imperialism to prepare the Philippines as a growing ground for agricultural products that it uses directly or are used by Japan, its co-imperialist in the Far-East. The Philippines is now being prepared as a reagent in a U.S. controlled U.S.-Japan axis antagonistic to the anti-imperialist peoples of Asia. If you investigate now the U.S. agro-corporations or the Japanese agro- corporations wanting to develop Philippine agriculture, you will notice how all are commanded by the U.S. cartels and finance institutions, especially the Rockefeller monopoly group.

It is certain that the Agricultural Land Reform Code is directed, in its original form as well as in its present form against old-style landlordism. Has this code in its original version been passed, the statutory retention limit of 25 hectares for landowners who refuse to mechanize and the provisions imposing heavy taxes on undeveloped lands would have severely weakened old-style landlordism. Landlords would have come under greater legal compulsion to mechanize or sell out to those who have capital to mechanize or just cheat the law by delaying it and sabotaging it through a corrupt bureaucracy.

The sham liquidation of old-style landlordism is progressive on first impression. But if the vast lands will only be retained or expanded in the hands of those individuals and agro-corporations which have the necessary capital to mechanize, then we will only be developing a new type of feudalism, only in certain parts of the country, and the peasant masses, particularly the landless tenants, would not be benefitted at all. The condition of the peasant masses would only be aggravated by land monopolization conducted by private agro-corporations and individual capitalists. Some tenants would be converted into agricultural workers, others would be displaced and thrown out of the farm by the process of mechanization and modern business organization. The small landowners, in due time, would be forced into bankruptcy because of higher production costs per hectare and would not be able to compete with the large plantations which maintain more economic operations. Even the rich peasants
who produce more than enough for their households to be able to sell in the market would be eventually eased out by lower prices of crops produced by the modern plantations. A modern plantation economy in the Philippines will convert a relatively few Filipino peasants into wage- earners but will displace many more tenants whom it will not be able to employ promptly and in sufficient number in industrial centers made even more efficient by automation. An efficient plantation economy in the philippines will become more of an appendage to foreign monopoly capitalism. The Philippines will be farther from an even and well- proportioned industrial development.

Since only U.S. firms are now in a financial position in the Philippines to invest in Philippine agriculture, as our own Filipino industrialists are themselves credit-starved (now much more in the case of old-style landlords!) because of decontrol and other restrictive conditions, the process of land monopolization would become more detrimental to the entire Filipino people. The super-profits to be derived from these enterprises would be continuously repatriated and unemployment would increase faster. U.S. firms and subsidiaries are even under instruction now by the U.S. government to prevent the outflow of dollars from the United States by getting credit from local sources in the Philippines. It is a widely perceived fact that U.S. projects and so-called joint ventures are utilizing the resources of such institutions as GSIS, SSS, DBP and others, thus depriving the Filipino investors themselves of much- needed credit. Modern landlordism under the control of Esso, Dole, United
Fruit, Philippine Packing Corporation, Goodyear, Firestone and other U.S. monopoly firms which have had the experience of ravaging Latin America is no better than the old types of landlordism.

At the present moment, we can already see how vast tracts of land have been alienated from our national patrimony by giant U.S. firms under so-called "grower" or "planting" agreements with government corporations like the National Development Company and the Mindanao Development Authority. Despite the constitutional limitation that no private corporations shall hold more than 1,024 hectares, the Philippine Packing Corporation and the Dole Corporation have separately taken hold of 8,195 hectares and 5,569 hectares respectively through a "grower" agreement with the National Development Company and they are supposed to hold on to these lands, with option to expand at any time, for long stretches of periods well beyond this generation and beyond 1974 when parity rights will have terminated.

The United Fruit deal involving the alienation of 10,000 hectares of highly developed public lands and the project to segregate 50,000 hectares of the Mt. Apo National Park Reservation for delivery to U.S. firms through the NDC during the Macapagal administration are convincing manifestations of a new plan U.S. imperialism has for the Philippines.

The Dole take-over of 5,569 hectares of homestead lands in Cotabato is a clear negation of the owner-cultivatorship objective of the Agricultural Land Reform Code. This particular takeover for pineapple plantation and other commercial crops has adversely affected rice production in Cotabato by reducing severely the area devoted to rice.

That U.S. imperialism is literally planting itself in Philippine soil is very evident in several other moves, which were definitely made after decontrol and the approval of the five-year socio-economic program of Macapagal. Means for higher productivity in agriculture have been set up confidently by U.S. firms. Esso has put up a $30 million fertilizer plant which maintains a strategic role. International Harvester, including Japanese farm machinery firms, are also optimistic that they will provide the implements and machines for large-scale farms. In the long run, these modern means for higher productivity can rise in price in such a way that the big plantations, because they buy them in bulk and use them more economically and profitably, will squeeze out the owner-cultivators from the field of production and marketing. Control and ownership of fertilizer production alone provides U.S. imperialism a powerful leverage with which to squeeze out the leaseholders, the
owner-cultivators and even the rich peasants.

The U.S. government has conveniently made use of the World Bank to encourage agricultural education in order to provide the necessary technical support for U.S. plantations. The tested U.S. marionette, Carlos P. Romulo, was reassigned to the University of the Philippines in order to pay special attention to the receipt of $6.0 million loan from the World Bank for Los Ba¤os and the procurement of P21 million from the Philippine Congress as counterpart fund. Romulo's field of operation has been expanded by the Marcos administration in apparent concession to U.S. imperialism, by making him secretary of education. Twenty-three million dollars of the belated $73 million in war damage payments is about to be rolled out to sustain a land reform education program to be controlled directly by the U.S. government in accordance with the Johnson-Macapagal communique of 1964. This amount is expected by the reactionaries to subvert the revolutionary peasant movement. At the moment, there is a splurge of U.S. activity in the countryside through a multifarious array of agencies such as AID, PACD, Freedom Fighters, Peace Corps, World Neighbors, Esso, PRRM, CDRC, CAP, AGR, COAR, ACCI, FHD, IRRI, Operations Brotherhood, CARE, DND and Special Forces, which are directly controlled by the U.S. embassy through JUSMAG and the "counter- insurgency" adviser.

Also, improvement of U.S. military bases in the South cannot but mean securing Mindanao for U.S. agro-corporations. Within the Dole plantation area, underground missile launchers are supposed to have been set up. These are bases apparently prepared to strengthen U.S. aggression in Southeast Asia. Nevertheless, they can very well serve to protect U.S. agro-corporation producing crops that the United States may in the near future never be able to get from neighboring countries because of the rise of anti- imperialist movements in the region. It is highly significant that large rubber plantations are being prepared in Mindanao today. Aside from serving the needs of U.S. imperialism, technical crops are also intended to serve the needs of Japan.

The narrow foreign policy of the Philippines, which has been chiefly geared to the so-called special relations with the United States, is expected to trap land reform in the vise of U.S. agro-corporations and of U.S. global economic policy in general. The obvious lack of funds in the National Treasury has been used as an occasion to call for "land reform" loans from U.S.-controlled financing institutions like the World Bank, AID, IMF, and others. The Land Bank and the Agricultural Credit Association are bound to be controlled by the U.S. finance system.

U.S. imperialism, by virtue of its long-standing over-all strategic control over the Philippine economy, has already strengthened its hold over control points in Philippine agriculture.

The Agricultural Land Reform Code

The Agricultural Land Reform Code claims to seek the abolition of tenancy and the establishment of owner- cultivatorship as the basis of Philippine agriculture. It is supposed to help the small farmers, especially those with economic family-size farms, to be free from pernicious institutional restraints and practices to build a viable social and economic structure in agriculture conducive to greater productivity and higher farm income. Aside from expropriation and land redistribution, land resettlement and public land distribution are also proposed by the code. A whole chapter of the code is devoted to provisions guaranteeing the application of all labor laws equally to both industrial and agricultural wage-earners.



For the purpose of giving lands to the landless and to those who have less than enough for their respective families, a leasehold system is to be set up as the first step towards self-reliance. The National Land Reform Council, composed of the representatives of all land reform agencies and of the political party in the minority, is supposed to proclaim an area as a land reform area before its inhabitants can enjoy leasehold system wherein the tenant becomes a leaseholder paying only 25 per cent of the average of three previous annual harvests as rent to the landowner.



That only some Filipino tenants can enjoy the rent of 25 per cent upon the proclamation made by the National Land Reform Council is quite puzzling to those who are convinced that such rent may as well be paid in common by all tenants to landowners all over the country by general proclamation. This general proclamation should not even carry the pretentious claim that it abolishes tenancy and replaces it with the leasehold system. For after all, both terms "tenancy" and "leasehold system", although the former sounds more pejorative, means essentially the burden of paying rent.

The Code says that the National Land Reform Council can proclaim a land reform area only after it has considered the nature and possibilities of the proposed land reform area in accordance with priorities set by the code.


It is in the consideration of these priorities and other factors that land reform in favor of the peasant masses can be delayed indefinitely, derailed and sabotaged. It is in the consideration of these priorities that the bureaucrats in the land reform agencies will find more affinity with the landlord and imperialist interests which have plans opposed to those of the poor peasant on the same tract of land.

The very idea that the NLRC may proclaim a land reform area only where the leaseholders have a good chance of developing into owner-cultivators is obviously self-defeating and deceptive. Among the several factors that must be considered in the choice of a land reform area are its "suitability for economic family-size farmers", which is unfortunately defined by the code as a "situation where a parcel of land whose characteristics such as climate, soil, topography, availability of water and location, will support a farm family if operated in economic family-size farm units and does not include those where large-scale operations will result in greater production and more efficient use of the land". This matter of "suitability" is take into consideration even as the leaseholders can always petition the Land Authority to acquire the leaseholdings for redistribution to them.


On the question of suitability, before any proclamation is made by the NLRC in favor of prospective leaseholders and owner-cultivators, the landlord can easily preempt altogether the leasehold system and expropriation proceedings by asserting that large-scale operations by himself on his land will result in greater production and more efficient use. The question can be reduced to a question of legal definition pure and simple by the landlord, or he can actually start what may be termed as "large scale operations" on his land in order to prevent either the question of rent reduction or expropriation from being raised. What is absurd in this matter is that, among the things preempted by the landlord is the prospect of large-scale operations by cooperatives of owner- cultivators on the same tract of land.

To evade the leasehold system and possible expropriation proceedings, the landlord has simply to mechanize, to engage in "large scale" operations such as sugar planting, or to plant permanent trees like citrus, coconuts, cacao, coffee, durian, rubber and others. In Central Luzon and other parts of the country, the landlords are converting their rice lands into sugar lands. In the years to come, this will continue to deal a telling blow on our rice production. In Southern Luzon, those working in coconut, citrus, abaca and coffee lands as tenants are complaining and asking why they are not benefitted by land reform. Those who work on fishponds and saltbeds have the same complaint of not being within the purview of land reform.

To pursue the discussion as to how the landlord can evade expropriation, let us assume that the NLRC does unilaterally and successfully proclaim a certain area as land reform area. The Land Authority -- the implementing arm of the council -- will still have to subject its acquisitions to the following order of priorities: idle or abandoned lands; those whose area exceeds 1,024 hectares; those whose area range between 500 and 1,024 hectares; those whose area range between 144 and 500 hectares; those whose area range between 75 and 144 hectares. The Philippine government is obviously making a big joke by saying that it wishes to exhaust its financial resources on idle or abandoned lands which are in most cases too expensive to develop. The poor peasant cannot afford to develop such kind of land it is simply futile for the government to purchase this.

The statutory limit of 75 hectares that a landowner can retain is big enough to perpetuate landlordism in the Philippines. Besides, a landlord can easily retain many times more than this size so long as he has enough members of his family to distribute it. Another course of action for the landlord is to own land in many different places and keeping to the statutory limit of 75 hectares in each place. in the Agricultural Land Reform Code, there are no plugs to these loopholes.


The landlord has so many defenses to preempt the expropriation of his property. But, little is it realized that a landlord might actually offer to sell his land to the Land Authority. Because, according to the order of priorities, in the acquisition of lands by the Land Authority, idle or abandoned lands are to be purchased first. So long as the landlord can demand "just compensation" or even an overprice, he can always strike at a private bargain with the government appraiser. After getting the payment for his expropriated property, he can always acquire private lands elsewhere or public lands to perpetuate his class status. It can be said conclusively at this juncture that the Agricultural Land Reform Code allows the perpetuation of landlordism in the country. The landlords are not hindered but even encouraged to seize public lands already tilled by the national minorities and small settlers in frontier areas.

The ability of the Land Authority to relieve deep agrarian unrest and provide the landlords with "just compensation" would depend on the adequacy of funds in the Land Bank. It is already clear that the government is reluctant to make an actual release of funds to the Land Bank. The financial crisis of U.S. imperialism and all its running dogs is something to be seriously reckoned with. Even if funds of whatever enormity are to be released, these could be gobbled up by only a few landlords and bureaucrats. Past experience clearly shows that the latter are willing to part with. The result is that the landlords have more funds to acquire more lands and the poor peasant can never afford the redistribution price exacted by the government.

Except in the change of name, the Agricultural Credit Administration, is no different from its corrupt and inadequate predecessor, the ACCFA. The Commission on Agricultural Productivity is also nothing but a new name for the old Bureau of Agricultural Extension; it is nothing but an ill-manned and indolent bureaucratic agency of the Esfac. The landlords have always used these agencies more to their advantage than the poor peasants.

There will be more severe contradictions between the peasant masses and the landlord class. The contradictions will arise form the given conditions of these classes as well as from the interpretation of the Agricultural Land Reform Code. These contradictions are supposed to be resolved by the Court of Agrarian Relations if ever they become formal legal disputes. The Office of Agrarian Counsel is supposed to provide free legal assistance to individual peasants and peasant organizations. But judges and government lawyers are themselves landlords, landgrabbers and land speculators. Behind the facade of populist expressions, they support the landlord system.

It is relevant to cite the fact that when the Agricultural Land Reform Bill was being drafted in Malaca¤ang and discussed in Congress, there was no representative of the peasantry there -- particularly the poor peasantry -- who was conscious of the class interests of the peasantry and who would have fought for those class interests. What happened, therefore, in the absence of direct political representatives of the peasant masses, was that the political representatives of the landlords and the imperialists had all the chance to finalize the bill according to their class interest and provided themselves all the escape clauses.

The Agricultural Land Reform Code will not solve the land problem. As a matter of fact, it will only aggregate the dispossession of the peasantry and intensify unjust relations between the landlord class and the peasantry. The beautiful phrases in the code in favor of the landless are immediately nullified by provisions which in the realm of reality will be taken advantage of by the landlord class.

What Is To Be Done

For the activists of national democracy there is no substitute to going to the countryside and making concrete social investigation in order to determine the oppression and exploitation imposed on the peasantry by the landlord class.

There is no point in making a rural investigation if the facts learned from the masses are not analyzed and processed into terms for basic comprehension of problems as well as solutions. The activists of national democracy should show to the peasants, especially those who have no land at all and those who so not have enough land, the essence of their suffering and arouse them to solve their own problem.

In the present era only the peasant masses can liberate themselves provided they follow the correct leadership of the working class and its party. It is senseless to put trust in laws made by the landlords themselves no matter how gaudily they may wear the garments of bourgeois reformism.

The concrete step that can be immediately taken by the activists of national democracy is to organize peasant associations dedicated to fighting for the democratic rights of the peasantry. The present laws may be used to some extent but if they are not enough, as practice has borne out, then the peasant masses themselves will decide to take more effective measures, including armed revolution.

The activitists of national democracy who go to the countryside should exert all efforts to arouse and mobilize the peasant masses into breaking the chains that have bound them for centuries. Agrarian revolution provides the powerful base for the national democratic revolution.

March to Mendiola
 
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
 
 
 
 
 
           

 

CONSOLIDATE YOUR GAINS, STRENGTHEN ASIAN PEASANT UNITY AND INTENSIFY THE STRUGGLE
Keynote Address to the 3rd General Assembly of Asian Peasant Coalition (APC), Sri Lanka, January 23-24, 2011
By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Chairperson
International League of Peoples’ Struggle
24 January 2011

First of all, I wish to convey to the Asian Peasant Coalition (APC) the warmest greetings of solidarity and reiteration of support from the International League of Peoples’ Struggle. I thank you for inviting me to be the keynote speaker of your 3rd General Assembly. I feel doubly honored as I recall having been the keynote speaker of your 2nd General Assembly in Bandung in 2006.

We congratulate you for striving to unite and mobilize the peasant masses to struggle for their rights against the imperialist and domestic forces that deprive them of land, exploit them and oppress them. Your coalition stands us as a developing bulwark of the hundreds of millions peasant masses in Asia.

We congratulate you for the significant achievements that you have won since the last assembly. You have gained a certain level of strength to serve as the basis for expanding and further strengthening your ranks. The forces that your coalition and the peasant masses confront are becoming ever more rapacious and repressive.

As the theme of your assembly precisely demands, it is imperative that you consolidate your gains and strengthen Asian peasant unity, persevere in the struggle for land and national sovereignty and intensify the resistance against imperialist globalization and war. Landlessness in Asia and violations of peasant rights are intensifying at an alarming rate over the last ten years as a result of the policy of neoliberal globalization.

The persistence of this policy has aggravated the economic, financial and social crisis and has prevented any real economic recovery in terms of production and employment in both the imperialist and underdeveloped countries. The crisis is driving the US and the corporate giants to make up for the declining rates of profit in the imperialist countries by intensifying exploitation and

oppression and by raising further their superprofits in the underdeveloped countries.

The corporate giants in the US and other imperialist countries are engaged in land grabbing in collusion with corrupt domestic bureaucrats, big compradors and landlords, emboldening the traditional landlords to engage in further land accumulation and are preventing genuine land reform by drumming up the market as the way to solve the land problem. The foreign and domestic vultures are preoccupied with exploiting the natural and human resources and providing cheap raw materials and docile labor for the imperialist corporations.

The persistence of feudalism and semi-feudalism, characterized by landlessness among the peasant masses and aggravated by the intrusions of foreign agro-corporations, and the consequent lack of comprehensive and well-balanced industrial development are the fundamental reasons behind the widespread state of poverty and hunger among Asian farmers and other people in the rural areas who live on less than $1 a day.

You are correct in pointing out that neo-liberal policies have inflicted extreme suffering on the people. These policies include the reduction of subsidies in food, agriculture and social services as part of Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPs); the constraints imposed by the Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) in favor of TNCs; the integration of agriculture under the World Trade Organization’s (WTO)/Agreement on Agriculture (AOA); and large-scale corporatization of agriculture.

The lack of genuine land reform and industrial development under the banner of national sovereignty is further pushing down the agrarian economies in Asia. There is a crying need for genuine agrarian reform and free land distribution and for agricultural cooperativization. But schemes of land concentration by a few have run fast ahead. They include the Compulsory Acquisition of Land, Special Economic Zones and so many other land-extensive projects not only in corporate agriculture but also for mining, logging, tourism and real estate speculation/
 

 

The imperialist countries collectively and bilaterally impose their policies on the puppet states in Asia at the expense of the peasant masses, farm workers, peasant women fisherfolk and other rural producers. They use the agencies like the IMF, the World Bank, ADB and WTO, and regional trade formations like APEC and ASEAN to perpetuate their dominance.

When multitateral trade agreements fail, like the Doha Round and the 6th WTO Ministerial Meeting in Hong Kong, the US and other centers of world capitalism pursue bilateral talks in the form of free trade agreements (FTAs) and the so-called ‘Aid for Trade’ which was supposed to complement the Doha Agenda.

We in the ILPS admire and highly appreciate the victories that the APC has achieved since 2003 in waging struggles for genuine land reform and defending human rights against repression, state terrorism and imperialist wars. You have accumulated strength by raising the level of consciousness, organization and mobilization of the peasant masses in Asia. You have acted effectively in a collective way as an alliance as well as individually in the different countries where your members are.


You have launched fact finding missions, exchange programs, coordinated researches, workshops, forums, tribunal, mobilization, petition signing, dialogues, conferences, solidarity missions and other enlightening activities. You have carried out mass campaigns for genuine agrarian reform against tremendous odds and difficulties. And you have learned from each other’s struggles by exchanging ideas and experiences and engaging in various forms of practical cooperation. We are therefore confident that you have the basis for advancing further.

We salute all the peasant masses, their organizations and their leaders that have resolutely and militantly waged mass struggles for their political, economic, social and cultural rights. We join you in acknowledging and celebrating the peasant struggles and victories in India, Bangladesh, Nepal, the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia. We have avidly read reports about these in your website and in your briefing paper. We suggest that you include in the scope of your study and work the peasant masses of China, Indochina and possibly Central Asia.

We in the ILPS are proud that from July 2009 to April 2010, APC and ILPS Commission No. 6 cooperated in sponsoring the “Asia-wide Peasants’ Caravan for Land and Livelihood” with the theme “Stop Global Land Grabbing! Struggle for Genuine Agrarian Reform and Peoples’ Food Sovereignty.” The caravan culminated in the Philippines on April 11, 2010 with 12 international participants coming from 9 countries in Asia.

We consider that the 3rd general assembly is highly important and consequential. It serves as the venue to evaluate your work, to discuss, to brainstorm and to strengthen perspectives, strategies and collective action for your future work in the whole of Asia and in your respective countries. We are hopeful that the assembly fulfills all its objectives.

It is a requirement for the next harvest of victories and for your long term advance that you evaluate the work of APC (and its secretariat) and highlight its assessment points to guide its work ahead; unify your ranks on the practical application of principles and framework in your struggle for genuine agrarian reform as well as your networking, alliance and solidarity building; to consolidate and strengthen APC leadership, membership and its secretariat to effectively fulfill its mandate and tasks; and come up with general program of action, thrust and directions and common Asia-wide campaign.

I take this opportunity to invite the Asian Peasant Coalition and all its organizations to send delegations to the Fourth International Assembly of the ILPS to be held in Manila from July 7 to 9. You shall be able to present your just cause before Commission No. 6 and the plenary, to draw up a resolution on land reform and peasant rights and integrate it with the general resolution and with the over-all struggle of the people of the world and to network with various delegations representing people’s organizations on a global scale. Thank you.###

           
     
     
     
Davao City and Cagayan de Oro City
     
     

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 22, 2011

Farmers Remember the Victims of Massacres in Mendiola and Hacienda Luisita
 

Cagayan de Oro City – farmers, headed by Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) Northern Mindanao together with Misamis Oriental Farmers Association (MOFA) and AMIHAN – Northern MIndanao, gathered in Plaza Divisoria of the city to commemorate the 24th anniversary of Mendiola Massacre.

Early this morning a mobile propaganda team of KMP-NMR went around the city and nearby municipality to remind the public of the Mendiola Massacre. They broadcasted their calls through the rekorida and their activity later in the afternoon.

Around 2:00 PM, the farmers gathered in Plaza Divisoria and have a picket rally in commemoration of Mendiola Massacre. They recalled how the farmers were brutally dispersed and killed through a re-enactment of the scene in Mendiola last January 22, 1987. “We are reminding the public of 24 years of injustice”, said Richard Colao the Secretary General of KMP-NMR.

“Aside from the blood of the farmers massacred in Mendiola, the hands of the Cojuangco-Aquino clan are stained with the blood of the infamous Hacienda Luisita Massacre.” Colao added. The group also has a cultural presentation on the Hacienda Luisita massacre and the local farmers who were victims of extra judicial killings, namely Dalmacio “Daki” Gandinao and Siche Gandinao. The picket went emotional during the cultural presentations.

The group also don't see changes in Benigno "Noy-noy" Aqiono III's administration. Noy-noy, like any other president, is fascist and pro-landlord. "in the short term of Noy-noy as president there are now 24 victims of extra judicial killings, and 12 of them are farmers." said Ireneo Udarbe, MOFA Secretary General. The group want to see a concrete expression of change, that is to give justice to the victims of the massacres in Mendiola and Hacienda Luisita, and also to all the victims of extra judicial killings; and to distribute Hacienda Luisita to its farmworkers and other agricultural land of the nation to the farmers who cultivate it.

"If not with bullets, more of us will die in hunger," said Roselyn Fabre, the Secretary General of AMIHAN-NMR. P8-Billion Budget cut and 16% budget allocation of NFA to local rice will surely affect the country's food security and even the economy. Price hike of NFA rice will also be of great burden to the poor Filipinos. "We cannot afford expensive rice anymore that is why we rely on the cheaper rice NFA is offering... now that NFA rice has reached P28, how many of us still can afford to buy?" Fabre added.

The program ended by a community singing offered to the peasant martyrs who give their life for land and social justice. “The program has ended but the struggle for land and justice continues.” said Colao. ###

For Reference:
Clein Sobrepeña, KMP-NMR PIO (09352343171)

 

     
     
           
     
     
     

 

THE MENDIOLA MASSACRE OF 1987

Monday, February 20, 2006

Manila Times

 

UNSOLVED CRIMES

Mendiola Massacre victims seek justice

By Jeannette  I. Andrade, Reporter

 

ON January 22, 1987, thousands of farmers and their supporters marched to Malacañang to demand land reform. Before the end of day, 13 of them lay dead, shot by security forces in a bloody dispersal that is now remembered as the Mendiola Massacre.

 

It was one of the early crises that confronted the Aquino government, installed less than a year earlier.

 

Nineteen years after the incident, the massacre victims still cry out for justice, and no government officials or individuals have been convicted for the killings.

 

The march to the Palace was the climax of an eight-day protest vigil of the peasant group, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, outside the Ministry of Agrarian Reform in Quezon City.

 

The farmers were calling for landlords to give up parcels of their domain to small tenants in the spirit of land reform promised by President Aquino when she assumed office.

 

On January 20 the Agrarian Reform minister, Heherson Alvarez, met with KMP President Jaime Tadeo to explore an amicable solution. Tadeo toned down his group’s demand to a minimum implementation of the land reform program.

 

Alvarez promised to bring Tadeo’s demand to President Aquino at a Cabinet meeting the next day.

 

Alvarez’s promise was not good enough for Tadeo. On January 21 the farmers barricaded the agrarian reform office and barred employees from entering.

 

To ease the tension, Alvarez met again with Tadeo and advised him to wait for the ratification of the 1987 Constitution the following month and allow the government to implement its Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program.

 

Tadeo told Alvarez “genuine land reform is not possible under a landlord controlled Congress.” Alvarez suggested they form negotiating panels to meet the next day.

 

Tadeo, however, was not willing to wait. He summoned his followers and told them:

 

“We removed the barricades at the MAR on the wishes of the President. But she has to remove the barricades in Mendiola too because we will break through and blood will flow.”

 

On the midmorning of January 22, 15,000 marchers from the KMP, the Kilusang Mayo Uno, the Bagong Alyansang Maka­bayan, the League of Filipino Students and the Kongreso ng Pagkakaisa ng Maralitang Lungsod, converged on C.M. Recto Avenue near the foot of Mendiola Bridge.

 

Hundreds of police and soldiers formed a solid wall on the bridge.

 

The security forces were led by the Capital Regional Command chief, Ramon Montano. The large number of police and troops were called in after intelligence reports indicated that the KMP would be heavily infiltrated by communist rebels who plan to take over San Beda College and the Centro Escolar University.

 

There were three lines of defense on Mendiola Bridge. The first was made up of officers from seven police stations in Manila and Chinatown detachment led by Col. Edgar Dula Torre, the Western Police District deputy superintendent. Dula Torre positioned his men, armed with aluminum shields, truncheons, and gas masks, at the intersection of Mendiola and Legarda streets. All were clad in khaki uniform and.

 

The second line was 10 yards behind the first and was composed of the 61st and 62nd Integrated National Police Field Force from Fort Bonifacio under Maj. Demetrio de la Cruz.

 

The third line, 10 yards behind the second, was composed of elements from the 1st and 2nd companies of the Marine Civil Disturbance Control Battalion, under Maj. Felimon Gasmin from Fort Bonifacio. The Marines were equipped with shields, truncheons and M-16 rifles.  

 

Behind the security forces four army trucks blockaded the bridge and two fire trucks with water cannons guarded each side of Mendiola.

 

Farther behind the civil disturbance units were two mobile dispersal teams, each composed of two tear gas grenadiers, two spotters, an assistant grenadier, a driver and a team leader.

 

A mobile communications van serving as the central command post was parked in front of the College of the Holy Spirit. Montano and other top police and military officials had planned to negotiate with the leaders of the march in the van.

 

Any attempt at negotiations faded as the protesters surged toward the police lines at 4:30 p.m.

 

There was an explosion, followed by the hurling of pillboxes, stones, and bottles. Protesters armed with steel bars, wooden clubs and lead pipes battled police officers who retaliated with truncheons.

 

As the first line of defense was breached, shots rang out, and the protesters retreated to Recto Avenue. Two mobile dispersal teams, led by Lt. Romeo Paquinto and Lt. Laonglaan Gace, pursued the fleeing protesters toward Legarda Street, firing tear gas canisters as they did.

 

Two other dispersal teams along with rifle-carrying policemen in civilian clothes proceeded to Liwasang Bonifacio to disperse protesters who had regrouped there.

 

After the smoke cleared, 13 persons lay dead, 105 were injured, 39 of whom sustained gunshot wounds and 15 were arrested.

 

On the police and military side, three personnel sustained bullet wounds while 20 others had contusions and bruises.

 

The clash at Mendiola on January 22, 1987, left 13 farmers dead: Danilo Arjona, Leopoldo Alonzo, Adelfa Aribe, Dionision Bautista, Roberto Caylao, Vicente Campomanes, Ronilo Dumanico, Dante Evangelio, Angelito Gutierrez, Rodrigo Grampan, Bernabe Laquindanum, Sonny Boy Perez and Roberto Yumul.

 

Activist groups consider them martyrs who dedicated their lives to the struggle for land reform.

 

Shaken, President Aquino, several hours after the bloody battle, ordered an investigation into the massacre.  An incident reminiscent of her predecessor’s ways would undermine the gains of the previous year’s bloodless People Power Revolution, which her administration, so new, could ill-afford.

 

She issued Administrative Order 11 the day after the massacre, creating the “Citizen’s Mendiola Commission” (CMC) and designated retired Supreme Court Justice Vicente Abad Santos as head and retired Justice Jose Feria and Antonio Miranda as members.

 

Under A.O. 11, the commission was created to conduct “an investigation into the disorder, deaths and casualties that took place in the vicinity of Mendiola Bridge and Mendiola Street and Claro M. Recto Avenue, Manila, in the afternoon of January 22, 1987.”

 

Deadline extended twice

 

Aquino ordered the commission to submit its findings on February 6, 1987.  Later, the deadline was moved to February 16, 1987, under Administrative Order 13. Still, the commission sought another extension up to February 27 and got it through Administrative Order 17.

 

The commission found that the mass action of the members of the KMP and other activist groups was not covered by a permit; the civil disturbance control units had been armed with .38-caliber and .45-caliber pistols as well as M-16 armalite rifles; security men assigned to protect the Western Police District, the Integrated National Police Field Force, the Marines, and other supporting units as well as security officers of the police and military commanders were in muftis; there was unnecessary firing; and the protesters carried “offensive weapons.”

 

The commission also found that before the violence erupted, the marchers were incited by “incendiary and inflammatory utterances” delivered allegedly by their leader, who was quoted as saying: “Bubutasin namin ang barikada. Dadanak ang dugo. Ang nagu­gutom na magsasaka ay gagawa ng sariling butas. [We will break through the barricades. Blood will be spilled.  The hungry farmers will make their own path.”

 

The commission also noted the absence of negotiations between the two sides, the absence of barbed wire on the barricades set up by the joint police and military CDC units which was never explained by the ranking officials, and the ineffective use of the water cannons and tear gas.

 

The commission learned that the water cannons were not used, because no order came from the higher-ups to use them, they were incorrectly positioned, and they were out of range of the marchers.  The tear-gas canisters were hurled only after and not before the free-for-all, which could have prevented bloodshed. 

 

Gunfire from both sides

 

Curiously, the Abad Santos and the members of the commission found that gunfire had come from both sides.

 

As a result of the findings, the commission recommended the prosecution of four unidentified uniformed men, shown in tapes and video footage firing at the marchers, and proposed for the National Bureau of Investigation to identify the men; the filing of violations of Batas Pambansa 880, or the Public Assembly Act of 1985, against the commissioned officers, the INP members carrying firearms, the ralliers carrying weapons, and against KMP leader Jaime Tadeo for inciting to sedition.

 

Administrative sanctions were proposed against Capital Regional Commander Ramon Montano; WPD Supt., Brig. Gen. Alfredo Lim; WPD Deputy Supt., Col. Edgar de la Torre; INP Field Force cmdr., Maj. Demetrio de la Cruz; INP chief, Col. Cesar Nazareno; and the Marine Civil Disturbance Control battalion commander, Maj. Felimon Gasmin, for “failing to make effective use of skill and experience in directing the dispersal.”

 

Finally, the commission recommended that the government compensate the victims of the so-called Black Thursday incident in Mendiola.

 

But months after the commission submitted its findings, no word of compensation nor of lawsuits being filed was heard. This prompted the widows of the slain farmers to make on July 27, 1987, a formal demand for compensation, which was endorsed a month after by the Department of Budget Management.

 

P6.5-million damage suit

 

Impatient for results, the families of the victims as well as survivors of the “carnage” initiated on January 20, 1988, a P6.5-million damage suit against the Republic, represented by then-National Defense Minister Fidel Ramos; former Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Renato de Villa; WPD Supt. Brig. Gen. Lim (now Senator Lim); Marines Commanding Gen. Rodolfo Biazon (now Senator Biazon); Marines commandant, Brig. Gen. Brigido Paredes; WPD Deputy Supt., Col. Edgar de la Torre; Capcom Col. Rogelio Monforte; and the INP chief, Col. Cesar Nazareno.

 

The case was docketed under civil case number 88-43351 before the sala of Judge Edilberto Sandoval of Branch 9 of the Manila Regional Trial Court.

 

The solicitor general moved to dismiss the case on the ground that the State is immune from any suit and that it can be sued only with its consent. The petitioners cited the findings of the Citizen’s Mendiola Commission in opposing the motion to dismiss, claiming that the State had waived its immunity and that a dismissal would violate the Constitution and the International Law on Human Rights.

 

WHILE the Mendiola massacre case was languishing in court, the House Committee on Human Rights recommended the speedy compensation of the victims. It turned out to be another fruitless move, compounded by the dismissal of the lawsuit on May 31, 1988.

 

Judge Sandoval of the Manila Regional Trial Court found in favor of the Solicitor General’s argument and ruled that the State had filed no waiver.  He denied the petitioners’ motion for reconsideration, filed on August 8, 1988.

 

The petitioners were promp­­ted to seek the intervention of the Supreme Court, which on March 19, 1993, upheld en banc the decision of Judge Sandoval.

 

The Court gave no weight to the petitioners’ argument that there was an implied waiver of immunity from the suit on the recommendation of the Citizens’ Mendiola Commission and through the public addresses made by then-President Aquino after the massacre.

 

A preliminary venue

 

It ruled that the findings of the commission on the indemnification of the victims is not automatically attached to the State, the commission being a mere “preliminary venue.”

 

The ruling stated: “The Commission is not the end in itself. Whatever recommendation it makes can not in any way bind the State immediately, such recommendation not having become final and executory. This is precisely the essence of its being a fact-finding body.”

 

The Court also said: “Whatever acts or utterances that then-President Aquino may have done or said, they are not tantamount to the State having waived its immunity from suit. The President’s act of joining the marchers, days after the incident, does not mean that there was an admission by the State of any liability. In fact to borrow the words of petitioners, ‘it was an act of solidarity by the government with the people.’ Moreover, petitioners rely on President Aquino’s speech promising that the government would address the grievances of the ralliers. By this alone, it cannot be inferred that the State has admitted any liability, much less can it be inferred that it has consented to the suit.”

 

Not a suit against the State

 

Finally, the civil case filed by the petitioners before the Manila court did not qualify as a suit against the State.

 

“[Although] the Republic in this case is sued by name, the ultimate liability does not pertain to the government. Although the military officers and personnel, then party defendants, were discharging their official functions when the incident occurred, their functions ceased to be official the moment they exceeded their authority,” the ruling stated.

 

It further read: “The military and police forces were deployed to ensure that the rally would be peaceful and orderly as well as to guarantee the safety of the very people that they are duty bound to protect. However, the facts as found by the trial court showed that they fired at the unruly crowd to disperse them.”

 

Finally, the Court said, “The inescapable conclusion is that the State cannot be held civilly liable for the deaths that followed the incident. Instead, the liability should fall on the named defendants in the lower court. In line with the ruling of this Court in Shauf v. Court of Appeals, herein public officials, having been found to have acted beyond the scope of their authority, may be held liable for damages.”

 

Class action

 

In a final attempt to seek justice, the victims of the Mendiola massacre banded together under the Kilusang Enero Beinte Dos, or the January 22 Movement (KE-22) to file on August 28, 1998, a class action before a Quezon City court against former President Corazon Aquino and top officials of her government for what they claimed are the deaths of 19 farmers.

 

They said that six more victims had died from injuries during the violent clash.

 

The class action was led by 72 alleged victims from Tarlac, Nueva Ecija, Bulacan and Bataan, who reportedly waited 11 years to file the case because “they felt they could not get justice, because a few of the respondents remained in power after the Aquino administration.”

 

However, the class action was also dismissed on the basis of the previous rulings in the case.  It had apparently been doomed from the start.

 

Until now, justice eludes the victims and their heirs, and the Mendiola massacre has joined the annals of history as one of the bloodiest chapters of the post-EDSA People Power Revolution.

 

     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
           
           

VIDEO CLIPS

The Mendiola Massacre of 1987

   
 

www.youtube.com

Government forces under Philippine president Corazon Cojuangco-Aquino (mother of present president Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III) opened fire at a peasant mobilization calling for Genuine Land Reform on January 22, 1987 at Mendiola bridge, Manila. Dubbed as the Mendiola Massacre that killed 13 peasant

 

 

www.youtube.com

Government forces under Philippine president Corazon Cojuangco-Aquino (mother of present president Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III) opened fire at a peasant mobilization calling for Genuine Land Reform on January 22, 1987 at Mendiola bridge, Manila. Dubbed as the Mendiola Massacre that killed 13 peasant

 

 

 

 
 

www.youtube.com

Rafael "Ka Paeng" Mariano, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP, Peasant Movement of the Philippines) National Chair and Anakpawis Congressman gives his speech in front of the Ministry of Agrarian Reform office in Quezon City a day before the Mendiola Massacre on January 22, 1987.

 

 

www.youtube.com

More than 2 decades and no justice yet for the massacred peasants at Mendiola. Here are the actual footages w/c I used in two major docufilms I did.

 

 

 

 

 

 

www.youtube.com

video prepared for Disquiet, a solidarity night of media personalities, journalists and filmmakers denouncing GMA's lifting of martial law in Maguindanao and demanding for justice for the media and civilians killed in that brutal massacre. Disquiet: Remember video clip shows GMA regime's long record

 

 

 

 
Talumpati ni Ka Zeny ng Amihan sa ika-24 kaarawan ng Mendiola Massacre.

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Mendiola Massacre: 24 years after

www.youtube.com

Talumpati ni Ka Zeny ng Amihan sa ika 24 kaarawan ng Masaker sa Mendio

 

 

   
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