Militant farmers remember Mendiola massacre, demand Pnoy’s ouster

Jan. 21, 2014

By Earl O. Condeza

Davao Today

DAVAO CITY – Timed for the 27th year commemoration of the Mendiola massacre on January 22, militant farmers demanded that Pres. Aquino should be ousted for his “incompetence and anti-farmer stance.”

In a press conference, the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas Southern Mindanao Region (KMP-SMR) scoffed at the lack of real agrarian reform program in the country, saying that CARPER failed to change the lives of farmers for the better.

Under the RA 9700, or the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extended with Reforms (CARPER), a 5-year extension program for the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), only 30% or 381,393 hectares of land have been distributed.

KMP-SMR Spokesperson Pedro Arnado said that CARP beneficiaries who already owned lands were now landless because of CARPER.

“Bantang kaayo nga pangpangilad og pagbawi sa mga agalong yutaan sa ilang yuta tungod kinahanglan mahimo silang myembro sa coop nga gikontrolar sa agalong yutaan (It is apparent that the farmers were duped as the landlords regained back their lands in a scheme where farmer beneficiaries are forced to become members of cooperatives that are controlled by the landlords themselves),” Arnado said.

Arnado cited farmer beneficiaries from Marilog district in Davao and Kidapawan cities “were now landless due to CARPER” while big landlords such as Ledesma of Kidapawan, Martinez of Makilala, Almendras of Davao del Sur regained their lands, years after they already surrendered it for agrarian reform.

Arnado also added that “Gov. Cora Malanyaon of Davao Oriental did not distribute her family’s lands and, instead, used CARPER ‘as a mantle to protect their ownership.’”

KMP leaders said they plan to mobilize 3,000 farmers to commemorate the Mendiola massacre on January 22 and reiterate their stance against the “continuing injustice and fascism.”

Thirteen farmer leaders were massacred by state security forces who violently dispersed a march rally to Malacanan Palace on January 22, 1987.  The farmers were demanding for then Pres. Cory Aquino’s implementation of land reform, a key presidential campaign promise.

Arnado said what happened in Mendiola is the “same injustice that is happening right now, with Aquino’s counter-insurgency policy, Oplan Bayanihan.”

The KMP said the counter-insurgency program “aims to neutralize and silence farmers who are critical of the Aquino regime and who merely defend what is theirs, in the first place.”

Of Aquino, “Dili siya simpleng kriminal sa mga mag uuma, nangulo siya sa pagpamatay sa mga lider-mag-uuma og lumad, ginapatay tong gabarog og ga depensa sa ilang katungod sa yuta (He [Aquino] is not just a simple criminal to farmers. He is responsible for the killing of peasant and Lumad leaders who defend their right to their lands),” said Arnado.

Arnado also said the “farmers are outraged with the massive corruption in the government, with how bogus NGOs of Janet Napoles have stolen money that could have been used by farmers for land reform and subsidy.”

The pork barrel budget “could have been a great help for farmers who are hungry and struggling to live,” KMP said.

Thus, “Aquino’s stand against the interest of peasants only show who is his real bosses–the elites,” Arnado said.

Arnado added that “he (Aquino) does not deserve to remain as president; what he deserves is to be ousted.” (Earl O. Condeza/

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