Farmers set Mendiola protest march vs. land-grabbing, killings

Published January 18, 2021, 5:47 PM

by Raymund Antonio

Farmers and agricultural workers will march to Mendiola, Manila on January 22 to speak out on issues surrounding land grabbing, land-use conversion, and killings of farmer leaders.

The Kilusang Mabubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and Anakpawis, among other peasant groups, are those taking their protest to the streets in commemoration of Mendiola Massacre, which has become the symbol of their fight for land reform.

Friday will be the 34th anniversary of the peaceful mobilization on Mendiola Street that turned into a bloody dispersal claiming the lives of 13 farmers.

“Then and now, farmers have been demanding for land reform and free land distribution. The situation of Filipino peasants when they marched from Central Luzon to Mendiola in 1987 remains unchanged, and even worse this 2021,” KMP chair Danilo Ramos said.

Ramos, who is a survivor of the so-called massacre, noted the rising number of farmers and peasant leaders who had been killed under the Duterte administration.

The Tanggol Magsasaka had so far documented 107 deaths since July 2016.

Anakpawis leader Ariel Casilao said agrarian reform had been neglected even by the current regime.

The KMP cited the recent demolition of farms and houses and eviction of farmers from agricultural lands in the provinces Bataan, Laguna, Bulacan, Cavite, and Iloilo.

In Laguna, the houses of farmers in Hacienda Yulo were wrecked by armed men, while the farmland tilled by the Ajose family in San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan was bulldozed by the local government, destroying their crops to give way to a development project.

In Cavite, farmers of Lupang Ramos received an eviction notice from the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines and National Power Corp.

“We are in a pandemic and food production must be given priority. However, destruction of farms, crops, and livelihood of farmers persist,” Ramos said.