Peasants recall ‘Mendiola massacre’ with ‘anti-Duterte’ protest
Manila, Philippines – In a protest near Malacanang Palace, farmers and fishers on Friday led by the peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and Anakpawis Party-list recalled the infamous Mendiola Massacre, which claimed the lives of 13 farmers when military and police agents “peppered” protesting farmers with bullets in an “intense and politically charged” rally at Mendiola bridge 34 years ago.
Militant fishers’ group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA), among other progressive peasant organizations and advocacy groups joined the commemoration protest, which also called for the “ouster” of President Rodrigo Duterte, whom the protesting groups alleged as behind the continuing peasant killings and land grabbing in the country.
“Duterte is a consistent anti-farmer and a certified class enemy of the peasantry. His puppetry to landlord interests, coupled with bloody anti-insurgency campaigns have worsened the landlessness and peasant killings in the country,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson said in a statement.
Citing the data of KMP, PAMALAKAYA said that more than 300 peasants have been killed on a land-related dispute under the Duterte administration.
Aside from the brutal and bloody war, PAMALAKAYA added, the Duterte regime’s “neoliberal” policies on agriculture and land reform, such as the rice liberalization law (RLL), among other programs that trigger inflation, contribute to the suffering of Filipino farmers.
“Justice for the 13 ‘Mendiola martyrs’ is improbable, not especially under Duterte’s bloody reign that continues to murder peasants and moreover, enables land greed, rapacity, and brutality of the country’s ruling landlord clique. It would only be attainable if the murderer-in-chief Duterte will be removed from his power,” ended Hicap. ###