April 26, 2024

This year marks the 37th anniversary of the bloody massacre where 13 farmers were brutally killed by state forces in Mendiola, Manila.

Farmers and progressive groups across the country commemorated the brutal dispersal of nearly 15,000 farmers along Mendiola Street that resulted in the death of 13 farmers and hundreds of people injured.

The nearly 15,000 farmers marched along the Mendiola street to demand genuine land reform and asked for a dialogue with former President Cory Aquino to convey their call but they were shot by the military and police.

The Panghupong sang Mangunguma sa Panay kag Guimaras (PAMANGGAS) paid tribute to the martyrs of Mendiola and recognized their sacrifice for genuine land reform. The group added that the issues and problems in the agriculture sector have not changed and have gotten even worse. For them, “When the US-Marcos Jr. regime came to power, nothing significant was done to solve the country’s food crisis. His meaningless promises to the people such as the P20 price of rice and the banning of neoliberal policies were the ones that can be recall,” said PAMANGGAS.

Meanwhile, despite three decades having passed, attacks against farmers and peasant organizers continue to worsen. In the last recorded incident, just January 3 and 15, 2024, there were unidentified men riding around on motorcycles and asking where Danilo Ramos was staying in Malolos, Bulacan. Ramos, also known as Ka Daning, is a peasant organizer and the chairperson of the nationwide peasant organization, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP). In one incident, the men, who are believed to be intelligence agents, even questioned where Ramos is from as he has long been sought after as a “terrorist”.

According to the data of the Tanggol Magsasaka, the attacks on Ramos have worsened since last year. It can be noted that after the case of surveillance on Ramos in August 2023, the group submitted a report for a dialogue with the Commission on Human Rights in order to expose and address the state’s violations of human rights. They added that this would harm not only Ramos’ security but also his family and his fellow activists and organizers.

With the recent attack on farmers, PAMANGGAS called for justice for the victims of the Mendiola Massacre and to stop the attacks against farmers and peasant organizations. Moreover, the group also calls on to implement genuine land reform and national industrialization in the country./PT

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