PEACE PANELS URGED
    Give justice to victims of Mendiola Massacre

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    ANGELES CITY- As farmers marked the 30th anniversary of the infamous Mendiola Massacre last Jan. 22, the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) urged the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) peace panels to “remember the cause for which the massacre victims died” by agreeing on a genuine land reform program in their ongoing Rome talks.

    “To give justice to farmers and martyrs of Mendiola, genuine land reform should be achieved. The NDFP and GRP peace panels must work doubly hard to reconcile their drafts and realize an acceptable and substantial Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER),” KMP chair Joseph Canlas said in a statement yesterday.

    Canlas said “we want a CASER that will address our most basic concerns such as land, food and social justice.

    We want resolutions to the centuries-old problem of farmers and the people.”

    He said “genuine agrarian reform and rural development lay the ground for the economic, political, social and cultural liberation of farmers, the most numerous class in the country. Agrarian reform is also a precondition for releasing the potential of productive forces in the countryside and for achieving rural and national industrialization.”

    Canlas also said the KMP will lead nationally- coordinated actions for the 30th year commemoration of the Mendiola Massacre that killed 13 farmers on January 22, 1987.

    “Until today, there is no justice for the deaths of Danilo Arjona, Leopoldo Alonzo, Adelfa Aribe, Dionisio Bautista, Roberto Caylao, Vicente Campomanes, Ronilo Dumanico Dante Evangelio, Angelito Gutierrez, Rodrigo Grampan, Bernabe Laquindanum, Sonny Boy Perez and Roberto Yumul,” he noted.

     For his part, KMP secretary general Antonio Flores said “no one was arrested and indicted for the gruesome massacre of farmers demanding for land reform. The Cojuangco-Aquinos are still in power in Hacienda Luisita. Landlords are still in control of vast tract of lands and haciendas remain intact.”

    Flores said former KMP leader and Mendiola Massacre survivor Rafael Mariano, now the secretary of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), is expected to march with farmers to Mendiola “as a pledge of his continuing commitment to implement genuine land reform.”

     

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