By Baretang Bikolnon Staff
NAGA CITY, CAMARINES SUR – Farmers, fishers and agricultural workers across Bicol region gathered here, January 22, to unify their calls for genuine land reform during their Anakpawis regional Congress.
After 32 years, farmers are still seeking for justice and peace in the country and being disregarded by the government for social services according to Jonathan Moico, deputy secretary general of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Bicol (KMB).
The peasant group will never forget the peasants who gave their lives in the gruesome massacre in Mendiola on January 22, 1987. They marched to and camped at the then Ministry of Agrarian Reform (MAR) in Quezon City to Malacanang more than three decades ago to demand for the land for the farmers, end the retention of lands by landlords, and stop the land amortization payments.
Thirteen farmers were killed and 51 were severely wounded. Blood spilled on the streets, dead bodies sprawled along Mendiola and Legarda streets.
“Until today, no justice was delivered to the farmers, victims and survivors of Mendiola Massacre,” Moico said. “The worst, Duterte is doing the same, killing farmers in the region through its mercenaries.”
Rodrigo Duterte signed Memorandum Order 32 in Bicol, Samar and Negros for additional AFP troops in communities. “Duterte also signed EO 70 or National Task Force to End Communist Insurgency that only aims to terminate and stop the Peace Talks between GRP and NDFP. Peace Talks will give way for the recognition of genuine land reform and rights of the farmers.”
In commemorating the Mendiola Massacre, KMB calls all Bicolanos to support the demands of farmers. “The massacre held in Mendiola will always be a reminder to continuously fight for farmers’ rights,” Moico said.
The regional congress aims to hone peasant leaders who can stand not only for the regional council but also to stand for the rights of the marginalized sector. Protest action was held after the half-day congress. (BaretangBikolnon.com)