Our farmers do not need bullets, they need justice!
Thirty-six years ago today, some ten thousand farmers joined by others marched towards the presidential palace in pursuit of land reform and redistributive justice. As they approached Mendiola bridge, their peaceful call was met with the guns of state forces. And as the guns hushed, 13 farmers lay dead, while others were wounded.
Over three decades and six administrations have passed, nothing seems to have changed – the lack of justice and accountability for the massacre continues to haunt the relatives and the survivors. To our further grief and dismay, whatever was left of the massacre was not enough for the state to take action against this continued injustice and bloodshed in the Philippines related to land disputes and agrarian activism. One death is already too many, but the Mendiola Massacre with 13 lives lost is just one of many injustices our farmers have long endured, and their cause is still very much alive today. Vast majority of farmers remain landless and poor. Many continue to lose out over the years with all the exemptions given to landowners, as well as land use conversions for residential and commercial facilities. Agrarian unrest persists and hundreds of killings are also being recorded yearly, making the country one of the world’s deadliest nations for land rights.
YACAP stands in solidarity with all farmers and defenders of agrarian reform. YACAP calls for justice for the slain of the Mendiola Massacre, their families and all the human rights violations that ahs led to imputnity. We echo the call of peasant advocates and human rights advocates groups for the need to protect the people’s right to protest and express dissent, as well as to resist any move that would diminish or undermine the people’s enjoyment of their rights. We stand with the Filipino people in firmly calling an end to systemic violence, all killings and impunity in the country.
JUSTICE FOR THE VICTIMS OF THE MENDIOLA MASSACRE!