January 12, 2011
LUCENA CITY, Quezon, Philippines – The militant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) has urged President Aquino to reopen the 24-year-old Mendiola massacre case.
On Jan. 22, 1987, some 10,000 to 15,000 farmers marched from the agrarian reform office in Quezon City to Mediola to ask the late former president Corazon Aquino to fulfill her promise of land distribution through agrarian reform. During the dispersal of the protest rally, 13 farmers were killed, 39 were wounded by gunshots, and 20 suffered minor injuries.
“We challenge the 50-year-old President to reopen the Mendiola massacre case and pursue a full-blown and independent probe,” said KMP secretary-general Danilo Ramos in a statement.
After the killing of the farmers, the peace panel of the communist-led National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) withdrew from peace talks with the government.
KMP also demanded the Cojuangco-Aquino families turn over portions of the Hacienda Luisita sugar estate to 10,000 farmers. It further called for the scrapping of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program with reforms (CARPer) law and the passage of the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB).
KMP also opposes Oplan Bayanihan, the new counter insurgency program of the government, which it claims will surpass the supposed brutality of Oplan Bantay Laya. The group said it would hold a mass protest on the anniversary of the massacre.
On the other hand, provincial police director Senior Superintendent Ericson Velasquez said that in commemoration of the massacre, the police will launch “Lakbay sa Kapayapaan sa Quezon,” a campaign to promote peace in the community.