Friday, January 22, 2010

Peasants hold protests in Mindanao, remember massacre of farmers 23 years ago

DAVAO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / January 22, 2010) - In commemoration to the 23rd year of the Mendiola Massacre, hundreds of farmers belonging to the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas and Anakpawis partylist staged a march rally in Davao City in Mindanao on Friday and demanded justice and genuine agrarian reform in the Philippines.

“Today, we mark history as we deliver the strongest condemnation against the continuing exploitation of the poor Filipino peasants and the worsening landlessness within the framework of the bogus and inutile Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms,” said Pedro Arnado, chairperson of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas - Southern Mindanao and regional coordinator of the Anakpawis partylist.

More than 700 farmers from Davao City, Davao Oriental and Davao Del Sur provinces together with representatives from the various sectoral and cause-oriented groups also dramatized and reenacted the so-called Mendiola Massacre which occurred 23 years ago. The action also emphasized the farmers' demand for genuine land reform.

The groups’ protest march ended at in front of the congressional office of House Speaker Prospero Nograles, whom they were holding responsible for the passage of the extended CARP and for authoring the House Resolution 737 which seeks to allow 100% foreign ownership of Filipino land.

“Speaker Nograles committed the worst crimes against the Filipino farmers when he allowed the passage of CARPER and have initiated a resolution that wants to sell out our lands and resources to foreign capitalists. He has further betrayed the country by conniving with Gloria Arroyo's attempt to change the constitution,” Arnado said.

A similar protests were also held by thousands of farmers in different parts of Mindanao in solidarity with the peasant groups.

In Manila, more than 7,000 farmers are expected to march to the Mendiola Bridge where the culminating protest of the 10-day Caravan for Land and Justice will be held.

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