25 Years Later

Yesterday, January 22, 2012, marked the 25th year of the gruesome Mendiola Massacre, an incident that happened in Mendiola on January 22, 1987 in which Government security forces violently dispersed a farmers’ protest march to Malacañan Palace.


A wounded protester is helped by a peasant activist after the shooting broke out. Ramon Acasio

Pardon me for this late post. Aside from being busy yesterday because of my class, the major broadsheets yesterday did not put the commemoration of the massacre in their front page. Instead, I saw items about the Impeacment Trial, the Roman-Shalai wedding, Chinese New Year, and more impeachment brouhahas.

Or maybe because they are biased for President Noynoy Aquino and they do not want to talk about it. It would be remembered that the incumbent President’s mother, Cory Aquino, was the President during that time. (Well, this is just me with my crazy imagination. I will just leave it there.) Moving on..

Aside from the Maguindanao Massacre, I consider the Mendiola Massacre as an event that should not be forgotten or slip past our consciousness. If we saw slain journalists in Maguindanao, we have helpless peasants and farmers in Mendiola.

Peasants and farmers have a special place in my heart,. I lived with some of them during my formation years in College. And since the advent of my awakening, I have always supported the cause of the poor and the oppressed for justice, freedom, and ownership. You may not see me with a banner or a raised fist in the streets but I believe that there are other ways to support their cause other than protests and rallies.

Landless farmers. Feudalism has long been gone in Europe but it is still practiced in some parts of our country up to this day. The Agrarian Reform programs of the Government appears to be a failure. The problems of the landless farmers still haunt our country and I don’t see a beacon of hope that will signal its end. (Well, the Hacienda Luisita has been granted to the farmers – in a decision and not in reality – but there are still other lands that are yet to be distributed. Hopefully.)

Twenty-five years ago, a massacre happened near Malacañang, a bloody result of the fight of the farmers for land ownership and social justice. And twenty-five years later, justice is still nowhere in sight.

Will it happen on the term of the son of the President during the massacre? Is justice for the landless farmers included in the promised daang matuwid? I don’t know. I think they are still busy hunting the previous administration and her allies.

I want to see a new day where there will be no more landless farmers, no more greedy landowners, and no more social injustice brought by land ownership disputes.

And no more state-sponsored killing spree for these individuals.

Yesterday was the 25th anniversary of the Mendiola Massacre. Never forget. Never again.



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