Yesterday marked the 37th anniversary of the Mendiola Massacre. On January 22, 1987, state security forces under the rule of President Corazon Aquino opened fire into a crowd of 15,000 peasant farmers outside the presidential palace of the Philippines. Thirteen people were killed and dozens more wounded during this historic protest that demanded government action on its campaign promise of genuine agrarian reform. Nationwide peasant organisation Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) led the struggle days prior as they camped outside the Ministry of Agrarian Reform. Thousands of farmers then marched to the presidential palace only to be met with brutal and fascistic police violence.
The Mendiola Massacre is a reminder that the Filipino masses will not find liberation with feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism still at large as the majority of the country’s arable land is owned by a small group of wealthy families and corporations. Corazon Aquino’s response to the peasants’ just demands was no different from what her predecessor Ferdinand Marcos, the ousted dictator, would have done.
In the past year, current KMP chairperson Danilo “Ka Daning” Ramos has faced escalating state-sponsored surveillance and harassment. Ka Daning visited us in 2022 to share his organizing knowledge and struggles as a peasant farmer in the Philippines. This recent string of red/terror-tagging so close to the Mendiola Massacre anniversary goes to show that state terror is not new.
Canada-Philippines Solidarity Organization mourns the loss of the thirteen kasamas brutally murdered on this day 37 years ago, and we express our sincerest solidarity with KMP and the movement for National Democracy that continues to struggle for genuine land reform in the Philippines.