New Aquino Government Violently Disperses Peasant Demonstrators in Manila

Scenes at the peasants’ camp-out in Menidola before the violent dispersal on July 3(Photo courtesy of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas /

July 4, 2010

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) today condemned the violent dispersal of peasant demonstrators near Mendiola Bridge yesterday afternoon, calling the act “a signal fire of the new Aquino regime against the mass movement of peasants and their continuing clamor for genuine agrarian reform.”

At least 40 peasant demonstrators were arrested during the violent dispersal. Among the demonstrators were farm workers from the Aquino-Cojuangco-owned Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac. A number of demonstrators were hurt and brought to hospitals.

The demonstrators led by the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) have been camping out at the vicinity of the Mendiola Bridge since Aquino’s inauguration last Wednesday. They intended to stay in the area to press the new government to address the issue of land reform, and specifically to voice their demand to scrap the Stock Distribution Option (SDO) and thus allow the distribution of the Hacienda Luisita land to the farmers and farm workers.

“Yesterday’s dispersal cannot but make us recall the Mendiola Massacre of 1987 during the incumbency of Corazon Aquino where thousands of demonstrators demanding land reform were dispersed with gunfire, killing at least 13 marchers,” said the CPP. “It also reminds us of the Hacienda Luisita Massacre of 2004, for which current president Noynoy Aquino was personally culpable, and the subsequent killings of leaders and advocates of the peasant movement in Tarlac.”

The CPP noted that the Aquino government has yet to make any commitment to undertake land reform. “He has spoken of providing marketing services to farmers, but ignores the more fundamental problem of land monopoly ownership by landlords that has been subjecting millions of peasants to oppression and exploitation for centuries.”

“By turning a deaf ear to the growing clamor for land reform, Noynoy Aquino is bound to incite more peasant unrest,” said the CPP. “His callousness to the demands of the peasant masses will only succeed in pushing more and more people to the path of revolutionary armed struggle.”

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