Mendiola massacre rally peaceful

January 22, 2010 11:08 pm 

MANILA, Jan. 22 –Protesters posed on Friday the question on how to solve agrarian problem like Hacienda Luisita to presidentiables, except Senator Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino Jr., during the commemoration of the 23rd anniversary of Mendiola massacre in Manila.

The protesters hurled the question on “How do you solve a problem like Hacienda Luisita at presidentiables except Senator Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III?"

Some 10, 000 members of different militant groups held a protest rally at the Chino Roces Avenue (formely known as Mendiola) to commemorate the 23rd anniversary of the Mendiola massacre.

Manila Police District (MPD) Director, Chief Supt. Rodolfo Magtibay, said the protest rally was generally peaceful as authorities allowed the rallyists to stage their program along Chino Roces Avenue, San Miguel, Manila, the same site where 13 farmer-protesters were killed while scores were wounded during their dispersal by state security forces on Jan. 22, 1987.

On Friday, the protesters, mostly farmers and Manila-based activists who formed part of the 10-day Pambansang Lakbayan Para sa Lupa at Katarungan, hurled the question to all the presidentiables, except to Sen. Aquino because they believed that they would get nothing from the senator because it involved his family.

“Sen. Aquino believes Hacienda Luisita is God’s gift to Cojuangco-Aquino clan, therefore only God can take it back from them. Does the rest of the pack of the presidential wannabes subscribe to this whimsical assertion of the Cojuangcos,” the Lakbayan leaders said in a joint statement.

The group also believed that the problems in Hacienta Luisita in Tarlac will not find a long lasting and just settlement under a Noynoy Aquino presidency, asserting that the 6, 453-hectare sugar estate “is the bread and butter and the source of economic and political power of the Cojuangco-Aquino for near century and the landed clan have been treating generations of farm workers as children of a lesser God.”

The Lakbayan also brought up issues of land-grabbing and land reform reversals with the expansion of plantations and mining in Mindanao island, which they claimed as having displaced thousands of farmers and indigenous peasants, the problem of coconut farmers in Bicol region and the cancellation of farmers' land titles in central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Panay and Negros island.

After their programs, the groups were dispersed peacefully, police said. (PNA) RMA/JES

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