Friday, January 18, 2008


Law enforcement personnel has begun installing barbed wire and steel barriers at the Chino Roces Bridge on Mendiola in preparation for a major rally commemorating the 21st anniversary of the Mendiola massacre next Tuesday, January 22nd.

reports of a destabilization plot being hatched to coincide on this day, security measures by government forces are expected to become even more stringent as that day approaches.

Some 50 farmers from Southern Luzon will mark the anniversary of the massacre with a six-day march to begin on January 16 and to end on January 22 at the Legarda-Mendiola thoroughfare in the San Miguel district of Manila near Malacanang Palace. Other militant groups are reportedly expected to conduct protest marches that will convene at Mendiola on the 22nd of January.

Thirteen farmers were killed on January 22, 1987 after police fired on a protest rally comprised of about 10,000 peasants demanding genuine land reform from then President Corazon Aquino. That tragic incident has since been known as the Mendiola massacre.


posted by Señor Enrique at 6:31 AM


Blogger nutart said...

Politics in the Philippines is to me a rather more intense and personal field compared to that let's say germany. Being married to a German, I get to be in his country for several months at the most and thus get to observe how his parents (for instance) view their political bigwigs there. They are more into the economic issues.

Here, it is more the survival issue. A lot of drama between the rich and poor, the haves and never have-nots. The farmers in Germany are very organized with lawyers and consultants having a real say in the government. Not that their system there is fool-proof or perfect but still massacres have been non-existent. A lot of what has happened in our country have shocked my husband's folks a lot.

I know how it is to till land even if it just be my backyard veggie garden which is why I respect farmers of all sorts a lot. Every grain of rice is never wasted for me. That's why we have doves as pets :-). The farmers are our life-blood and should be given all honor and respect by the very government and people they serve.

All these talk about destabilization is for me to be looked at internally rather than externally. Before you can change the world, look within first...and change.

January 18, 2008 8:56 AM  

Blogger pusa said...

first of all i love this photo! brilliant as always :)

thank you for reminding me about this, i'll do a similar post and link this up , hope that's ok

so that was why i saw soldiers this morning on my way to work! talk about politics! sigh

January 18, 2008 10:36 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

When it comes to politics we always ask ourselves this --- is it a bane or boon?!

Politics was never clean yet it can't be abolished in any countries. The saddest thing when it comes to politics is that promises are often broken and welfare of the citizens are not well taken care of. But how can we tell the Prime Ministers or Presidents to act according in the best interest of its citizens and country itself?

January 18, 2008 12:13 PM  

Blogger Unknown said...

Great photo, Eric. Very evocative of the farmers’ struggle before and after the Mendiola massacre. The tragedy in Mendiola was an irony in Tita Cory’s administration with CARP as the centerpiece program of her government. Sadder still is that twenty-one years after the massacre of those 13 farmers, Filipino farmers still experience feudal bondage despite the government’s claim that the land reform program is a success. Success perhaps for the landlords…the landless peasants are still in the clutches of poverty. I know of some families in Negros who benefited from the land reform program, but through the years, they have been losing their lands back to the landlords, to real estate developers and industrialists. Call me pessimistic but I don’t believe that there could be a genuine land reform program in the Philippines. We have a landlord-dominated Congress, landlord Presidents. The farmers died in vain because 21 years later, the cause they died for is still a pipe dream.

January 18, 2008 2:52 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

it makes me sad that people have to die for their principles and their fights. it makes me sad that issues are not resolved as easy as we want them to be. mendiola reminds us of heroism and brutality at the same time.

January 18, 2008 10:56 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also remember that it was in Mendiola where the first deaths in student rallies and demos in the Phils happened which was sometime in '69. I remember there were 4 students who died that fateful rally.

January 18, 2008 11:24 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I was already living in the States when this occured, BW, and only knew about it when it was discussed by Ed Santiago. He was our Photojournalism instructor at FPPF.

From what I heard last, Mayor Lim refused to grant a permit for farmers to march in Mendiola this Tuesday. Supposedly, being a workday, police officials are very much concerned about many schools and businesses being interrupted by such a massive protest rally. The mayor, however, has suggested Liwasang Bonifacio in front of the Manila Post Office at the foot of MacArthur Bridge. Nonetheless, negotiations are still underway.

January 20, 2008 7:19 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

It is indeed unfortunate that some folks have to die for what they stood for, Bing.

It just makes me wonder why our government doesn't opt for effective yet innocuous crowd control measures instead of bullets. A Discovery Channel program once showed how stink bombs seemed more effective in dispersing incorrigible crowds.

January 20, 2008 7:24 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

That is really such a disheartening thought, Luna -- that the country is ruled by landlords.

My paternal great grandfather lost the land willed to him by his parents when the friars snatched everything away from him.

January 20, 2008 7:30 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Funny you brought that up, Kyels. According to a recent CNN report, many presidential candidates abandon the issues they promised to fight for once elected in office. Shame, isn't it?

January 20, 2008 7:33 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Thanks, Pusa!

No problem at all :)

January 20, 2008 7:37 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

And spiritually speaking, Bernadette, come to think of it, we're all merely stewards of this planet. Hence, it puzzles me why some moneyed folks make it their business to possess as much land holdings as possible without even any plan to tap its potentials to benefit mankind.

I guess, it's all about raking in profits which they can't even take a penny when they pass on back to the spirit world. Darn ...

January 20, 2008 7:43 AM  

Blogger -= dave =- said...

I think it's not just the Mendiola Massacre anniversary that has this government jittery, but also that of the EDSA 2.

As for land reform. I think our present system is ineffective and antiquated in terms food security.

January 20, 2008 1:54 PM  

Blogger nutart said...

every Pinoy knows the saying "hindi mo madadala sa hukay..." or "hindi natutulog ang Diyos" etc. The Indian concept of karma is ingrained somewhat in our psyche. It's just as who is in power or reeling in wealth seem to deny these sayings.
Interesting, 'no? :-)

January 20, 2008 6:14 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

And very sad, Bernadette. If only there were enough of those with such spiritual awareness, there wouldn't be as much problems as we have now.

January 21, 2008 11:31 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Does Edsa 2 commemoration fall on the same day, Dave? Darn, that'll keep our riot police busy.

January 21, 2008 11:33 AM  

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Life in Manila as observed by a former New Yorker who with a laptop and camera has reinvented himself as a storyteller. Winner of the PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS: Best Photo Blog in 2007 and three Best Single Post awards in 2008.


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