Mendiola – Deputy Minority Leader, Bayan Muna Rep. and Senate candidate Satur Ocampo today challenged presidential aspirant Sen. Benigno Aquino III to take responsibility for and rectify the errors of his mother former president Corazon C. Aquino. He was referring in particular to the failed agrarian reform program of the Aquino regime and the January 22, 1987 Mendiola Massacre where 13 farmers were killed and scores wounded.
"Sen. Aquino has been citing the lives and legacies of his parents to the Filipino people as a sort of guarantee that he will be a good president. Given this, he should then admit and take stock of the failure of former Pres. Aquino to implement a genuine agrarian reform program. It has been 22 years since the Mendiola Massacre, but justice still eludes the victims and the survivors. Majority of the the country's farmers remain landless and impoverished," he said.
"Filipino farmers challenge Sen. Aquino to rectify this. Can he and will he take a stand for genuine agrarian reform? Up to now the struggle between the Hacienda Luisita farmers and the Cojuangco family remain unsettled, and Sen. Aquino has issued nothing but platitudes," he said.
Ocampo issued this statement during the culmination of the 'Lakbayan ng Anakpawis para sa Lupa't Katarungan sa 2010' which began in Davao on January 12. Some 7,000 farmers participated in the historic lakbayan.
"Social injustice is a state policy with the incumbent government under Macapagal-Arroyo. More than 7 out of 10 farmers are deprived of land. Farmers are modern-day slaves of big land owners and transnational corporations which own vast tracts of agricultural lands- turned into cash crop plantations. Can Sen. Aquino do more than his mother did and include in his campaign platform the promise of giving land to the landless?"
Finally, Ocampo challenged Aquino to support the demand of farmers for the immediate implementation of a genuine and thoroughgoing agrarian reform program; to stop eviction of farmers; to stop land grabbing. #