Monthly Archives: November 2009

Silence of newly installed defense chief on Maguindanao massacre, a puzzle, says leftwing group

By Sugar Hicap

Manila, Philippines-Leftwing militants identified with the fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Thursday said they were puzzled with the “irrevocable silence” displayed by newly installed defense secretary National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzalez on the Maguindanao massacre.

Pamalakaya vice-chairperson Salvador France made the inquiry an hour after Justice Secretary Agnes Devanadera and Chief State Prosecutor Jovencito Zuno made the inquest on principal suspect Datu Unsay mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr. who was flown from Sharif Aguak in Maguindanao to General Santos City early this morning.

“The national security adviser’s display of extreme silence on the mass murder of more than 57 civilians by the notorious Ampatuan warlord clan is something that should not be missed by the Filipino public. Perhaps he is planning something big in his mind and the declaration of the State of Emergency in Maguindanao is perhaps the beginning of any grand plan in favor of the present occupant in Malacanang,” the Pamalakaya official said in a press statement.

France said the proliferation of para-military groups and the arming of civilian volunteers for counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism in Maguindanao and other parts of Mindanao were the programs jointly discussed and approved by the Office of the President, the National Security Council of where Secretary Gonzalez is an influential member and the erstwhile defense chief Gilbert Teodoro.

“It appears to us that the Maguindanao massacre orchestrated by the powerful Ampatuan clan had the official blessing if not tacit approval of the national security mafia in Malacanang to justify the possible declaration of national state of emergency or even Martial Law across the country. Palace think tanks believe the situation could be exploited to justify the martial rule not only in Maguindanao but also across the country in not so distant future,” the Pamalakaya leader added.

The militant group asserted that aside from President Arroyo, Secretary Gonzalez and ex-defense chief Teodoro, previous defense secretaries and chiefs of the Armed Forces of the Philippines should be made to explain why they allowed the proliferation of CAFGUs, armed Civilian Volunteer Organizations (CVOs) and private armies in Maguindanao and have them enlisted and functioned as military and security personnel and private armies of the powerful Ampatuan warlord clan in Maguindanao.

“Mrs. Arroyo and her company cannot escape responsibility for turning the Ampatuan clan into a political monster in Maguindanao in exchange for the Ampatuans political support for the administration in the 2004 and 2007 national elections,” said Pamalakaya. #

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Groups urge Moro religious leaders to take a stand on Maguindanao carnage

By Gerry Albert Corpuz, Senior Reporter, the Pamalakaya Times

Manila, Philippines- Moro groups based in Mindanao on Thursday appealed to Moro religious leaders to take a stand on the recent Maguindanao carnage allegedly perpetrated by a powerful political warlord clan in Maguindanao.

In a press statement e-mailed to The Pamalakaya Times, the Suara Bangsamoro and the Kawangib Moro Human Rights said in light of the Muslim people’s observance of the Eid’l Adha, their groups appeal to the Ustadz, Imam and the Ulama to devote their sermons and prayer in calling for peace and justice and hope to reign in Maguindanao and the whole of Mindanao.

Ms. Amirah Ali Lidasan, national president of Suara Bangsamoro, without sounding disrespectful in the observance to one of the holy festival of the Muslim people, the Eid’l Adha , the group
implore on their religious leaders to take a stand on the massacre
incident in Maguindanao on November 23.

Lidasan lifts a quote from the Holy Qur’an as basis for this call and
says it is imperative for the religious leaders to take a stand in
defense of the people of Maguindanao and to preempt future violence to happen again in Maguindanao and the rest of the Moro areas:

Qur’an 4:75-76 Surah An-Nisaa (The Women)
And why should ye not fight in the cause of Allah and of those who
being weak are ill-treated (and oppressed)? Men women and children
whose cry is: “Our Lord! rescue us from this town whose people are
oppressors; and raise for us from Thee one who will protect; and raise
for us from Thee one who will help!” Those who believe fight in the cause of Allah and those who reject faith fight in the cause of evil: so fight ye against the friends of Satan: feeble indeed is the cunning of Satan.

Lidasan stressed the Maguindanao massacre should gather the Moro people in a defining moment for the Moro people of Maguindanao and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao by publicly condemning the killings and not let political and familial affiliations hinder our
responsibility as Muslims to condemn this act.

Lidasan also said that it is the responsibility of the Muslim
religious leaders to put back in the hearts and minds of Muslim people
that there is nothing to fear but Allah alone, instead of helping
perpetuate the fear of politicians and warlord prevail in Maguindanao
and the ARMM.

Lidasan grieves with the families and friends of the victims and hopes
to reach out with the rest of the Filipino people in condemning this
dastardly act.

‘We hope that the Moro people’s outcry be also highlighted as part of
public’s outrage. We are in unity with the rest in calling for an end
to the culture of impunity to reign in Maguindanao,’ said Lidasan.

Lidasan said said the Maguindanao massacre should not be misconstrued a traditional rido and the public should not be led to believe that this is natural or merely part of Moro people’s tradition and culture.

Lidasan said that simplifying the massacre as mere ‘rido’ or
traditional clan war is glossing over the heinous crime committed by
the warlords – the killing of mustadafins (oppressed) such as the
women and the unarmed people who died in the incident – and
exonerating the perpetrators from their crime.

Lidasan also criticized President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and
presidential aspirant Gilberto Teodoro, Jr. and the rest of the
administration party’s move to expell the Ampatuans from their ranks,
adding that the administration merely absolve themselves from being
party to the rise and continuing warlordism of the Ampatuans in
Maguindanao.

‘We should not ignore that it is the same administration who gave the
Ampatuans the leverage over other politicians in Maguindanao in
exchange for the votes that the administration had been getting from
Maguindanao and the ARMM,’ said Lidasan saying that the administration and the Armed Forces of the Philippines should also be held liable for the proliferation of ‘legitimized’ private armies through the EO 546 creating the civilian auxiliary armies for local government units.

Palace challenged

Meanwwhile, the militant labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) challenged Malacañang today to fully disclose the meeting between Presidential Adviser on Political Affairs Gabriel Claudio, ARMM Gov. Datu Zaldy Uy Ampatuan, and Maguindanao Gov. Andal Ampatuan held at Malacañang on Monday, the day when the massacre was committed.

“If there’s really a of sincerity in Arroyo’s ‘vow to pursue justice’ for the Maguindanao massacre victims, she should reveal their talks with the Ampatuans in her own backyard first,” said KMU Chairperson Elmer “Bong” Labog in separate statement e-mailed to The Pamalakaya Times.

“What the hell were the Ampatuans doing and talking about in Malacañang while their men rain bullets and rape the journalists, civilians, and their political enemies in Maguindanao? Arroyo and the Ampatuans have been silent and evasive on that meeting. And this only raises more suspicion that it was a meeting of the bosses to ensure the success of their murder plan at their safe house that is Malacañang,” said Labog.

“And they seem to be unfazed at all, because the day after when the massacre was uncovered, Presidential Adviser on Mindanao Affairs met with the Ampatuans again. Arroyo and minions just continue to chimmy-chummy with the criminals amid all the fingers that point to them.”

Cultivating the criminal

KMU recalled Andal Ampatuan’s declaration last national elections that he will award one million pesos to every mayor who will ensure landslide victory for Arroyo and her Team Unity party. And true enough, the very dubious 93.5% voters’ turnout in Maguindanao voted 12-0 for team unity.

KMU also cited Arroyo’s Executive Order 546, issued October 2006, as “license for the growth of warlordism” of the Ampatuans, and other political clans as well. The EO allowed local officials and the police to create civilian armies to further the fight against “insurgents.”

The Ampatuans are now believed to have a 500-strong army, including 200 special armed auxiliary forces in the guise of Civilian Volunteer Organizations (CVO) against insurgency.

“For justice to be served, the reign of they who will do everything to remain in power must be ended,” said Labog. #

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DENR chief told: GMA, not LGU has last say on Mindoro mining project

By Margie Duran Floresco, contributor

Manila, Philippines-Leftwing militants belonging to the fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Sunday said the statement of Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) secretary Joselito Atienza that local government unit of Mindoro has the last say on the controversial nickel project on the island was misleading and extremely absurd.

“That’s not true, that’s not true. The mining project in Mindoro Island is a national flagship project and therefore, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has the last and final say on whether this nickel extraction escapade in the island should proceed or not,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap in a press statement.

Hicap said local government officials can voice their opposition to Intex Resources nickel exploration, but it is still President Arroyo who will decide whether to allow or disallow the Norwegian mining giant to push through with its’ project.

“The nickel project has the seal of approval of Malacanang and was billed as one of the flagship projects of the Macapagal-Arroyo administration. If Atienza wants to kill the project he should have revoked the environmental compliance certificate (ECC) issued on Oct.14 by his office and tell Mrs. Arroyo to stop this corporate madness for the sake of the environment and collective interest of the people,” the Pamalakaya leader added.

Atienza said the ECC granted to Intex Resources was just one of the requirements for the nickel mining project to commence and it us up to the local government if they allow the project to proceed. The environment secretary explained that could not arbitrarily cancel the ECC given to Intex because there are laws to follow, stressing that the cancellation of ECC will send wrong a signal to foreign investors.

But Atienza said that if the project is proven to cover a watershed area, as claimed by those who opposed to the project, then the ECC would be automatically moot in accordance with the law.

But Pamalakaya’s Hicap rebuked Atienza, and charged the environment secretary of gambling people’s lives and environment in the name of the government’s obsession for mining investments and fat commissions.

“How come the ECC of Intex Resources was approved by DENR? How come the people were not consulted? Mr. Atienza is not an expert on environmental concern as far as the Filipino public is concerned. He is just a limelight getter or an attention getter from boxing champ Manny Pacquiao,” Hicap added.

Meanwhile, Pamalakaya appealed to the Norwegian government to compel Intex Resources to pullout its mining investment in Mindoro, citing the disastrous impact of the project, which will initially displace around 20,000 residents, mostly members of the Mangyan tribe.

“The Norwegian government should convince Intex Resources to drop its mining investment in Mindoro like a hot potato. This project will put the European state in a very, very bad position and standing in the international community. While we recognize and pay high respect to the efforts of the Norwegian government as third party facilitator to the peace talks between the Manila government and the communist led National Democratic Front of the Philippines, we do not subscribe to this kind of destructive escapade,” the group said.

The militant group commended Mindoro Oriental Gov. Arman Panaligan and Vice-Governor Estela Aceron for sticking to their position against the nickel mining project in the island. But Pamalakaya advised the two top local government officials of the island province to bring the battle of the island people against the mining project to Malacanang Palace.

“The fight against the mining project should not stop at Secretary Atienza. The next and the penultimate battle should reach Malacanang and President Arroyo, since the Chief Executive and her policy on liberalized and all-out mining should be blamed for the current woes suffered by the people of Mindoro,” added Pamalakaya. #

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CBCP asked to break silence on Hacienda Luisita row

By Gerry Albert Corpuz, senior reporter, The Pamalakaya Times
and Akihira Tatchu, contributor

Manila, Philippines-Two of the groups supporting the land claim of Hacienda Luisita farmworkers over the 6,453-hectare sugar estate in Tarlac on Monday said they were puzzled with the seemingly deafening silence of the influential Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) over the long running dispute inside the hacienda that led to massacre of 7 striking workers, injured 200 others and paved way for the arrest of 120 farmworkers and supporters on Nov.16, 2004.

“We ask the 117 archbishops and bishops of the influential Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines to break their silence and issue a pastoral statement condemning the new machinations of the Cojuangco family to evict farmworkers and deny their legitimate collective land claim over Hacienda Luisita,” the fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) and the party list group Anakpawis said in a joint statement.

Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap and Anakpawis secretary general Cherry Clemente said while they join the CBCP’s all-out support to farmers affected by aerial spraying in Mindanao and the church support to the struggle of farmers and indigenous people against the Laiban Dam, the prelate, they said, should also back the struggling farm workers of Hacienda Luisita currently facing a new round of eviction from the sugar estate management.

Hicap and Clemente said the CBCP should also issue a statement upholding the rights of the farmworkers over the Cojuangco lands, which they said were acquired through deceptive, manipulative and coercive means.

“We are not asking for CBCP’s divine intervention. But we believe their moral involvement and their Gospel are politically and morally required to rally the Filipino public against the cruel intention and sinister agenda of the Cojuangcos,” they said.

The two leaders informed the CBCP on ongoing deployment of government troops inside Hacienda Luisita.

Pamalakaya and Anakpawis said Liberal Party 2010 presidential candidate Senator Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III’s hostile and incorrigible attitude on the land reform dispute is pushing farmers to reject his presidential bid next year.

The groups warned Noynoy of a massive peasant and rural people’s rejection of his presidential ambition next year if continues his arrogant and hostile attitude in dealing with legitimate demand of Hacienda Luisita farm workers to acquire the sprawling 6,454 hectare through urgent and free distribution.

“This presidential wannabe has resorted to traditional, shameless and Jurassic red baiting in order to evade an issue that needs politically correct, decent, lawful and moral response and this guy speak the same language of political terror spoken by his would be predecessors in case he wins the highest elective post in 2010. If he will insist on this kind of game plan, then he better forget his presidential ambition because rejection becomes him in 2010,” the groups added.

“Imagine, 7 farmworkers died on the spot, more than 200 strikers were injured and 120 of their co-farmworkers and their supporters were arrested during the Nov.16, 2004 violent dispersal of strikers. And Noynoy dismissed it as Leftist black propaganda. This is really mind-boggling, ridiculous and super incorrigible,” they said.

Pamalakaya lamented that while the LP presidential candidate was trying to pass himself off as champion of the Filipino people or a modern day messiah clad in yellow or in black shirt bearing the Philippine map, the hostile attitude displayed by the 49-year old politician against the legitimate demands for land and justice of Hacienda Luisita workers showcased what kind of a presidency Noynoy has to offer to 92 million Filipinos.

“How can he face and decently lead this nation of 92 million people if he cannot even face and contact eye-to-eye the 30,000 farmworkers and regular voters inside Hacienda Luisita? Give us a break,” added Pamalakaya.

Pamalakaya and Anakpawis are two of the groups which participated in the 109- vehicle caravan to Hacienda Luisita last week in support to farmworkers demand for the immediate and free distribution of the sugar estate to Luisita tillers.

Clemente of Anakpawis said the scheduled caravan is jointly organized by Kilusang Mayo Uno, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and Unyon ng Mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) will also demand the immediate scrapping of Stock Distribution Option (SDO), the repeal of the recently passed Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reform (Carper of RA 9700) and the passage of House Bill No. 3059 or the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB).

The 87-vehicle caravan will also demand the prosecution of government and military officials implicated in the Hacienda Luisita massacre. A case had been filed before the Office of the Ombudsman, but the latter dismissed the case against civilian officials, while criminal charges are still pending before the Ombudsman’s national office in Quezon City.

Clemente said international labor groups allied with KMU will also conduct simultaneous rallies in Japan, US, Europe, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand in support of the Hacienda Luisita farmworkers. Also on the same day, regional chapters of KMP will also stage mass actions to demand the immediate and free distribution of the Cojuangco estate to hacienda farm workers.

“This is going to be a history in the making for Hacienda Luisita farmworkers. On Nov.16 a strong political statement will be delivered at the gates of the hacienda where the massacre took place five years ago,” she added.

On December 18, 2008, the Hacienda Luisita Management signed by Hernan M. Gregorio, Jr. — assistant Estate Manager of HLI imposed a deadline to farm workers that they only have up to October 30, 2009 to harvest and finish all land cultivation activities inside the hacienda. The deadline lapsed and another memorandum calling all farmworkers to register was issued and hacienda workers were given until Nov.15 to enlist in the new registration being called by the management.

Meanwhile, lawyers of striking farmworkers cited legal courses of actions which they could avail to stop the management from issuing memorandum to farm workers. Legal counsel Atty. Jobert Ilarde Pahilga, executive director of Sentro Para Sa Tunay na Repormang Agraryo (Sentra) and campaign officer of National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers said they will file petition for indirect contempt against the members of the Board of HLI before the Supreme Court in violation of the temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by the high tribunal against the revocation of Stock Distribution Option (SDO).

However, Atty. Pahilga said they will also file a motion with the Supreme Court for speedy resolution of the case and to recall the TRO, so that the decision of the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC) which revoked the SDO and called for the immediate distribution of Hacienda Luisita lands to farmworker beneficiaries.

The counsel for Hacienda Luisita workers will also file of a motion with the Office of the Ombudsman to resolve the multiple murders, multiple frustrated murders and multiple attempted murders filed against the military and civilian involved in the infamous Hacienda Luisita Massacre. #

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Activists across the globe urged UN to probe food sources destruction in RP

By Via Cheri de Venezia, The Pamalakaya Times Europe Bureau Chief

Rome, Italy (via PLDT)- Some 250 activists from more than 100 countries who gathered in Rome, Italy for the Peoples Conference on Food Sovereignty signed a petition urging the United Nations led Food and Agriculture Organization (UN-FAO)to investigate alleged destruction of country´s food sources,according to Antonio Flores, of the Kilusang Magbububkid ng Pilipinas (KMP).

The petition was authored by KMP, the left’leaning fisherfolk alliancePa Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya), Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) and peasant women grouyp Amihan.

Flores said the activists who supported their petition were from United States, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Canada, Hongkong, South Africa, Sri Lanka, India, Nepal, Martinique, Ghana,South Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, Peru,Pakistan, Palestine, Indonesia, Madagascar, Malawi, Zimbabwe, United Kingdom, Bangladesh, Cuba,Finland, Iceland, Russia and 50 other countries.

“We hope the UN-FAO will find merit to our rural people’s petition for a international inquiry on massive destruction, privatization and conversion of food sources courtesy of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her transnational clients,” the KMP official added.

Pamalakaya information officer Gerry Albert Corpuz who was part of the militant contingent in the conference on food sovereignty said activists from different nations agreed with the proposal for UN-FAO to send a high level delegation to the country to investigate what he called “transnational takeover, corporate plunder and environmental destruction of food sources in the name of super profits by international and domestic big business all over the country.”

“The strong clamor for UN-FAO high profile probe of FAO on the current state of food sources all over the archipelago has been re-echoed to UN.FAO top officials and international opinion makers. We want FAO to discover that the phenomenon of climate change or global warming and its particularity in the Philippines is a result of monopolies’ eternal thirst and greed for super profits and the Arroyo administration’s uncontrollable greed for fat kickbacks,” Corpuz said.

The UNFAO’s World Food Summit is expected to gather 400 food based groups and food rights activists in Asia, Europe, Africa, Middle East, Central America and North America. The possible topics to be discussed in the 6-day conference will include food aid, climate change and climate justice.

The Pamalakaya information chief said the groups cited “major cases in the Philippines’ where food production areas are destroyed and the land, water and production rights of the people are grossly violated in the name of globalization and transnational plunder.

Among the cases the Philippine rural-based groups had mentioned in their petition were the case of small fisherfolk currently displaced by foreign funded projects in Manila Bay, the corporate destruction of Laguna Lake, the 64 offshore mining activities off the waters of Tanon Strait (Cebu-Negros), Cebu-Bohol Strait, Palawan, Panay Island, Ragay Gulf in Bicol region and other parts of Mindanao, the unabated large scale logging activities in Sierra Madre, the left-and-right landgrabbing and land use conversions in the country and the proliferation of destructive dams in the tradition of San Roque Dam in Pangasinan among others.

Pamalakaya also raised in their petition the issues of Joint Marine Seismic Undertaking (JMSU) among the Philippines, China and Vietnam, the setting up of ASEAN gas pipeline cornering the waters of the Philippines, China, Malaysia and Singapore and the controversial $ 110-million ExxonMobil offshore mining and gas exploration activity in Sulu sea, which the group said will destroy the country’s major sources of fish and other water-based food products.

The militant groups noted that in 1996, the first World Food Summit also held in Rome produced global commitment to substantially reduce the number of hungry and malnourished people by 2015. The FAO itself admitted that over 2 billion of the world’s population is suffering food insecurity, hunger and starvation.

They said the destruction of food production areas through private appropriation and conversion resulted to decline of food produced for global people’s consumption and on the other hand led to sharp increases in the prices of major food items such as rice (increased by 217 percent), wheat (up by 136 percent), corn (125 percent increase) and soya beans (117 percent increase).

Also in their petition, the groups and allitook into account that food imports of third world countries like the Philippines rose by 27 percent in 2007, which Pamalakaya said is not unusual given the absence of genuine land reform and the backwardness of local agriculture in the country, and the massive conversion and privatization of agricultural lands and fishing grounds all over the country. #

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Militants in Rome tell Mar: “Don’t be too “Liberal” on Noynoy

by Via Cheri de Venezia, The Pamalakaya Times Europe Bureau Chief

Rome, Italy (via PLDT)-Representatives of militant groups attending the People’s Forum on Food Sovereignty in Rome from November 13-17, a parallel forum to the United Nations Food and Agriculture (UN-FAO) World Summit on Food Security on Nov.16-18 today said Liberal Party vice’presidential candidate Mar Roxas should not to be ” too Liberal” to his running mate presidential candidate Senator Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III regarding the controversial agrarian reform dispute in Hacienda Luisita.

In a press statement e-mailed from Rome, Gerry Albert Corpuz, information officer of the left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) advised Roxas to stop acting like a second-rate spokesperson of Hacienda Luisita management.

Corpuz reacted to the statement of Roxas defending his running mate from criticisms ranged against Aquino by militant groups and Hacienda Luisita farmworkers on the way the Liberal Party presidential candidate handled the land reform dispute in the sprawling 6,453-hectare sugar plantation.

Roxas in a press conference after the LP national convention in Quezon City said a big number of hacienda farmworkers are willing to enlist or register in the registration campaign of farmer beneficiaries initiated by the Hacienda Luisita management, and that only a noisy few are opposed to the enlistment.

“Who is Mar Roxas to state that? He is not from Hacienda Luisita and definitely he is the right person to talk in behalf of the striking farmworkers. He is the son of all-time despotic landlords in the country,” Corpuz asserted.

“Mar should be extra careful in issuing statements. He knows the legitimacy of the farmworkers struggle in Hacienda Luisita, but this vice-presidential wannable opts to stay with Aquino. Excuse me, Aquino is not a saint, but an ambitious politician who carries the interest and mindset of despotic landlord and feudal aristocracy,” the Pamalakaya information officer added.

Pamalakaya along with representatives of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) and Amihan peasant women federation yesterday launched a signature drive urging the Philippine government and the family of the late former President Corazon Cojuangco Aquino to immediately distribute for free, the 6,453 hectare sugar plantation in Hacienda Luisita to agricultural workers and other farmer beneficiaries.

The delegation of Corpuz,Antonio Flores of KMP, Edna Velarde, coordinator of UMA and Lennie Robinios, staff of Amihan peasant women federation said initially gathered some 52 signatures from the 400 foreign participants to the twin conference on food sovereignty in support to the striking farmworkers in Hacienda Luisita.

“The international community is very vigilant. They are eager to know what is going on in Hacienda Luisita five years after the massacre,” Corpuz added.

According to Corpuz, the signatures endorsing the urgent and free distribution of Hacienda Luisita were from Italy, India, Kenya, Madagascar, Palestine, Canada, Kenya, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Malaysia, Malawi, Zimbabwe,Spain, Hong Kong, United Kingdom, Cameron,Martinique, Cuba,Thailand, South Korea,Bangladesh,Nepal, Peru and the Philippines.

The Pamalakaya official said UMANGAT-Italy, the Italy chapter of Migrante-International will also support the signature campaign and will conduct their own signature campaign in Rome urging President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Senator Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III to give in to the demand of Hacienda Luisita farmworkers.

Last sunday, a forum of Filipino community groups in Rome attended by 60 working migrants in Rome was held in Euclide were Flores of KMP and Arron Ceradoy of Asia-Pacific Mission for Migrants (APMM) updated the Filipino community on the status of the current battle of Hacienda Luisita workers as far as the collective claim to the Cojuangco sugar estate is concerned.

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HLI row:Noynoy pushing farmers to reject him in 2010

By TC Concepcion and Sugar Hicap

Manila, Philippines-Two of the groups supporting the land claim of Hacienda Luisita farmworkers over the 6,453-hectare sugar estate in Tarlac on Tuesday said Liberal Party 2010 presidential candidate Senator Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III’s hostile and incorrigible attitude on the land reform dispute is pushing farmers to reject his presidential bid next year/

In a joint press statement, the left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) and the militant Anakpawis party list warned Noynoy of a massive peasant and rural people’s rejection of his presidential ambition next year if continues his arrogant and hostile attitude in dealing with legitimate demand of Hacienda Luisita farm workers to acquire the sprawling 6,454 hectare through urgent and free distribution.

Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap and Anakpawis secretary general Cherry Clemente accused the LP standard bearer of turning the Hacienda Luisita row into a political circus, evading farmers’ call and resorting to political attacks and red bashing of Luisita workers unions and associations and their supporters.

“This presidential wannabe has resorted to traditional, shameless and Jurassic red baiting in order to evade an issue that needs politically correct, decent, lawful and moral response and this guy speak the same language of political terror spoken by his would be predecessors in case he wins the highest elective post in 2010. If he will insist on this kind of game plan, then he better forget his presidential ambition because rejection becomes him in 2010,” Hicap and Clemente issued the statement at before the meeting of the 60-member national council meeting of the activist party list group.

“Imagine, 7 farmworkers died on the spot, more than 200 strikers were injured and 120 of their co-farmworkers and their supporters were arrested during the Nov.16, 2004 violent dispersal of strikers. And Noynoy dismissed it as Leftist black propaganda. This is really mind-boggling, ridiculous and super incorrigible,”according to Pamalakaya’s Hicap.

The Pamalakaya official lamented that while the LP presidential candidate was trying to pass himself off as champion of the Filipino people or a modern day messiah clad in yellow or in black shirt bearing the Philippine map, the hostile attitude displayed by the 49-year old politician against the legitimate demands for land and justice of Hacienda Luisita workers showcased what kind of a presidency Noynoy has to offer to 92 million Filipinos.

“How can he face and decently lead this nation of 92 million people if he cannot even face and contact eye-to-eye the 30,000 farmworkers and regular voters inside Hacienda Luisita? Give us a break,” added Hicap.

Pamalakaya said in Hacienda Luisita, where there are 30,000 registered voters encompassing 10 big barangays, Sen. Noynoy will be lucky enough to get at least 10 percent of the votes come the May 2010 presidential election.

In fact, Hacienda Luisita farmworkers are threatening to campaign a zero vote for Noynoy if he will not do his job to resolve the agrarian dispute in favor of the land tillers”, the group said.

Pamalakaya and Anakpawis are two of the groups who will participate in the 87 vehicle caravan on Nov.16 to Hacienda Luisita from the National Capital Region to Tarlac in support to farmworkers demand for the immediate and free distribution of the sugar estate to Luisita tillers.

Clemente of Anakpawis said the scheduled caravan is jointly organized by Kilusang Mayo Uno, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and Unyon ng Mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) will also demand the immediate scrapping of Stock Distribution Option (SDO), the repeal of the recently passed Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reform (Carper of RA 9700) and the passage of House Bill No. 3059 or the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB).

The 87-vehicle caravan will also demand the prosecution of government and military officials implicated in the Hacienda Luisita massacre. A case had been filed before the Office of the Ombudsman, but the latter dismissed the case against civilian officials, while criminal charges are still pending before the Ombudsman’s national office in Quezon City.

Clemente said international labor groups allied with KMU will also conduct simultaneous rallies in Japan, US, Europe, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand in support of the Hacienda Luisita farmworkers. Also on the same day, regional chapters of KMP will also stage mass actions to demand the immediate and free distribution of the Cojuangco estate to hacienda farm workers.

“This is going to be a history in the making for Hacienda Luisita farmworkers. On Nov.16 a strong political statement will be delivered at the gates of the hacienda where the massacre tooj place five years ago,” she added.

On December 18, 2008, the Hacienda Luisita Management signed by Hernan M. Gregorio, Jr. — assistant Estate Manager of HLI imposed a deadline to farm workers that they only have up to October 30, 2009 to harvest and finish all land cultivation activities inside the hacienda. The deadline lapsed and another memorandum calling all farmworkers to register was issued and hacienda workers were given until Nov.15 to enlist in the new registration being called by the management.

Meanwhile, lawyers of striking farmworkers cited legal courses of actions which they could avail to stop the management from issuing memorandum to farm workers. Legal counsel Atty. Jobert Ilarde Pahilga, executive director of Sentro Para Sa Tunay na Repormang Agraryo (Sentra) and campaign officer of National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers said they will file petition for indirect contempt against the members of the Board of HLI before the Supreme Court in violation of the temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by the high tribunal against the revocation of Stock Distribution Option (SDO).

However, Atty. Pahilga said they will also file a motion with the Supreme Court for speedy resolution of the case and to recall the TRO, so that the decision of the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC) which revoked the SDO and called for the immediate distribution of Hacienda Luisita lands to farmworker beneficiaries.

The counsel for Hacienda Luisita workers will also file of a motion with the Office of the Ombudsman to resolve the multiple murders, multiple frustrated murders and multiple attempted murders filed against the military and civilian involved in the infamous Hacienda Luisita Massacre. #

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