Category Archives: labor woes

Philippine state security forces resume attacks vs. activists

By Gerry Albert Corpuz in Manila and Axel Pinpin in Calamba City

MANILA, Philippines- Barely 26 days before apparent Philippine President Sen. Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III assume the presidency from President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, alleged members of a death squad operated by the Philippine military assassinated an active trade union officer South of Manila.

In a report filed by the left-leaning multisectoral group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-Southern Tagalog chapter or New Patriotic Alliance in Southern Tagalog, the umbrella alliance of activist groups said on Wednesday night, around 6 PM, labor leader Edward Panganiban a union officer was brutally gunned down by unidentified men in Brgy. Caingin, Sta. Rosa, Laguna.

Bayan-ST said victim is a worker at Takata, a car-parts factory in the nearby town of Biñan, Laguna. The group said Panganiban’s union and the management of the factory are undergoing Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) negotiations.

The extrajudicial killing of Panganiban was followed by the violent demoliiton of 21 farmer’s houses by private security guards of the Manila South Coast Dev’t Corp. in Hacienda Looc, Nasugbu, Batangas which is about several hours after the killing of the trade union activist.

In a separate report, a copy of which was obtained by http://www.allvoices.com, peassant leader Guillermo Bautista, chairperson of the peasant group Katipunan ng mga Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan (KASAMA-TK or the Association of Farmers Organizations in Southern Tagalog) said perpetrators made it sure the demolition of houses will take place while farmers were away and out in the fields.

Bautista said prior to the demolition of farmer houses in the hotly disputed 10,000 hectare agricultural estate, previous threats against other farmers’ communities started in May 21, when policemen, security guards and representatives of landowners of the Hacienda Yulo in Calamba violently dispersed and illegally arrested protesting farmers.

“With this series of incidents, we cannot help but wonder if the recently concluded election has created a scenario where land owners, big businesses felt comfortable and free in attacking the rights of the marginalized farmers and workers. Have they found an ally in Sen. Noynoy Aquino?” the peasant leader asked.

The fresh wave of attacks against Filipino activists in Southern Tagalog region coincided with the issuance of a statement by United Nation Special Rapporteur Philip Alston who said extrajudicial killings in the Philippines because the incoming president is also heavily dependent on the AFP.

“The President-elect will likely be reminded that he is heavily dependent on the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), not to cause problems and that any prosecution will alienate the military,” Alston said at a gathering of UN human rights officials in Geneva, Switzerland.

The Manila-based human rights watchdog Karapatan claimed that 1,118 extra-judicial killings and more than 200 enforced disappearances were documented in the Philippines between 2001 and October 2009.

According to Alston, “impunity is a serious issue that characterized extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances in the Philippines.”

Alston, was in the Philippines for a fact-finding mission in 2007 to investigate complaints of grave human rights violations and left and right killings of political activists. He had denounced the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo administration for failing to put an end to extra-judicial killings, which he said has decreased in recent years, but has continued due to lack of substantial measures to address the problem.

The UN special rapporteur said not a single member of the military, whom he earlier blamed for many killings and forced disappearances, has been punished over their involvement in political killings, enforced abductions and filing of trumped up charges against activists all over the Philippines.

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Noynoy told: You can’t really sell Hacienda Luisita, it is not yours

By Gerry Albert Corpuz and Billy Javier Reyes

MANILA, Philippines-One of the groups supporting the fight of Hacienda Luisita workers expressed outrage on Tuesday over a controversial statement of Liberal Party (LP) standard-bearer Senator Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III that the family could have gained P 3.B in net profits from selling the large sugar plantation if his family did not care about the farmers and only care for their interests.

In a press statement, the leftwing fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) said the Cojuangco-Aquino family has no right to claim ownership over the 6,453 hectare sugar plantation, and therefore has no right to dispose it to high bidders ad preferred clients of the Cojuangcos interested in acquiring the disputed land.

Aquino said the 4,500-hectare plantation could have been sold at P4.5 billion, with the real estate price of P100 per square meter. He said if his family decided to sell Hacienda Luisita, seventy percent of the proceeds will go the Cojuangco family or roughly P 3.15 billion, after payment of the company’s debts, adding at there would still be a big enough amount left in the family bank accounts.

“Noynoy and the landed aristocrats and oligarchs of the Cojuangco-Aquino landed mafia have no right to claim ownership over Hacienda Luisita. They should stop representing themselves as owners and benign proprietors of the 6,453-hectare sugar plantation. Hacienda Luisita belongs to generations of hardworking farm workers who were deprived of their rights to land by the passed on landed matriarchs and patriarchs of the exploiting Cojuangco clan,” Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said.

Hicap accused Sen. Aquino of misleading the Filipino public by trying to picture them as enlightened landlords in the countryside. “This presidential wannabe is a certified liar and a first-rate harbinger of lies and illusions. The farmers all over the country should reject this traditional politician and sugar-coated warlord in Central Luzon,” he said. According to Hicap, the Cojuangco-Aquino family acquired Hacienda Luisita through an endless campaign of coercion and deception on farm workers.

The Pamalakaya official said Noynoy should face the issues surrounding Hacienda Luisita fair and square and refrain from issuing statements that misrepresent or distort the real score in the 6,453-hectare sugar plantation that covers towns of Tarlac province.

Hicap stressed Hacienda Luisita should had been distributed to farmer beneficiaries in 1967 as part of the agreement between the Philippine government and the Cojuangco family in exchange for the P 7 million loan the family of former President Corazon Cojuangco-Aquino obtained from the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), aside from the 10-year loan acquired by the Cojuangcos from Manufacturer’s Trust Company in New York which was permitted by the Central Bank of the Philippines.

The loan obtained from New York and the GSIS loan were used by the Cojuangcos to buy the Hacienda Luisita from its former Spanish owners on the condition that the sugar estate will be awarded to farm workers in 1967 in pursuit of agrarian reform and social justice.

“Where is Noynoy’s sense of history and justice? He and his family are distorting everything to keep their unlawful and immoral control of Hacienda Luisita. Please do not vote for this political shenanigan in 2010. He poses extreme danger to the people,” added Hicap.

The Pamalakaya leader said Senator Aquino and other members of the Cojuangco-Aquino family should be declared illegal occupants and bogus owners of Hacienda Luisita. “In fact Aquino and Cojuangco clan should be charged of grave fraud and exploitation for transforming Hacienda Luisita farmworkers into long-time and long-running serfs over the last four decades. That is undeniably crime against humanity,” said Hicap.

Pamalakaya said the free distribution of 6,453 hectare Hacienda Luisita to 10,000 farm workers faces zero possibility in case Aquino wins the presidency in 2010. “Aquino and the Cojuangco clan will not relinquish their illegal and immoral control of Luisita. Noynoy will even use the presidency just like what his mother did to stop the farm workers from acquiring Luisita. It is all in the feudal mindset of the Cojuangcos and the rate things are going, even Noynoy sisters will cooperate to ensure gross denials of peasant land rights for another four to five decades or even a century more,” the group added.

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Noynoy siblings are stupid in blaming baby boom for Luisita workers sorry state

By Jay Cuesta, Chocolate Moose Fernandez and Gerry Albert Corpuz

Manila, Philippines- Four of the biggest rural-based organizations—the activist farmers group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), the leftwing fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya), the peasant women federation Amihan and the Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) on Monday assailed the sisters of Liberal Party (LP) standard bearer Senator Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III for blaming the lack of family planning among tenants and farm workers as the reason why poverty is widespread in the 6,453-hectare Hacienda Luisita sugar estate.

In a joint press statement, the groups said Noynoy sisters- Ballsy Aquino-Cruz and Pinky Aquino Abelleda are politically arrogant, mentally disoriented and morally inept for putting the blame on farm workers lack of family planning as the ultimate cause of their poverty and sorry state.

“Noynoy and her sisters are twisting the truth and distorting the life and struggle of Hacienda Luisita farm workers. May the God of truth and justice teach these political bitches the lessons of a lifetime,” the groups said in their joint statement.

“More than 8,000 farm workers were denied of their rights to land. More than 8,000 farm workers were kept as slaves of the Cojuangco-Aquino family and that Luisita workers were compelled to believe that the P 9.50 per day salary for each worker is just in exchange for nominal ownership under the blasphemous Stock Distribution Option (SDO) scheme. This is stupid. Pinky and Ballsy are stupid political animals acting like feel good politicians,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap.

The Aquino sisters joined the LP delegation in Candelaria, Quezon on Sunday to meet supporters of their brother in the May 2010 presidential elections.

Cruz denied allegations that the management of Hacienda Luisita did not give farmer-shareholders their just share of over P80 million paid by the government for the 83-hectare right-of-way through the Luisita estate in constructing the Subic-Clark-Tarlac-Expressway.

She said the money was spent by the corporation to pay off debts.

Cruz said Hacienda Lusita is a corporation. It has lots of debts. The money was not divided among shareholders and instead, it went to the trasurer.

In defending the stock distribution option, which has been criticized for effectively exempting the Cojuangcos from agrarian reform, Cruz said the farmers were able to have their land without the government paying even a single centavo for it.

Cruz said they own only 11 percent of the 67 percent shares controlled by the Cojuangco clan.

Pamalakaya, KMP and UMA earlier dared Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile to re-open the Hacienda Luisita case involving SDO and the massacre which happened on Nov.16, 2004 that claimed the lives of 7 farm workers and injured 100 others.

The groups reminded Enrile that on June 8, 1989, the senator, then Senate Minority Leader of the Corazon Aquino controlled Senate delivered a privilege speech questioning the late President Aquino’s insertion of Stock Distribution Option (SDO) in her outline for the land reform law.

They said 21 years ago, Sen. Enrile accused former President Aquino of usurping powers by signing Executive Order No. 229 to preside over the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC), the body that placed and approved to place the 6,453-hectare Hacienda Luisita under the SDO scheme.

“Will the Senate leadership under the Enrile presidency find time to re-open the long-running story of Hacienda Luisita and the controversial SDO in the name of farmers’ right to land and social justice? Is there a guarantee from Enrile that he will re-open the still unresolved cases and issues surrounding the sugar estate of the Cojuangco-Aquino family upon the request of Luisita farm workers?” the groups said in their joint statement.

In his speech, Enrile, then Senate Minority Floor Leader assailed the Aquino presidency for withdrawing the government case against owners of Hacienda Luisita, adding that the Arroyo presidency circumvent land reform to stay control of Hacienda Luisita.

“It is about time to re-open the Hacienda Luisita case. It will be moral and politically upright to have this case closed ahead of the 2010 elections with the free distribution of lands to 8,000 farmer beneficiaries and the punishment of those involved in the Nov.16, 2004 Hacienda Luisita massacre,” said UMA spokesperson Lito Bais.

The groups lamented that Noynoy and her sisters believe Hacienda Luisita is God’s gift to Cojuangco-Aquino clan, and therefore only God can take it back from them.

The United Luisita Workers Union (ULWU) said the Cojuangco-Aquino clan is relying on the strength of SDO to prevent the free land distribution of the 6,453 hectare sugar estate to some 8,000 farmer beneficiaries. ULWU acting president Lito Bais said the SDO which transformed farmworkers into nominal stockholders, also compelled Luisita workers to accept the P9.50 net pay daily. With reports from Sugar Hicap and Viva Regala-Alonzo

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Gov’t no contingency plans on tuna job crisis, says fishers group

By Sugar Hicap and Billy Javier-Reyes in General Santos City
and Bb. Joyce Cabral and Gerry Albert Corpuz in Manila

Manila, Philippines- The left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Thursday lamented that the Macapagal-Arroyo administration failed to come up with a contingency plan on how to address the loss of 150,000 jobs among tuna fishermen in Far South Mindanao with the two-year tuna fishing ban executed by the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC).

“The government has no contingency plans to address “the Great Tuna Crisis” of 2010. President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her economic advisers are well informed that this job crisis in the tuna industry is in the offing with the imposed two-year ban, but nothing has been done to arrest the issue of labor woes and loss of economic means for tuna fish workers” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap in a press statement.

“150,000 tuna fishermen will lose their jobs, and around 750,000 people indirectly dependent on the country’s backward tuna fishing industry will also feel the economic disaster of this 2-year tuna ban. So what would be the next move of this government? Tell the poor tuna fishing people to wait for two years for the lifting of the ban?” the Pamalakaya leader added.

Big players in the tuna industry including corporations in canning of tuna said the closure of high seas for tuna fishing will render idle some 200 fishing boats for the next two years, predicting a 20 percent drop in the supply of tuna in the local and world markets. The tuna industry in General Santos is currently valued at $ 380 million based on annual export figures of 400 metric tons per year.

Hicap agreed with the observation raised by Martin Tan, president of Socsksargen Fishing Federation and Allied Industries Inc. (SFFAII), that the closure of high seas for tuna ban, covering areas parallel to Palau, above Papua New Guinea and below Micronesia was not meant to preserve tuna stocks in West and Central Pacific, but to dislodge fishing companies from Third World countries from their tuna fishing grounds and allow tuna industrial fleets of European Union and Japan to takeover these tuna rich fishing areas.

Pamalakaya noted that in their respective free trade agreements with the Philippines, Japan for instance want to invade the Philippine waters for tuna fishing under the controversial Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (Jpepa), while EU also wants a share of the country’s territorial waters for tuna under the proposed RP-EU free trade pact.
The militant group said under Jpepa, the Philippine government is obliged to allow Japanese tuna factory ships to explore the country’s tuna resources in exchange for taxes derive from the value of harvested tuna from the country’s territorial waters.

Pamalakaya projected that the local tuna industry concentrated in General Santos port city stands to lose P18 billion in profits yearly once Japan tuna fishing fleets start their tuna exploration this year.

On the other hand, Japanese investors are expected to gain at least P43 billion annual profits in tuna trading, he said.

“The devastating impact of JPEPA to the local tuna industry includes the loss of 100,000 jobs provided by the local tuna fishing companies in South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, General Santos City and the Davao regions,” Pamalakaya said.

According to Pamalakaya, a single 3,000-gross ton Japanese factory ship is capable of harvesting 50,000 metric tons of tuna a year or 150 metric tons of tuna per day. Based on industry standards, a single factory ship could earn as much as $32.5 million in gross profits from the sale of skipjack tuna.

Pamalakaya said the bulk of the profit will come from the remaining 35 percent of the 50,000 metric ton tuna catch, which is $210 million. “A single medium size factory ship thus will earn $242.5 million a year, and since Japan at the very least, employs four factory ships in its regular tuna fishing expedition per country, we expect them to earn a total of $ 970 million or P43.5 B per year,” the group said.

At present the local tuna industry yearly produces 400,000 metric tons of tuna, with 15 percent of the production going to domestic market and 85 percent for exports.

The European Union accounts for 40 percent of the country’s fresh and canned tuna exports or roughly 64,000 metric tons per year. The rest of the exports are shipped to tuna markets of Japan and the United States..

Pamalakaya said the government should indefinitely suspend if not abrogate the Jpepa treaty with Japan if it wants the local tuna fishing industry to survive.

“The most logical and objective solution to current predicament of tuna fish workers in Southern Philippines is to abrogate Jpepa and pursue the nationalization of tuna fishing industry by investing finance capital and technology for the inward development of the tuna sector, and this will arrest the rising tide of job loss among tuna fish workers and tuna fishermen,” the group said. #

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Palace asked: “Explain alleged conspiracy with Cojuangco-Aquino on SCTEx deal

by Kremlin Montenegro and Viva Regala-Alonzo

Manila, Philippines-Leftwing militants supporting the fight of striking farmworkers in Hacienda Luisita on Saturday asked Malacanang Palace to explain its role on the alleged overpricing of the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx) project.

In a joint statement, the fisherfolk alliance Pamalakaya and staunch ally Anakpawis party list said the sweetheart deal on SCTEx was done at the time President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and former President Corazon Aquino were the best of friends in national politics.

Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap and Anakpawis secretary general Cherry Clemente in a joint statement said at the time SCTEx project was conceived and approved, the Cojuangco-Aquino clan was still supportive of the Arroyo administration, and in fact endorsed Mrs. Arroyo over closest rival- the late actor Fernando Poe Jr. in May 2004 presidential elections.

“President Arroyo owes the public an honest-to-goodness explanation. Malacanang and the ruling patriarchs and matriarchs of Hacienda Luisita should tell the truth and nothing but the truth on this mother of road to perdition scandal in recent memory,” both leaders said.

Pamalakaya’s Hicap believed that the SCTEx project was a grand plan for money making. “Imagine the original price of SCTEx project was P 15.7 billion and shot up to P 32.8 billion. If this was not money making at its best, then what was it? Multiple insertion for multi-platinum crimes of corruption?”, said Hicap.

Hicap said the controversy involving the government purchase of the road right of way in Hacienda Luisita, involving 600-hectare sugar plantation owned by the Aquino-Cojuangco family should be investigated by both chambers of Congress, and should not be dismissed as mere political stunts in connection with the May 2010 polls were Senators Manuel Villar and Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III were leading presidential candidates.

“National interest and public trust are involved here,” said Pamalakaya.

Reports said SCTEx project was first conceived in 1999 at the cost of P15.7 billion. By 2007, the cost of the project more than doubled to P32.8 billion, with an additional supplemental loan of P6.7 billion made to cover price escalation, contingency and interest that further bloated the price.

The cost of the project ballooned to almost P39 billion [or] P419 million per kilometer of road. The government paid P83 million for the purchase of the road right of way and poured in another P170 million for the construction of a road interchange in the middle of the hacienda.

The government had agreed to buy 83 hectares of Luisita land at P100 per square meter, which he claimed was more than 10 times the zonal value of P6 to P8 per sq m for similar raw sugar lands in Concepcion and San Miguel, Tarlac.

Yesterday, some 10, 000 farmers and Manila-based activists who joined the 10-day Pambansang Lakbayan ng Anakpawis Para sa Lupa at Katarungan (National Journey of Toiling Masses for Land and Justice) today posed this question to presidential candidates, except Liberal Party (LP) standard bearer Sen. Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III: “How do you solve a problem like Hacienda Luisita.”

Leading the 10-kilometer march from Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to Mendiola to commemorate the 23rd year anniversary of Mendiola Massacre, Lakbayan organizers Danilo Ramos, secretary general of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and Anakpawis party list Reps. Rafael Mariano and Joel Maglunsod in a joint statement said presidential candidates Sen. Manuel Villar (Nacionalista Party), Sen. Dick Gordon, Lakas-Kampi merger party bet Gilbert Teodoro, independent candidates JC de los Reyes and Nicanor Perlas and Bro. Eddie Villanueva of Bangon Pilipinas are lawfully, politically and morally obliged to state their position on Hacienda Luisita.

“Senator Aquino believes Hacienda Luisita is God’s gift to Cojuangco-Aquino clan, and 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.

Several farmers groups led by the United Luisita Workers Union (ULWU) said the Cojuangco-Aquino clan is relying on the strength of Stock Distribution Option (SDO) scheme to prevent the free land distribution of the 6,453 hectare sugar estate to some 8,000 farmer beneficiaries. ULWU acting president Lito Bais said the SDO which transformed farmworkers into nominal stockholders, also compelled Luisita workers to accept the P9.50 net pay daily.

KMP’s Ramos said the problems in Hacienda Luisita 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.

“So the 64-dollar question mark remains—how these presidentiables except Noynoy solve a problem like Hacienda Luisita?” the KMP leader reiterated.#

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Luisita workers asked Supreme Court to cite Cojuangcos, RCBC for contempt

By Jayjay Jaiho, contributor

Tarlac City, Tarlac- Striking farmworkers in the 6,453-hectare Hacienda Luisita sugar estate owned by the family of the late President Corazon Cojuangco-Aquino today asked the Supreme Court to cite in contempt the Cojuangcos and management officials of Luisita Estate Management (LEM) and Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) for violating the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) issued by the high tribunal.

In the TRO issued by the high court on June 14, 2006, the SC called for a status quo between the Luisita management and the farmers stating that no action should be taken regarding the used or selling of the disputed sugar lands in Hacienda Luisita as long as the legal issues are not been resolved like the Stock Distribution Option (SDO) which the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC) had recommended to be revoked to pave way for the immediate distribution of the Cojuangco sugar estate to farm workers and other qualified agrarian reform beneficiaries.

But Luisita workers leader Lito Bais, spokesperson of Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) and acting chair of United Luisita Workers Union (ULWU) asserted that the Cojuangcos and RCBC blatantly violated the status quo and should be cited in contempt of court when LEM allowed the foreclosure of the 170 hectares of Luisita land by the commercial bank, which he said was a covert ops or a syndicated move by the Cojuangcos to regain hold of the disputed land.

The acting ULWU chair added that “Luisita Estate Management had no legal and moral rights to dip into the issue because they are not one of the party involved. LEM should stay away from our issue, we think that this shadow management created by no other less by the Cojuangco family to brought confusion among Luisita farmers and to sabotage our legitimate fight which is the distribution of land to bonafide farm worker”.

September last year, RCBC started putting up fences on the 170 hectares located in Barangay Balete. The RCBC representative said that this farm lot had been foreclosed as payment for the Cojuangco’s debt. At first they hired the farmers to put fences not saying its real purpose, and then we learned later that RCBC has already owned the land we planned to cultivate”.

“We think this move of RCBC is in cahoots with the LEM’s attempt of persuading Luisita farmers to engage in an non antagonistic tactic creating a convincing environment that the Cojuangco’s will not going reclaim the land to them. But this is the same LEM that issued a memo dating December 2008 which is threatening Luisita farm workers to vacate the lands that they cultivated after the infamous Hacienda Luisita massacre,” added Bais.

“It seems that they changed tactics knowing that the Luisita farmers will not be cowed over their memo… In fact right after RCBC put up the fence, LEM release a statement through “Balitaan sa Luisita”, the management publication bannering series of dialogues between them and the farm beneficiaries in different barangays whereas the farmers are agreeing on land use program’ Bais stressed.

He also said that ‘If we traced back the statements of presidential wannabe Noynoy Aquino, their family are having a hard time coping on Luisita’s expenses that is why they’re considering the selling of the former sugar land state. On our part, as “co-owner” we think on what Noynoy, the LEM creation and RCBC move is part of a grand dubious scheme design to reclaim the lands that we painstakingly fought with our sweat and blood.

ULWU and UMA also received a report that Hacienda Luisita Incorporated will be dissolved in lieu to the creation of LEM. According to Atty. Jobert Pahilga, the lead counsel of Luisita workers, in order to legalize LEM, the Cojuangco’s will also seek the approval of the Department of Agrarian Reform.

“And if HLI will be dissolved, Stock Distribution Option will be implemented no more. Thus automatic distribution of the what is left to be distributed in accordance with Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program’s provision,” said Pahilga.

While asking the high tribunal to immediately cite the Cojuangcos and RCBC in direct contempt of court, UMA and ULWU said it would be better if the SC will lift the TRO, affirmed the decision of PARC to revoke the SDO and allow the immediate, unconditional and free distribution of Hacienda Luisita to some 8,000 agrarian reform beneficiaries.

“The TRO is prolonging the agony of agrarian reform beneficiaries inside Hacienda Luisita.

The Supreme Court is legally, morally and politically mandated to carry out the cause for agrarian justice and social emancipation. However, the TRO it issued last June 14, 2006 counters this mandate at the expense of landless farmworkers,” the groups said.

The high court issued a TRO instructing PARC and Agrarian Reform Secretary Nasser Pangandaman to refrain from distributing Hacienda Luisita lands to farmworker beneficiaries.

The SC Third Division also ordered the Hacienda Luisita Incorporated to post a cash bond of P 5 million for the TRO.
The TRO came from the petition filed by HLI questioning PARC resolution No.2005-32-10 dated Dec.22, 2005 upholding the decision of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to revoke the Stock Distribution Option (SDO) plan of the Hacienda Luisita management.

The PARC also ruled to place the entire Hacienda Luisita estate under compulsory acquisition, earmarking some P 15-billion for the acquisition of the sugar estate own by the family for ex-President Aquino. #

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KMU slaps Palace’s direct hand in layoff of 700 SLEX workers

Contributed to The Pamalakaya Times

No holiday in protesting Arroyo’s job massacres

Even the spirit of Christmas failed to put off the Arroyo government’s layoff plans, as it directed the sudden retrenchment of at least 700 Philippine National Construction Corporation (PNCC) employees working in the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX), according to Kilusang Mayo Uno.

KMU said Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita’s directive to hasten the turnover of SLEX’s operations to Manila Toll Expressway Systems (MATES) is “clear proof of Arroyo’s itch for job massacres”

“With the Palace hand clearly jutting out of the mass layoff in SLEX, Arroyo has further earned the ire of Filipino workers. And with that, she will never enjoy a holiday break from workers’ condemnation and wrath,” said KMU Chairperson Elmer “Bong” Labog.

“Layoff victims, especially, have every right to make her Christmas an uneasy one. Protests will surely knock her out of the holiday mood,” he added.

North Harbor retrenchment

Labog said aside from the retrenchment of SLEX workers, at least 7,000 port workers and vendors in North Harbor in Manila face a “jobless New Year” as winning bidders take over the port terminal on Jan. 1, 2010.

“The layoffs in SLEX and North Harbor are fine examples of how privatization works as an anti-labor policy prescribed by foreign institutions like the World Bank,” said Labog.

“But history proves that privatization, which only benefits private corporations at the expense of workers, has been met with strong and united actions of workers, not only in our country but in many parts of the world.

“We urge SLEX and North Harbor workers to continue their fight for livelihood and unite with other workers in making this regime pay up for its crimes against the people,” he added.

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