Tag Archives: ex-President Corazon Aquino

11 groups call for rejection of Noynoy in 2010 polls

By Gerry Albert Corpuz, Lollipop de los Reyes and Sugar Hicap

MANILA, Philippines-About 11 rural based organizations and agrarian reform advocacy groups urged the 50 million Filipino voters in the May 10, 2010 elections to reject the presidential bid of Liberal Party (LP) standard bearer Sen. Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III, asserting that electing the son of former President Corazon Aquino’s son to the presidency is like extending the term of outgoing President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

In their statement, the peasant activist group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), the fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya), the agricultural worker group Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA), the peasant women federation Amihan, the Hacienda Luisita based United Luisita Workers Union (ULWU) and Alyansa ng mga Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita (Ambala), the Central Luzon wide Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid ng Gitnang Luzon(AMGL), the legal NGO group Sentro Para sa Tunay na Repormang Agraryo (Sentra), the Tanggol Magsasaka human rights committee, the National Network of Agrarian Reform Advocates- Youth Sector (Nnara-Youth) and Anakpawis party list said it is politically necessary to frustrate the presidential ambition of Aquino.

“The rejection of Noynoy Aquino at the electoral box-office this May 10, 2010 is in the highest interest of the rural people— the farmers, farmworkers, peasant women, agricultural workers, indigenous people and fisherfolk. The collective view of landless farmers and marginalized rural folks is that bringing Aquino to the highest elective post in the land is like extending the term of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for another six years of injustice, betrayal, corruption, extreme puppetry to the United States and ultimate state terror,” the 11 groups said in their rural manifesto for real change.

“Please allow us to cite our basis why Noynoy is Macapagal-Arroyo in the making, why Noynoy is President Arroyo trapped in a man’s body and why an Aquino presidency appears like giving Arroyo another six year rule of extrajudicial killings, grave human rights violations, high crimes of corruption, puppetry and grand betrayal of national interest and public trust,” the 11 groups added.

In their rural manifesto, the groups said Noynoy and the entire Cojuangco-Aquino landed aristocracy will not yield their unlawful and immoral claim on Hacienda Luisita. At present, the Cojuangco-Aquino established Luisita Estate Management is engaged in round-the-clock campaign to stop free distribution of the 6,453-hectare sugar plantation to 10,000 farmworker beneficiaries.

“It is predictable- an Aquino presidency will just continue Arroyo and other previous presidents’ policy of land reform denials and reversals. The presence of anti-agrarian reform politicians in the Aquino camp is highly evident why agrarian reform will continue to serve the best interest of landed class like the Cojuangco-Aquino and the Roxas-Araneta families under an Aquino presidency,” they said.

KMP secretary general Danilo Ramos said: “To set the record straight, LP senatorial candidate and former senator Franklin Drilon was the justice secretary of the late President Corazon Aquino. He instigated the infamous Department of Justice (DoJ) Opinion No.44 which allows anarchic and chaotic land use conversions all over the country. The anti-peasant measure was used by the Cojuangco-Aquino and the Araneta-Roxas family to evade land distribution and pushed the sale and conversions of their landholdings for the benefit of their foreign and private clients”.

The KMP leader recalled during Cory’s time, one of Noynoy’s current political lieutenants—former DAR secretary Butch Abad was instrumental in keeping Hacienda Luisita in the hands of Cojuangco-Aquino through the shameless Drilon opinion. The presence of Drilon and Abad in the Noynoy camp is a stern warning that no real agrarian justice will be undertaken by Aquino if he becomes President in 2010.

For his part, Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said Noynoy was scored by a US-based human rights watchdog, hinting Aquino will not solve the problem of political killings and worsening human rights situation in the country. One indicator, Hicap said, is Noynoy’s desire to maintain private armies and paramilitary forces backed and supported by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). The country’s human rights organizations said paramilitary troops were in cahoots with the military and were also responsible for the spate of politically motivated murder over the last nine years under Oplan Bantay Laya 1 and Oplan Bantay Laya II.

“Noynoy is one of the biggest opportunist politicians ever produced in the history of reactionary politics and reactionary elections in the country. In exchange for his family’s lifetime control of Hacienda Luisita including graft-ridden projects like the SCTEX, Noynoy and his feudal clan supported the presidential bid of President Arroyo in 2004 and Noynoy as congressman of Tarlac refused the playing of Hello Garci tape in connection with the massive election fraud perpetrated by the Arroyo mafia in 2004 presidential elections,” the Pamalakaya leader added.

Pamalakaya said the massacre of 7 farmers and wounding of 134 striking farmworkers and their supporters in Hacienda Luisita on November 16, 2004 was part of the anti-farmer and anti-Left collaboration of the Macapagal-Arroyo administration and the fiefdom of the Cojuangco-Aquino. The Arroyo administration ordered DOLE to intervene through the anti-worker assumption of jurisdiction (AJ) during the strike and mobilized military and police forces to disperse and indiscriminately shoot Luisita farmworkers in the name of their political alliance with Cojuangco-Aquino.

KMP and Pamalakaya also warned the economy will continue to suffer under an Aquino presidency. The economic managers of President Arroyo who were responsible for anti-people economic policies like the 12 percent Expanded Value Added Tax (EVAT) and Oil Deregulation Law to mention a few now composed the economic advisers of the Noynoy camp.

“For instance, LP vice-presidential candidate Mar Roxas and senatorial candidate Ralph Recto are orchestrators of the anti-poor EVAT and both are obsessed with the economic poisons prescribed by the IMF-World Bank and operators of World Trade Organization (WTO) or one-sided and anti-Filipino agreements like the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (Jpepa),” the groups said.

The 11 groups said the appeal to the 50-million voters to rise above the occasion. Let us all frustrate the presidential ambition of Noynoy Aquino. “What we aspire and struggle for is genuine land reform and social justice. And we cannot have it under an extended Arroyo presidency in the political persona of Noynoy Aquino,” the 11 groups added.

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Groups urge Luisita workers to declare Dinky persona non grata

By Jayjay Jaiho and Chocolate Moose Fernandez

Manila, Philippines-Three militant groups supporting the striking farmworkers of Hacienda Luisita on Sunday urged farmworkers of the 6,453-hectare sugar estate owned by the family of the late President Corazon Aquino to declare persona non-grata former Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman.

In a joint press statement, the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), the Hacienda Luisita based Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) and the left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) said Soliman did not only distort the truth about the infamous Hacienda Luisita massacre, she also prostituted history with her own fabricated facts and figures.

“She’s the no.1 political prostitute in the camp of Senator Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III. She will move heaven and earth for the sake of a Noynoy presidency in 2010. This is unpardonable and totally revolting,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap.

“The struggling workers of Hacienda Luisita has no option but condemn this opportunist Noynoy puppet and tell her she is not welcome in Luisita as far as the farmworkers are concerned,” the Pamalakaya official added.

Soliman said the number of striking workers in Cojuangco-owned sugar estate five years ago were only 2 and not 7 as reported by media. The former social welfare chief the reports regarding the massacre were exaggerated, asserting that she only saw two bodies and did not see the other five dead bodies which media claimed as casualties in the Nov.16, 2004 carnage.

‘How can that be? Is she talking of another massacre perpetrated by her former boss –President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo? Where is her sense of truth, of accuracy and objectivity? She is lying, that’s the real score, she is lying to pursue this politically motivated gossip making against the memories of the martyrs in Hacienda Luisita massacre,” added Hicap.

Likewise Pamalakaya blasted the sister of Aquino—Viel Aquino-Dee for insisting that her family should not be blamed for the killings and that infiltrators from the leftist groups should be take the blame.

“She is a triple platinum liar. She can check the reports of the Senate Committee which investigated the case and the voluminous media reports that point to the military, their previous allies in Malacanang as perpetrators of the massacre, and after that let us see who is telling the truth, and who is lying, nothing more, nothing less,” the group added.

Pamalakaya, UMA and KMP last month 21 asked Senate President Juan Ponce- Enrile to re-open the investigation on the Hacienda Luisita massacre case.

“Will the Senate leadership under the Enrile presidency find time to re-open the long-running story of Hacienda Luisita massacre 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.

“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 resolution of the Nov.16, 2004 massacre and the free distribution of lands to 8,000 farmer beneficiaries and the punishment of those involved in the Nov.16, 2004 Hacienda Luisita massacre,” the groups said. #

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Noynoy told: “Distribute Luisita now, not in 2014

By Makisig Corrales, Lala Lichugas and Trinity Biglang Awa

Manila, Philippines-Rural based militant groups on Wednesday told Liberal Party (LP) standard bearer Sen, Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III and his family– the landlord Cojuangco-Aquino clan they should distribute the 6,453 hectare Hacienda Luisita sugar estate to 10,000 farm worker beneficiaries now and not on 2014 as proposed by the front running presidential candidate.

In a manifesto signed by the farmers group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), United Luisita Workers Union (ULWU), Alyansa ng mga Manggagawang Bukid sa Luisita (Ambala), Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA), National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW), Amihan peasant women federation, Anakpawis party list, Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luzon (AMGL) and the leftwing fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) said Aquino was merely taking Luisita workers into a roller coaster ride by making them believe that the Cojuangco-Aquino clan has decided to yield effective control of the sugar estate to farm workers by 2014.

“Why wait for 2014 if they can relinquish their immoral and unlawful control of Hacienda Luisita anytime today, tomorrow or next week? We will not buy this gimmick. He is politically hurt by issues ranged against him on hacienda, and he just issued this eyebrow raising, jaw dropping statement to stop the dropping trend in his ratings at the electoral box-office”, said KMP secretary general Danilo Ramos in behalf of the groups.

At a press conference held in his family’s ancestral home in Concepcion, Tarlac, Noynoy told reporters that he had convinced members of the Cojuangco-Aquino clan to prepare for the turnover of the sugar estate to farm worker beneficiaries by June 2014.

Aquino spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said his principal is committed to distribute the land to farm worker beneficiaries at the end of the extended Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (Carper). Lacierda stressed that the decision was made because of principle and not just a campaign promise.

“That’s baloney. Where’s the logic behind that promise? The free distribution of Hacienda Luisita should take place now. The 2014 agrarian deadline is highly questionable and grossly unacceptable,” added Ramos.

Before Congress recessed on Feb.5, leaders of UMA, ULWU and AMGL trooped to Senate and sent a letter of appeal urging Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile to re-open the Hacienda Luisita case particularly the controversial Stock Distribution Option (SDO) which was sneaked in by former President Corazon Aquino to gain effective control of Luisita.

Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said said on June 8, 1989, Enrile, then Senate Minority Leader in his privilege speech questioned Executive Order 229 allowing Hacienda Luisita to evade distribution of Hacienda Luisita to farm workers by signing EO 229 placing the entire sugar estate under SDO scheme where farmers become nominal stock holders instead of having physical possession of lands.

“Hacienda Luisita is a history of long-running deception by the Cojuangco-Aquino clan. It is time to end this prime time and triple platinum betrayal of peasant interest and welfare,” he said.

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Luisita workers urge Congress to re-open massacre case, agrarian dispute

By Jayjay Jaiho and Akihira Tatchu

Tarlac City, Philippines- Striking farmworkers of Hacienda Luisita will join the 10-day Lakbayan ng Anakpawis Para sa Lupa at Katarungan to demand the re-opening of the Hacienda Luisita massacre case, including the current state of agrarian dispute in the 6,453-hectare sugar estate, which they said remains unresolved up to this day.

In a press statement, the hacienda based United Luisita Workers Union (ULWU) and the Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) said they will submit an official letter addressed to the Senate and the House of Representatives requiring house leaders to re-open the still unresolved issues involving the Cojuangco-Aquino sugar estate, which was investigated by lawmakers in aid of legislation but failed to come up with a separate or joint committee report on the Nov.16, 2004 massacre that claimed 7 lives of farmworkers and injured more than 100 farm workers.

“Forgive and forget is not our cup of tea. We will pursue our case in the name of land, truth and justice,” said Lito Bais, spokesperson and acting chair of UMA.

The demand for the re-opening of Hacienda Luisita massacre and investigation on the current land reform status in the Cojuangco-Aquino estate by both chambers of Congress was supported by allied groups headed by Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), the fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya), Amihan peasant women federation and militant party list group Anakpawis.

In a joint statement, the groups asked Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and House Speaker Prospero Nograles to pursue the investigation of previous and present issues in Hacienda Luisita, including the encroachment of private groups occupying portions of the sugar estate like the Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC), which claimed some hectares of land representing foreclosed properties arising from Luisita management debts.

“Is Hacienda Luisita for sale? But according to insiders and highly well placed source, the Cojuangco –Aquino clan is hiring dummies and using paid hacks to sow intrigues and terror in the hacienda,” they said.

Bais said around 200 farmworkers in Hacienda Luisita will join the peasant caravan and long march from Tarlac to the National Capital Region, and they will converge with other farmers from Ilocos provinces, La Union, Benguet, Pangasinan, Cagayan, Isabela and provinces of Central Luzon—Zambales, Bataan, Pampanga, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija and Aurora provinces on January 16 at Hacienda Luisita Park before the long march to Mendiola.

“The case of the farm workers of hacienda Luisita is not different from other sad stories of farmers in the whole North and Central Luzon were farmers for years became the unwilling victims of unjust relation between landlords and peasants accompanied by anti-farmer program policies and projects of the government and the national security group in Malacanang”, said Joseph Canlas, chair of the Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luzon [AMGL].

The AMGL chair stressed that this caravan-march for land and justice is very important because it highlights the plight of the peasantry by showcasing the local issues in our region and addressing it as a national concern.

Aside from hacienda Luisita, there’s also the issue of the Fort Magsaysay Military reservation were peasants are being thrown out on their farms by the military. Then there’s the landgrabbing case committed by Rep. Luis Villafuerte of Bicol in San Miguel, Bulacan and the displacement of Tungko Mangga farmers by the Araneta’s when MRT 7 will pushed through to their community.

“There’s a clear and present danger upon the situation not only on the gravity of the people and institution that we’re going to deal with but also its counter actions. Since GMA assume the seat of power, peasants are on the upper deck victimized by extra judicial killings and persecutions to this date, 560 out of 1050 victims of extra judicial killings were leaders and members of peasant organizations whose only crime is to organized their ranks and fight for their rights”, added Canlas.

“We’re going to start our caravan-march on January 17, after an overnight stay in Tarlac. From there, we’re going to San Fernando, Pampanga to meet with other peasant delegates and will march to the Department of Agrarian Reform region 3 to stage a protest action,” the AMGL official added.

On January 18 the Lakbayan march will proceed to Malolos and will meet the Bulacan contingent and onward to Manila. More groups will join the peasant marchers as they reach the Bonifacio shrine in Balintawak on the 20th.

The Lakbayan will then proceed to the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) national office on the 21st of January where a cultural and solidarity night will be held. On January 22, the marchers will proceed to Manila coinciding with the 23rd year anniversary of Mendiola Massacre.

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Luisita workers say Noynoy a hopeless case

By Jayjay Jaiho and Bb. Joyce Cabral

Manila, Philippines- “While Liberal Party presidential standard bearer Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III is no longer a hopeless romantic as far as the affairs of the heart are concerned, he is a hopeless case as far as striking workers of Hacienda Luisita workers are concerned,” according to leaders of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), the Unyon ng Mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) and Anakpawis party list.

In a joint press statement, KMP secretary general Danilo Ramos, UMA spokesperson Lito Bais and Anakpawis secretary general Cherry Clemente said the refusal of Sen. Aquino to recognize the rights of striking farmworkers and his rejection of the legitimate, lawful and morally upright demand for immediate and unconditional free distribution of the 6,453-hectare sugar estate to more than 8,000 agrarian reform beneficiaries betrayed the collective interest of the Filipino farmers all over the country.

“Noynoy will not give up their immoral claim and blood tainted control of Hacienda Luisita,” the militant leaders said.

The militant groups said the agenda calling for free distribution of Hacienda Luisita to farmworkers and other agrarian reform beneficiaries will be posed to other presidential candidates in the May 2010 elections that include Manuel Villar of Nacionalista Party, the closest rival of Aquino according to various surveys conducted by independent poll groups.

“The issues concerning Hacienda Luisita like the revocation of Stock Distribution Option, the immediate and free distribution of the 6,453-hectare sugar estate to land reform beneficiaries and the quest for justice for victims of the massacre on Nov.16, 2004 will be included in the peasant electoral agenda for 2010,” the groups said.

They said the family of Sen. Aquino failed to address and improve the lives of Luisita workers over the last three to four decades. According to them, daily take home pay of every farm worker in Hacienda Luisita is
P 9.50, which is not even enough to buy a half kilo of NFA rice.

Bais, the UMA spokesperson and acting president of the hacienda based United Luisita Workers Union (ULWU) today announced that Hacienda Luisita will serve as a launching pad of Lakbayan ng Anakpawis Para sa Lupa at Katarungan which will officially start on January 16 in Northern Philippines.

The Lakbayan will gather marching farmers from Ilocos, Cordillera, Cagayan Valley and Central Luzon regions on their way to National Capital Region on the occasion of the 23rd year anniversary of Mendiola Massacre.

Bais said on January 16, thousands of farmers and farmworkers from Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union, Pangasinan, Abra, Benguet, Tarlac, Bataan, Zambales, Pampanga, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Nueva Viscaya, Isabela and Cagayan will mass up in Hacienda Luisita Park to signal the 7-day Lakbayan from Northern Luzon to NCR.

The UMA spokesman said farmers will then hold a caravan from Tarlac City to Angeles City and San Fernando City in Pampanga and will stage a vigil near Pampanga’s provincial capitol. From the capitol, farmers will stage a long march on their way to Malolos, Bulacan. They are expected to reach Monumento in Caloocan City on the afternoon of January 20, according to caravan and long march organizers.

Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luzon (AMGL) secretary general Joseph Canlas said aside from Hacienda Luisita, Central Luzon peasants will also expose and oppose the continuing landgrabbing activities by big landlords and the military in San Miguel, Bulacan and Fort Magsaysay Military Reservation in Laur, Nueva Ecija.

Canlas said farmers in Hacienda Sta. Isabel and Hacienda San Antonio in Isabela will also join the caravan and long march to press for the immediate distribution of big landholdings to landless farmers in the province.

In the South, Lakbayan organizers led by KMP and Anakpawis party list said around 750 farmers, fisherfolk, peasant women, agricultural workers and indigenous people from 10 regions in Mindanao, Panay, Negros, the Visayas and Bicol are expected to reach Lucena City by January 17, where they are expected to hold a solidarity vigil, which the Katipunan ng mga Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan (Kasama-TK) and Bagong Alyansang Makabayan- Southern Tagalog chapter (Bayan-ST) will host and sponsor.

Kasama-TK and Bayan- ST representing over 1,000 mobilization from the region will later join the marchers on their way to the National Capital region.

“This is history in the making”, organizers added.

“Land monopoly in the country has further aggravated and intensified the exploitation of our farmers. Imagine, because of landlessness, they are perennially subjected to pay 50 percent, or 1/3 or 1/4 of their gross harvest as land rent. But only 19 to 21 percent of the total produce goes to farmers. This sorry state of agrarian reform in the country will be vividly depicted during the 10-day farmers’ march from all over the country,” they said.

Organizers said the Lakbayan will also engage in mobile dissemination and propaganda campaign about the sorry condition of farm workers all over the country. She said daily income of rice farmers for the entire cropping season ranges from P 23 to P 40 per day.

On the other hand, KMP’s Ramos said in defense of their rights to land in pursuit of social justice, farmers are perpetually subjected to various forms of human rights violations, militarization and repression.

Latest data from Karapatan human rights group revealed that 561 farmers were victims of extrajudicial killings, 119 of them were leaders and members of KMP, while scores of internally displaced peasants due to all-out war, militarization and massacre; and cases of abducted farmers and falsely charged rural activists continue to flood the monitoring bulletins of human rights groups and the concerned public. #

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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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Militants tell Noynoy sisters: Hacienda Luisita reminds Cojuangcos’ corruption and greed

By Billy Javier Reyes

Manila, Philippines- Supporters of striking Hacienda Luisita farmworkers on the eve of Christmas Day chided sisters of Liberal Party standard bearer Senator Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III and urged them to refrain from talking and acting like clean folks in the country, reminding them that the ongoing dispute over the 6,453-hectare represents their family’s crime of corruption and greed.

The left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) was reacting to the statements issued by Aquino’s sisters—Aurora Corazon” Pinky” Aquino-Abellada and Maria Elena “Ballsy” Cruz that their brother—Noynoy represent the country’s hope against corruption and greed, and the people’s quest for clean government.

“Pinky and Ballsy should exercise extra prudence in issuing public statements, because later on these slogans and rhetoric excuses will boomerang on them. The case of Hacienda Luisita and the decades old denial of peasant land rights in the Cojuangco estate is a lucid testimony to Cojuangcos’ running crime of corruption and greed,” Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said in a press statement.

The Pamalakaya leader: “We beg to disagree to their grandstanding and early political campaign to their presidentiable brother. The people of Hacienda Luisita knew the real score and they cannot deny that”.

The Aquino sisters recently interviewed in Victorias City while attending a birthday celebration of a Liberal Party congressional candidate in the third district of Negros Occidental that they continued to get warm and enthusiastic welcome from people who are spending their own money to put up headquarters around the country for their brother’s campaign.

Abellada said the people were telling them they are helping Noynoy because they want a better government and they have hope for change with her brother running in the May 2010 presidential elections. She said the people were sad about corruption and greed in the country and Noynoy’s entry to the presidential race next year revived memories and sparked hope for clean government for the Filipino people.

“We will not question their love for Noynoy but we will ask them what they have done to ensure that the farmworkers of Hacienda Luisita enjoy the fruits of their labor. Where is social justice in Luisita? The lands still belong to the Cojuangcos, the criminal minds and actors behind the Hacienda Luisita massacre are still free and enjoying a beautiful life,” Pamalakaya’s Hicap lamented.

Last month, representatives of Pamalakaya, the peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), the Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) and Amihan peasant women federation were in Rome, Italy and launched an international signature campaign in support of the land claim of striking farmworkers in Hacienda Luisita.

Pamalakaya information officer Gerry Albert Corpuz said the signature campaign initially solicited the support of 400 rural based activists in the United States, North America, South America, Europe, Canada, South Africa, South Asia, Southeast Asia and East Asia, who attended last month’s World Summit on Food Security held from Nov.16-18, and the parallel activity billed as People’s Forum on Food Sovereignty from Nov.13-17 also in Rome.

“The struggle of Hacienda Luisita farmworkers for land and justice was one of the highlights of the rural people’s participation in the UN FAO World Food Summit on Food Security and the parallel forum organized by civil society groups and peoples’ movements all over the world,” said Corpuz.

The signature campaign both urges President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Senator Aquino to act in accordance with the interest of Hacienda Luisita farmworkers by declaring the 6,453 hectare sugar estate free the Cojuangcos and ready for urgent and unconditional free distribution to farm workers.

The signature campaign also highlighted the demand for speedy trial of those involved in the Nov.16, 2004 massacre that includes top government and military officials of the Arroyo government and the Cojuangcos.

Pamalakaya’s Corpuz said despite the decision of the Ombudsman clearing the civilian officials and the Cojuangcos from their culpabilities in the Hacienda Luisita massacre, the demand for their inclusion in scores of criminal charges shall be pursued by their groups in the international court of public opinion. #

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