Tag Archives: Hacienda Luisita Massacre

Police state in Hacienda Luisita assailed

By Gerry Albert Corpuz, Bianca Jing Bajing Jing and Bb. Tayuman Recto-Yap

MANILA, Philippines-Striking Hacienda Luisita farm workers on Wednesday pressed President Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino to pull out the composite team of Army troops, para-military forces and members of the intelligence unit of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), saying the 6,453 hectare sugar plantation appeared like a mini garrison or satellite camp for the Northern Luzon command of the AFP.

In a press statement, the Hacienda Luisita based groups– Unyon ng Mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA), the United Luisita Workers Union (ULWU)and the Alyansa ng Mga Manggagawa sa Asyenda Luisita (Ambala)said the AFP has deployed about a platoon of government troops in Luisita, excluding members of CAFGU and intelligence personnel from the 701st Infantry Batallion of the Philippine Army.

UMA national coordinator Emma Velarde said among the task of Army troops deployed inside Luisita is to harass and terrorize leaders and members of Luisita farm workers’ associations calling for the immediate and unconditional free distribution of the sugar estate to 10,000 farmworker beneficiaries.

“Is President Aquino aware of the ongoing AFP campaign of terror inside Hacienda Luisita? Or this brazen act of Jurassic feudal terrorism has the seal of approval of the Office of the President? Which is which Mr.Aquino,” Velarde added.

Velarde raised this concern during a picket rally this morning held at Mendiola Bridge by 50 farm workers most of them were from Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac and Hacienda Yulo in Barangay Canlubang,Calamba City in Laguna. The farmers staged the rally to denounce President Aquino for evading issues pertaining to land reform in his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) last Monday.

Before the rally, Hacienda Luisita farmers trooped to the office of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) in Quezon City to submit a formal complaint against military officers and members of the 710st IBPA whom they accused of engaging in state terror campaign and round-the-clock surveillance inside the sprawling sugar estate in Tarlac province.

At the rally in Mendiola, allies of Hacienda Luisita farm workers led by Kilusang Magbubukid ngPilipinas (KMP)and the Katipunan ng mga Samahang Magbubukid ng Timog Katagalugan (Kasama-TK) took turns in berating President Aquino for evading all issues pertaining to agrarian reform during the 50-year old bachelor’s first state address.

“This is official. President Aquino is the ultimate President of Hacienda Republic.He will utilize and mobilize the reactionary and mercenary AFP to protect his family’s land monopolization of Luisita in the name of feudal rule,” said Danilo Ramos, KMP secretary general.

“ He is serving as feudal icon to other hacienda owners who have been resisting agrarian reform beneficiaries demanding land rights and social justice. It is for this reason, why Noynoy is not touching Luisita and other haciendas on his first SONA, and perhaps in his succeeding addresses in the next five years,” the KMP official added.

Ramos further said:”Big hacienda owners are supporting Aquino’s use of state power to protect their unlawful and immoral control on the 6,453 hectare sugar plantation in Tarlac province. The hacienda oligarchs are all happy with Aquino and like the landed family of the President, they don’t want to hear any policy statement on agrarian reform that would benefit landless and land-lacking farmers in the country.”

Kasama-TK secretary general echoed Ramos opinion. “Hacienda Luisita and bigger issues on land reform are intentionally omitted in his 1st SONA because Aquino is politically allergic to discuss Luisita and other Luisita like cases such as the 7,100 hectare Hacienda Yulo controversy in Barangay Canlubang and the 8,650 hectare perpetual land use conversion of prime agricultural land in Hacienda Looc”, he added.

Pinpin said if Aquino really wants to address Luisita and other high profile issues involving haciendas in favor of the land reform beneficiaries through appropriate legislative action, the President could easily send marching orders to Congress to repeal the extended CARPer (CARP with reforms) law and enact GARB or HB 374.

The controversial GARB was re-filed in the first week of July by its main author—Anakpawis party list Rep. Rafael Mariano, a farmer himself and current KMP chair. The re-filed bill was co-authored by the progressive bloc in Congress led by Bayan Muna Reps. Teodoro Casino and Atty. Neri Javier Colmenares, Gabriela Women Party (GWP) Reps. Luzviminda Ilagan and Emmy de Jesus, Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) party list lawmaker Antonio Tinio and Kabataan party list Rep. Raymond Palatino.

The bill if enacted will automatically cover vast landholdings for free land distribution that includes Hacienda Luisita, Hacienda Yulo, Hacienda Looc, scattered thousands of agricultural lands owned by business tycoon Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco, the vast tracts of plantations leased to multinational companies like Del Monte in Mindanao the and the controversial 3,100 hectare Fort Magsaysay in Laur, Nueva Ecija.

“But President Aquino is not listening to the legitimate cry and agrarian demands of Hacienda Luisita farm workers and Hacienda Yulo farmers and this is the real score at the moment. We dare him to come up with a strong presidential instruction urging congressmen from both side of the political equation to certify HB 374 as urgent and necessary, and his first SONA is the right time for this,” the Kasama-TK official added.

According to Kasama-TK, the Southern Tagalog region has become the regional laboratory for land reform reversals, land reform denials and land use conversions since the dictatorial regime offormer President Ferdinand Marcos. Hundreds of thousands of prime agricultural lands have been subjected to automatic control of big landlords and were primed for land use conversions at the expense of land reform beneficiaries and other land tillers across the region,” the group said.

Citing a report filed by Ibon Foundation, the KMP said as of December 2006, DAR has cancelled at least 108,141 CLOAs and Emancipation Patents (EPs) involving 204,579 hectares. CLOA and EP cancellations are increased by 3,790% from 1995 data of 2,780, while land area increased by 1,162% from 16, 213 hectares. Of the cancellations, majority or 87% were due to subdivision of mother-CLOAs into individual CLOAs. It involved about 82% of the lands to 167,486 hectares.#

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Manila’s high court orders review of Luisita case

By Gerry Albert Corpuz, Queen Shawn Dok and Lady Michelle Adobe

MANILA, Philippines-Striking farm workers in Hacienda Luisita and close allies in and out of the 6,453 hectare sugar estate owned by the family of the late President Corazon Cojuangco Aquino welcomed on Monday the order of Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona to have the agrarian row reviewed by the high tribunal.

“The order for review is a welcome news that’s why we are welcoming it. We hope this won’t be the beginning of another false start. We hope this is the beginning of an end to a sugar coated reign and long-running feudal exploitation inside Hacienda Luisita,” the Unyon ng Mga Manggagawa Sa Agrikultura (UMA), the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), the Amihan peasant women federation and the left leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) said in a joint statement in reaction to Chief Justice recent order for a review on the Hacienda Luisita land row case.

Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said the review should end on a positive note with the lifting of temporary restraining order and the high tribunal would decide for an urgent and unconditional free distribution of lands to 10,000 farm worker beneficiaries.

“Chief Justice Corona is lawfully, politically and morally obliged to lead the other 14 justices to decide the Hacienda Luisita case in favor of farm workers and their striving and starving families. Social justice should not be compromise for any kind of political accommodation and elite oriented political reconciliation. I guess this is clear with Corona and the 14 associate justices,” the Pamalakaya leader said.

KMP secretary general Danilo Ramos for his part said it is still a long way to go even if Chief Justice Corona has issued the order. For a fresh start of the Corona led Supreme Court, the peasant leader asked Corona and other justices to put Hacienda Luisita ahead of other unfinished businesses the high court will accomplish this year.

“The case of Hacienda Luisita is the most controversial and the most politically charged case among the cases being reviewed by the high tribunal for judicial disposition. This should be prioritized and should be decided in the name of the collective interest of farm workers in particular and the Filipino public in general,” Ramos added.

Earlier Pamalakaya told the Supreme Court that the 10,000 agrarian reform beneficiaries inside the 6,453-hectare sugar estate owned by the family of President elect Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino were not asking for preferential treatment from the Supreme Court as far as the farm workers legal battle in the high tribunal is concerned.

“Please allow us to correct the Chief Justice, the 14 other justices and the spokesperson of the Supreme Court. The farm workers of Hacienda Luisita are not asking for preferential treatment. What they are asking is social justice based on free distribution of lands which was denied to them for several decades by the feudal aristocracy of Cojuangco-Aquino and their partners in crime in previous administrations,” said Pamalakaya.

The Pamalakaya fisherfolk group is one of the signatories to a letter of appeal sent to Chief Justice Renato Corona last week urging the high tribunal to resolve the Hacienda Luisita land case, as well as other high profile land cases including but not limited to the 7,100 hectare Hacienda Yulo in Calamba City, Laguna and the 8,650 hectare Hacienda Looc in Nasugbu, Batangas.

In 2005, the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC) and former Agrarian Reform Secretary Nasser Pangandaman revoked the SDO scheme due to complaints by members of the Alyansa ng Manggagawang Bukid ng Hacienda Luisita (AMBALA) that it has become disadvantageous for the farmers.

In order to avoid the property from being placed under the land distribution scheme under CARP, the Hacienda Luisita Inc. (HLI) immediately filed a petition before the high tribunal in February 2006 seeking the nullification of the order recalling the SDO agreement between the hacienda owners and 5,498 farmers.

On June 10 farm workers from Hacienda Luisita by UMA and KMP including other supporters and advocates submitted a letter of appeal asking the Supreme Court to act with dispatch and resolve the controversial agrarian case of Hacienda Luisita in favor of agrarian reform beneficiaries.

“Honorable Chief Justice, the Supreme Court ruling favored the sugar barons of Hacienda Luisita and the landed aristocracy of Cojuangco-Aquino. It is in the highest interest of the Filipino people and farm workers of Hacienda Luisita to end this long-running feudal reign and exploitation with the immediate, unconditional and free distribution of Hacienda Luisita to 10,000 farm worker beneficiaries,” the three page letter of appeal stated.

The high court was also asked to look into high profile cases of land reform reversals and big time denials of peasant land rights in Southern Tagalog region.

The farmer groups were referring to the case of farmers in Hacienda Looc involving 8,650 hectare of prime agricultural lands, which was previously placed under land reform program but was reversed by the Department of Agrarian Reform to pave way for real estate projects of Manila South Coast Development Corporation, a sister company of SM Holdings Inc. and Fil-Estate Realty Corporation, and the 7,100 hectare property in Hacienda Yulo in Calamba City, Laguna.

The groups maintained these land reform reversal will lead to the evictions of thousands of families in farming families in Nasugbu, Batangas and Calamba, Laguna and their wholesale displacement from their farmlands and principal source of living.

“Such land reform reversal policy of the state exempting commercial farms and expanding with coverage for exemptions that now include coconut lands has become a long running nightmare for millions of landless farmers and still land seeking farmer beneficiaries across the country”, the groups said. #

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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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Militants slam Noynoy for backing private armies

By Sarsi Pimentel and Cherry de Belen

MANILA, Philippines – The activist fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) assailed on Monday Liberal Party (LP) presidential standard bearer Senator Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III over his position favoring the retention and proliferation of paramilitary forces popularly known as CAFGUs (Citizen Armed Forces Geographical Units) and CVOs (Civilian Volunteer Organizations) to defend communities against communist rebels and Islamic militants.

Aquino, one of the frontrunners in the May 10 presidential election had told Kenneth Roth, executive director of the US-based human rights group Human Rights Watch that paramilitary groups are essential in the fight against the New People’s Army and other armed groups all over the country. The LP presidential standard bearer made the response when asked by Roth on how his administration would deal with private armies, which are established and supported by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

Roth said leading presidential candidates in the May 2010 polls like Aquino lack clear policies on how to solve human rights issues and problems arising from the use and spread of private armies all over the country.

The human rights watchdog was hopeful the next President understands that the issue of private armies is a huge problem and it is something to be tackled as matter of priority adding that it will propose a set of legislative and executive measures to the next administration on how to resolve human rights problems arising from proliferation of private armies.

“We are not surprise with the position taken by Senator Aquino in favor of paramilitary forces. The Cojuangco-Aquino family also formed and availed the services of private armies to keep Hacienda Luisita under feudal and brutal rule. If he wins the presidency in 2010, Noynoy and family will surely revive and strengthen their private armed group in the name of their unlawful and immoral claim on Hacienda Luisita,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap.

Citing the 2009 human rights report filed by Karapatan, Hicap said from January 2001 to December 2009, the Arroyo administration committed grave human rights violations, including but not limited to cases involving 1,188 victims of extrajudicial killings and 205 victims of enforced disappearances, majority of these victims are leftwing activists and critics of the Arroyo government.

Hicap said the CAFGUs and other paramilitary forces and private armies are the traditional partners in crimes of the AFP in terrorizing communities believed to be strongholds of the New People’s Army or under the political influence of militant organizations which the military alleged as fronts of the Communist Party of the Philippines, its armed group- the NPA and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).

On January, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) decision to exempt the Civilian Active Auxiliaries (CAA) from the total gun ban triggered an outrage among human rights activists in the country.

Pamalakaya asserted the Comelec decision is extremely dangerous, politically incorrect and fatally flawed, asserting that these CAAs formerly known as Citizen Armed Forces Geographical Units (CAFGUs) are commissioned as private armies and armed goons by warlord politicians to further their political interests.

The group said poll body’s decision puts a legal blanket to the killing spree and human rights violation activities of paramilitary units, which they perform in accordance with the cruel intention and sinister agenda of the sitting presidency in Malacanang, the pro-Arroyo military clique and their warlord allies.

Pamalakaya said the correct treatment of Comelec in dealing with CAFGUs is to officially disband these paramilitary groups due to their long-running violations of human rights. The group said the tragic lessons drawn from the Nov.23 Maguindanao massacre last year should have compelled poll officials to direct the AFP to permanently dismantle all existing CAFGUs and quit from hiring fresh recruits to avoid if not minimize election related violence.

Pamalakaya said the Maguindanao massacre should compel Aquino and other presidentiables to effectively drop this blueprint for terror and impunity rather than adopt a pro-paramilitary forces policy.

The Comelec said the CAAs are allowed to carry firearms because they are considered units of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, which are exempted from the nationwide gun ban imposed by the poll body during election period.

Under Comelec resolution 8742 made effective last January 11, amending Resolution 8714, the CAFGU was exempted from gun ban along with members of the Presidential Security Group, Bureau of Fire Protection, Optical Media Board, the treasurers and deputy treasurers and members of the Internal Security Division of the Bureau of Treasury.

Prior to Comelec promulgation of Resolution 8714, Rear Admiral Alexander Pama, commander of the Naval Forces Western Mindanao opposed the disarming of CAAs because these paramilitary groups are tapped by fishing companies to secure their venture in the South. For his part, Lt. Gen. Ben Dolorfino, chief of Western Command said as far as the military is concerned, the CAFGUs are part of the military organization and not all CAFGUs are utilized by private companies operating in far flung areas. #

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Manila’s agrarian reform chief asked to act on land disputes involving top 2010 bets

By Sugar Hicap, Bb. Joyce Cabral, Cherry de Belen and Gerry Albert Corpuz

MANILA, Philippines-Striking farmworkers of Hacienda Luisita and affected farmers of the ambitious MRT-7 railway project in San Jose del Monte, Bulacan had coalesced to pressure Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Secretary Nasser Pangandaman to stop the families of Liberal Party presidential and vice-presidential candidates Senator Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III and Senator Manuel Roxas from denying their rights to land and compel them to surrender their unlawful and immoral control over the disputed lands.

In a joint press statement, the Hacienda Luisita based United Luisita Workers Union (ULWU) and Alyansa ng mga Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita (Ambala) and farmers groups affiliated with the activist peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) urged secretary Pangandaman to act on their demands against the “Team Hacienderos” of Aquino and Roxas not later than the May 10, 2010 elections.

ULWU acting president Lito Bais said the farmworkers of Hacienda Luisita are strongly suggesting to DAR to immediately cite the Cojuangco-Aquino family and the Luisita Estate Management (LEM) in contempt of court for violating the status quo order involving the 6,453 hectare sugar estate.

Bais, also the spokesperson of the Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) said the Cojuangco-Aquino clan through LEM has been allowing different interest groups like the Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) to put fences on 200 hectares of sugar lands, allegedly representing debts of the Cojuangco-Aquino family to the banking group.

“Noynoy recently announced that Hacienda Luisita will be distributed to farm workers in the next five years. But based on what his family is doing right now, the Cojuangco-Aquino clan is doing everything to keep control of the hacienda and later sell it to entities that would give them billions of pesos in profits,” the Hacienda Luisita leader added.

Status quo

The status quo order stemmed from the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) issued by the Supreme Court in 2005 after the management of Hacienda Luisita Inc. questioned the revocation of the Stock Distribution Option (SDO) and the decision of the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC) to take over Luisita and have distributed to some 10,000 farmer worker beneficiaries.

The TRO which was applied by HLI management, however, effectively stopped the Cojuangco-Aquino family from pursuing other activities and corporate decisions pertaining to the sugar estate. Reports from ULWU revealed otherwise.

The farmworkers’ group said the Cojuangco-Aquino family has tolerated the terroristic activities of the military and the Army led Civilian Volunteer Organizations (CVOs) under the Northern Luzon Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (Nolcom) whom they said are engaged in covert and overt operations like day-to-day surveillance and harassment of leaders and active members of sugar worker groups inside Hacienda Luisita.

Troops loyal to Arroyo

“Troops loyal to President Arroyo are in Hacienda Luisita to protect the illegitimate claim of Noynoy and his family, and that alone confirms the ongoing unholy alliance between the Arroyos and the Cojuangco-Aquino feudal aristocracy,” Bais added.

Joining the Luisita workers in the camp out at DAR are 120 farmers from Bgy. Tungkong Mangga, San Jose Del Monte City, Bulacan are the KMP affiliates— the Tungkong Mangga Upland Farmers Association, Inc. (TMUFAI), San Isidro Sandigang Samahan ng Magsasaka (SASAMAG) and Samahan ng Magsasaka sa Sitio Dalandanan (SAMAGDA).

“We are urging Mar Roxas to convince his relatives to stop landgrabbing and harassment of farmers in Tungkong Mangga. He wants to be vice-president, he should start put aside the interests of his relatives and put the interests of poor farmers in front,” said Wilfredo Marbella, KMP Deputy Secretary-General.

Tungkong Mangga

“The lands in Tungkong Mangga are being claimed by Araneta Properties, Inc. (now led by Gregorio `Greggy’ Araneta, from the Salvador and Gregorio Araneta lineage), though farmers cultivated the lands for decades. Now, Mr. Palengke Mar Roxas, please help farmers against the harassment imposed by your relatives. The farms at Tungkong Mangga are the source of fruits, vegetables at nearby `palengkes,'” he said.

Tungkong Mangga, particularly Sitio San Isidro, Dalandanan and Ricafort is the site of the 200-hectare intermodal station of the MRT 7. Its main proponent is the Universal LRT Corp. led by Hongkong-based EL Holdings, also composing is the SM Development Corp. of mall-tycoon Henry Sy.

“The lands at Tungkong Mangga are not owned by the Aranetas as they have been foreclosed by Manila Banking Corp. during the Marcos’ dictatorship, who then, used it as collateral to acquire loans from the Central Bank. During the Aquino government, MBC was sequestered as it was owned by Marcos cronies and used ill-gotten wealth on its business. Generally, the lands were paid for the Aranetas by public funds, thus, should be subjected by land reform,” said Marbella.

In 1998, DAR has been preparing for the issuance of Cert. of Land Ownership Awards (CLOAs) to the farmers when the Aranetas have filed petition for exemption. Until now, it has not been processed and currently on the discretion of the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC). The Gregorio Araneta Inc. and Araneta Properties, Inc. are now represented by Gregorio “Greggy” Araneta III as Chief Executive Officer (CEO), the son-in-law of the late dictator Ferdinand MarcosFerdinand Marcos being married to Irene Marcos. They are also relatives of vice-presidential candidate Mar Roxas of the J. Amado Araneta lineage. Moreover, First Gentleman Mike Arroyo is of the clan of Jesus Araneta Lacson de Arroyo of Negros.

“The Araneta Properties, Inc. is chaired by Benito Araneta, a former representative of the PCGG to PhilComSat but was fired by former pres. Estrada due to malversation of funds. He was investigated for plunder in the Senate and sen. Enrile presented proofs of his plunder in the gov’t corporation,” said Marbella.

“Mar Roxas’ relatives are cashing in the lands as SM Dev’t Corp and Universal LRT Corp. are planning another Araneta Center in Tungkong Mangga, composed of a train station, commercial and residential establishments and bus terminal. This is the first stop of our series of protest,” Marbella said. #

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Washington is eyeing Noynoy as new puppet to replace GMA, militants say

By Gerry Albert Corpuz in Manila
and Jayjay Jaiho in Tarlac City

MANILA, Philippines -The 28 national council leaders of the activist fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) currently here in Manila for their annual meeting on Tuesday concluded that White House officials who recently contacted Liberal Party (LP) standard bearer Sen. Benigno Simeon “Noynoy’ Aquino are eyeing the son of former President Corazon Aquino to replace President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as “future US puppet”.

“It appears to us that the administration of US President Barack Obama and the ruling national doctrine syndicate in Washington D.C are in favor of Senator Noynoy Aquino to take over the place to be vacated by outgoing President Arroyo. For White House officials, Noynoy is a willing puppet and submissive political slave compared to Nacionalista Party presidential candidate Manuel Villar and 7 other presidential wannabes,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap in a press statement.

The Pamalakaya leader theorized that Senator Aquino is highly acceptable to US economic and military decision makers and the American officials were convinced that Noynoy will continue to impose the anti-people economic pills like the 12 percent Expanded Value Added Tax (EVAT) as suggested by the presence of former economic managers of GMA in his camp.

Hicap also noted that the Washington sees no problem with Aquino as far as the implementation of brutal counter-insurgency campaign like Oplan Bantay Laya 1 and 2 that resulted to the death of more than 900 political activists and enforced disappearances of more than 200 other activists critical of US interventionist policy in the Philippines.

“The US officials believed Noynoy will carry the same brand of puppetry, brutality and neo-liberal obsession of Arroyo and that makes him the most preferred political animal among the present line of presidential hopefuls in the May 2010 elections,” the Pamalakaya chair added.

Time Magazine

Aquino over the weekend revealed that the US has opened communication lines with his camp. He admitted his party mates had talked to some American officials, including former US Ambassador to the Philippines Kristie Kenny before she was recalled. The LP presidential bet said it was the US officials who initiated the meetings and he had the go-signal for his party mates.

Pamalakaya believed the latest edition of the US owned Time Magazine showing him as its cover boy for the month was part of the build up for the Aquino presidency. “It is Time Magazine and it is part of the mind conditioning and propaganda arm of Washington bigwigs who have sinister agenda and cruel intentions in the Philippines,” the group added.

Rejection becomes Noynoy

The 28 leaders of Pamalakaya today signed an organizational memorandum calling its 43 regional and provincial chapters all over the country to reject the presidential bid of Aquino. Describing Aquino as female version of Arroyo, they said the LP presidential bet is a ruthless person passing himself off as liberal politician and anti-graft crusader.

Pamalakaya stressed Sen. Aquino has a strong tendency to become a full-blown political monster and dictator. The fisherfolk group, a staunch ally of striking farmworkers of Hacienda Luisita said the bloody crimes of LP presidential bet and his landed family in connection with the continuing denial of land rights and injustice committed against Hacienda Luisita agricultural workers are non-negotiable and unpardonable.

The militant group agreed with the observation raised by Jose Maria Sison, founding chair of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) that if Aquino becomes the President, he and the Cojuangco-Aquino clan will use state power to frustrate and suppress the rights of farmworkers in Hacienda Luisita to keep the 6,453-hectare sugar estate under the continuing control of his family.

“As far as we are concerned, Noynoy decided to run for President not to fight corruption in the government but to engage in bigger crimes of corruption, and one these crimes is to maintain their unlawful and immoral claim on Hacienda Luisita,” the militant group said.

Long march

Meanwhile, some 500 farm workers of Hacienda Luisita yesterday kicked off their 5-day long march from Tarlac to Manila to demand the immediate and unconditional free distribution of 6,453 hectare sugar estate to 10,000 farm worker beneficiaries.

Dubbed Lakbayan ng Anakpawis Para sa Lupa at Katarungan (March of the Toiling Masses for Land and Justice) the long march will be spearheaded by Unyon ng Mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA), the Luisita based United Luisita Workers Union (ULWU) and Alyansa ng Mga Manggagawang Bukid ng Luisita (Ambala), Alyansa ng Mga Magbubukid ng Gitnang Luzon (AMGL), Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and Anakpawis party list.

Anakpawis party list secretary general Cherry Clemente said Luisita farmworkers will also demand the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC) to immediately ask the Supreme Court to cite the Luisita management in contempt of court following what she called established machinations of the Cojuangco-Aquino family in Hacienda Luisita despite a standing order from the high court effectively stopping the management from pursuing any kind of development inside Luisita while the temporary restraining order is still in effect and the land dispute is still being resolved by the high tribunal.

Reports reaching Anakpawis headquarters in Quezon City said the Cojuangco-Aquino clan are allowing private groups to put fences inside the hacienda and were convincing the farm workers to stop planting rice and vegetables and resume sugar production. #

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Noynoy as cover of Time Magazine, no big deal—Luisita farmworkers

By Sarah Ann Ago and Bb. Joyce Cabral

MANILA, Philippines- While Liberal Party (LP) presidential candidate Sen. Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III is in cloud nine having been featured as cover of the latest edition of TIME Magazine, farm workers in the 6,453-hectare sugar estate Hacienda Luisita did not give premium to what they called an empty and cheap publicity stunt for the 50-year old presidential wannabe.

“Frankly speaking, this latest escapade of Noynoy appearing as poster boy or pin up boy of Time Magazine is no big deal as far as Hacienda Luisita farmworkers is concerned. All we want is Hacienda Luisita and justice to all victims of Hacienda Luisita massacre six years ago and not copies of Time Magazine. We don’t have the capacity to buy copies of Time Magazines and even if we have some money we would buy food instead of purchasing copies of Time Magazine and view the poker face of this feudal aristocrat. What we want is our land,” said Lito Bais, survivor of the 2004 massacre and acting president of the United Luisita Workers Union (ULWU) an affiliate of Unyon ng Mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA).

The LP standard bearer on Sunday said he was touched by Time Magazine’s decision to put him on the cover of its April 26 issue, adding that the article written about him had challenged to improve the country’s impoverished situation and resolutely fight graft and corruption in the country.

Bais, however, suggested to editors and local correspondents of Time Magazine to cover the 5-day long march of 500 Hacienda Luisita farmworkers which will start from Hacienda Luisita to Manila so they could have a clear picture of Aquino presidency in case the son of former President Corazon Aquino wins the presidential derby on May 10, 2010. The march, which is the second long march for this year regarding Hacienda Luisita, will cover main thoroughfares of Tarlac, San Fernando and Bulacan provinces on their way to the National Capital Region (NCR).

“It is time for Time Magazine to go deeper about the checkered records of Noynoy and his family and their unholy alliance with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo that resulted to the full-blown denial of Hacienda Luisita to farm workers, the massacre of sugar workers and the injury of hundreds of their colleagues and supporters,” Bais stressed.

The activity dubbed Lakbayan ng Anakpawis Para sa Lupa at Katarungan (March of the Toiling Masses for Land and Justice) will be co-organized by Alyansa ng mga Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita (Ambala), UMA, Alyansa ng Mga Manggagawang Bukid ng Gitnang Luzon (AMGL), Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), Amihan peasant women federation, Anakpawis party list and the activist fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya).

Meanwhile, the 28 national council leaders of the 100,000 strong Pamalakaya fisherfolk alliance today signed a political manifesto calling for the rejection of Aquino presidential bid in May 2010 polls.

“For us Senator Aquino is the female version of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. He is a ruthless person passing himself off as a liberal politician and anti-graft crusader. He is anti-GMA reactionary but just the same he and his cabal of own gangsters are certified opportunists,” the group’s manifesto said. .

“Mr. Aquino has this very, very strong tendency to become a full-blown political monster and dictator among the 9 presidential wannabes seeking the highest elective post in the country today,” Pamalakaya chair Fernando Hicap said.

Pamalakaya, a staunch ally of striking farmworkers of Hacienda Luisita said the bloody crimes of LP presidential bet and his landed family in connection with the continuing denial of land rights and injustice committed against Hacienda Luisita agricultural workers are non-negotiable and unpardonable.

“There will be not let up. We will squarely face this ambitious presidential animal and Rated -A opportunist politician even if he becomes the next President. There would be no political honeymoon and every day would be a day of exposition and opposition because Noynoy is Mrs. Arroyo trapped in a man’s body,” the militant group said.

“As far as we are concerned, Noynoy decided to run for President not to fight corruption in the government but to engage in bigger crimes of corruption, and one these crimes is to maintain their unlawful and immoral claim on Hacienda Luisita,” Pamalakaya said.

Pamalakaya noticed the people in Noynoy’s camp were the same people who worked with her mother the late President Corazon Aquino at the time the Aquino administration was setting the stage to place Hacienda Luisita under the controversial Stock Distribution Option (SDO).

“If our memory serves us right, Franklin Drilon was Aquino’s justice secretary and one time her labor secretary, and Mr. Butch Abad was her mother’s agrarian reform secretary. They were instrumental in keeping Hacienda Luisita in the “divine hands” of the Aquino feudal aristocracy. Now the same guys are with him and they are all in one party. Coincidence? We don’t think so and we believe they are really up for something big and extremely cruel,” the militant group said.

Drilon is seeking to comeback in the Senate as one of the candidates of LP, while Abad is part of the campaign machinery of LP standard bearer. Pamalakaya said those working and associated with Noynoy are the same people who flirted with and enjoyed juicy government positions during the first three to four years of the Macapagal-Arroyo administration.

“Majority of those in the Noynoy camp played beautiful music and even performed their roles to the hilt as cabinet members cum apologists of Mrs. Arroyo until they realized that their respective political careers and interests would go to disaster if they remain with the gangster group in Malacanang. They are all opportunists and their basis of unity is not to pursue politics of change but to share power among themselves in case Arroyo is bolted out from power,” the fishers’ alliance added.#

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