#OccupyLuisita will mark start of farmers’ action to reclaim lands
Tarlac City – More than a thousand Luisita farmworkers, agrarian reform beneficiaries and supporters successfully occupied portions of the fenced farmlands in Barangay Balete. The militant assertion coincides with the fifth year commemoration of the Supreme Court’s final and executory decision to distribute the 6,453 hectares to farmer-beneficiaries.
Early this morning, farmworkers marched to the fenced lands in Barangay Balete and started to break down the fortified concrete barriers of the RCBC property that was illegally converted and sold by the Cojuangco-Aquinos’ Tarlac Development Corporation (TADECO) to the Yuchengcos, days after the heinous Hacienda Luisita massacre.
The said are part of the ‘bungkalan’ or collective cultivation area previously tilled by farmworkers before the RCBC fenced the property in 2013. “This is just the start of our actions to reclaim our farmlands. We have demolished the walls — the symbol of the Cojuangco-Aquinos’ land grabbing and terror in Luisita,” said Rudy Corpuz, secretary of the Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid sa Asyenda Luisita (AMBALA).
“For decades, we were barred from entering our farmlands. Private security guards of the RCBC destroyed our crops and harassed our leaders and members. The former DAR under Virgilio delos Reyes implemented the bogus tambiolo land reform raffle. The Lorenzos of Mindanao invested in Central Azucarera de Tarlac and continue to exploit sugar mill workers and sacadas. We are fighting back again. It is our right and duty to defend our right to the land and reclaim what is rightfully ours,” Corpuz said.
“We will continue to assert free land distribution through local peasant struggles, the passage of a genuine agrarian reform program and the approval of a Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER) between the National Democratic Front of the Philippines and the government,” says Antonio Flores, secretary general of the KMP.
The #OccupyLuisita activity is part of a series of land occupation and land cultivation activities nationwide in the escalating agrarian struggles asserting genuine land reform. #OccupyLuisita is supported by militant organizations led by Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, Unyon ng Manggagawa sa Agrikultura and Bagong Alyansang Makabayan. ###