10th year of Hacienda Luisita Massacre
“Muster the strength, repeat people’s strike,” Luisita farmers urged
On the eve of the tenth year of the infamous Hacienda Luisita massacre, the militant peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) has called on the farmers and farmworkers to “muster the strength and repeat the people’s strike in Hacienda Luisita” saying “the conditions that triggered the November 2004 peasant uprising remain and even worsened.”
KMP chair Rafael Mariano said that “the Cojuangcos’ continuing control over the lands despite the Supreme Court’s decision to distribute the hacienda makes justice far more elusive for the victims and survivors of Hacienda Luisita massacre.”
In a political manifesto issued on the eve of the massacre’s commemoration, the KMP said “ten years after the bloody massacre, all legal remedies, the dependence on the law, have been exhausted.”
“In fact, the Supreme Court even decided in favor of farmers and farmworkers by nullifying the SDO in Hacienda Luisita. However, the April 2012 decision of the highest court of the land was ignored, and worse, subverted by the Cojuangco-Aquinos,” the KMP said.
To muster the strength, the KMP said “it is necessary to build the solid organization and unwavering strength of the peasants and the farmworkers …to persistently confront the landlord Cojuangco-Aquinos.”
“It is a political necessity to strengthen the broad alliance of peasants, farmworkers, and the people of the hacienda towards another rightful and just people’s strike in Hacienda Luisita to end the Cojuangco-Aquinos’ control over the lands and the achieve genuine land reform,” the peasant group said.
The KMP noted that “the landlord President and the entire Cojuanco-Aquino clan utilized all state machineries and used various legal and political maneuvers to continuously deprive farmers and further strengthen landlord control over the lands.”
The KMP also assailed what it described as “connivance” between the DAR and the Cojuangcos on issues ranging from the Cojuangcos’ list of beneficiaries; reduction of the size of the land for “distribution” from the original 6,453 hectares to 4,099 hectares; the land-use conversion; and the corruption of P471.5 million under the guise of just compensation that was sourced from the controversial and corruption-driven Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).
“In collusion with DAR and through the bogus CARP, the Aquino government destroyed the farmers’ collectivebungkalan. Enforced upon the hacienda is DAR’s scheme of “distribution” through lottery or tambiolo land reform. The DAR imposed upon the farmers the sugar block farm scheme to maintain sugarcane production and ensure that farmers remain as waged farm labor. Furthermore, the DAR allows and tolerates agents hired by the Cojuangcos for the aggressive expansion of the arriendo system in Hacienda Luisita,” it said.
“These maneuvers by DAR are devious and divisive, with a sole purpose of maintaining the Cojuangcos control and further dominance over the land,” the KMP said adding: “The DAR shamelessly disqualified 125 legitimate peasants and farmworker beneficiaries who oppose and resist the brazen maneuvers of the Cojuangco-Aquinos and Aquino’s government.”
“On top of these maneuvers, militarization, violence and abuse of rights of the farmworkers further intensified in Hacienda Luisita. The Northern Luzon Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines is positioned at the very gates of the Hacienda and stationed within are different units of the military, police and paramilitary including the 3rd Mechanized Infantry Battalion of the AFP, the Tarlac Provincial Police, private security guards, and the Cojuangcos’ “Yellow Army” who are wreaking havoc and perpetuating fear and violence against the people of the hacienda,” it said.
The KMP manifesto elucidated that “the exhaustion of all legal remedies further validates the fact that it is not in the legal courts and agencies controlled by landlords that justice will be achieved.”
“The Cojuangcos will never voluntarily surrender Hacienda Luisita… The real arena of struggle lies inside Hacienda Luisita and between the State of big landlords and the struggling people,” it said.
“There is a need for the farmers and the farmworkers to prepare for a long and cruel battle. The farmers and the farmworkers of Hacienda Luisita must link arms with the broad movement to oust Aquino, the chief political representative of the Cojuangco-Aquinos and the entire landlord and comprador bourgeoisie class,” the statement added.###