Hacienda Luisita farm workers defy management memo over land occupation and cultivation,

remember the Hacienda Luisita massacre of 2004

 

Arkibong Bayan archived webpages:

The Hacienda Luisita Massacre

 

Bonus Tracks:

Photos/Video: Unprovoked carnage at Hacienda Luisita, Nov. 16, 2004

 

Mendiola

 

November 6, 2009

 

 

 
5 years ago: Massacre at Hacienda Luisita

 

On Nov. 6, 2004, farm workers went on strike and demanded the reinstatement of some 327 unionists, including nine union leaders, who were fired ten days earlier by the management of the hacienda and the sugar mill --Central Azucarera de Tarlac (CAT)

 

The agricultural labor leader recalled that Labor Secretary Patricia Sto. Tomas ordered the violent dispersal of striking farmworkers on Nov.16 on behalf of the Cojuangco family through the much abused pro-landlord and pro-capitalist tool known as Assumption of Jurisdiction (AJ). Bais said the order was echoed by spokesperson of Hacienda Luisita management to justify the bloody massacre as a "legitimate exercise of state power," saying the work stoppage was "illegal and left-inspired.

 

---- UNYON NG MGA MANGGAGAWA SA AGRIKULTURA (UMA) Press Release

 

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Photos courtesy of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP)
     
     
     
           

 

UNYON NG MGA MANGGAGAWA SA AGRIKULTURA (UMA)
Press Release
November 6, 2009

For Reference: Roy Morilla, KMP information officer
Contact No. 09074180098

IN GOOD TERMS THEN WITH COJUANGCOS
GMA gave blessing to massacre five years ago, says Hacienda Luisita supporters

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was principally liable to the bloody carnage in Hacienda Luisita that left 7 striking workers dead, injured 200 others and the arrest of 120 farm workers and activists on November 16 five years ago.

"Remember Mrs. Arroyo and the Cojuangcos were the best of friends then. In the defense of a political ally, President Arroyo mobilized 1,000 government troops and cops to quell the legitimate strike and pursued the campaign of annihilation in the name of the Cojuangcos and in the name of its rabid anti-Left campaign and incorrigible national security doctrine," said Lito Bais, spokesperson of Unyon ng Mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) and acting president of United Luisita Workers Union (ULWU).

Bais said the Hacienda Luisita massacre was a political accommodation and political reward for the Cojuangcos for supporting President Arroyo's assumption to the presidency in 2001 and her reelection bid in 2004, before the two political clans parted ways in 2005 when the Hello Garci election fraud scandal rocked the Arroyo administration.

The agricultural labor leader recalled that Labor Secretary Patricia Sto. Tomas ordered the violent dispersal of striking farmworkers on Nov.16 on behalf of the Cojuangco family through the much abused pro-landlord and pro-capitalist tool known as Assumption of Jurisdiction (AJ). Bais said the order was echoed by spokesperson of Hacienda Luisita management to justify the bloody massacre as a "legitimate exercise of state power," saying the work stoppage was "illegal and left-inspired.

On Nov. 6, 2004, farm workers went on strike and demanded the reinstatement of some 327 unionists, including nine union leaders, who were fired ten days earlier by the management of the hacienda and the sugar mill --Central Azucarera de Tarlac (CAT).

This morning, some 50 supporters of Hacienda Luisita farmworkers identified with the activist peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and Anakpawis party list trooped to Mendiola Bridge in Manila to begin the 10-day commemoration of the Hacienda Luisita massacre.

KMP secretary general Danilo Ramos and Anakpawis secretary general Cherry Clemente led activists in lighting candles, offered prayers and delivered fiery speeches in the memory of Hacienda Luisita massacre victims.

Both leaders declared that Hacienda Luisita belongs to Hacienda Luisita farm workers and that is about time the Cojuangco family relinquish the hacienda to the collective and effective control of farm workers.

The KMP and Anakpawis leaders told Sen. Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino, standard bearer of the Liberal Party in the 2010 presidential elections and son of the late former President Corazon Aquino should accept the fact that historically and lawfully, the Hacienda Luisita which his family refused to yield to farmworkers belongs to the collective ownership of hacienda workers and its transfer to farm workers is nearly a century overdue.

"Sen. Aquino should learn the history of Hacienda Luisita and stop making the usual run-around. It is time for the Aquino family to say goodbye to the sprawling 6,453 hectare sugar estate that does not really belong them and was acquired through dubious, manipulative and coercive means," both said in a joint statement.

On December 18, 2008, the Hacienda Luisita Management signed by Hernan M. Gregorio, Jr. -- assistant Estate Manager of HLI imposed a deadline to farm workers that they only have up to October 30, 2009 to harvest and finish all land cultivation activities inside the hacienda. But later the management denied that such eviction order exists, and clarified that was issued was an order asking farmworkers to enlist on or before Nov.15 for proper identification of Hacienda Luisita workforce and agrarian reform beneficiaries.

In response to the Oct. 30 deadline, some 50 supporters of Hacienda Luisita farm workers issued their own cease and desist order against the management and delivered their notice to the Cojuangco business building in Makati City.

In their two-page cease and desist order, KMP and UMA declared the Hacienda Luisita Oct.30 deadline null and void, immoral, unlawful and fatally flawed.

Hacienda Luisita has been under stock distribution scheme since the implementation of CARP in 1991 during the Aquino administration, which the groups said superficially, classified the farmer-beneficiarie s as "stock-holders. KMP and UMA said the SDO commenced with the massive land use conversion (LUCs) that left only about 3,200 hectares of agricultural lands from the original 7,500 hectares in 1958. #
 

     
     
           
     
     
     

 

Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA)
Email ad uma_pilipinas@yahoo.com.ph Telefax 434-6957
United Luisita Workers' Union (ULWU)
Alyansa ng Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita (AMBALA)
October 29, 2009

Press Release

Reference: Lito Bais, Acting Chairperson, United Luisita Workers Union
Felex Nacpi, Chairperson, AMBALA

Hacienda Luisita farm workers defy management memo over land occupation and cultivation. Calling for the October 30, 2009 deadline to be scrap!

Farm workers turned farmers announced that they are vowed to defy the October 30, 2009 deadline given by the Cojuangco owned Hacienda Luisita Incorporated mangement ordering them to stop cultivating the lands which they have fought and won after the infamous November 16, 2004 Hacienda Luisita massacre which took the lives of seven farm workers and leaving hundreds wounded and illegaly arrested.

According to Lito Bais, Acting ULWU president, "We have tasted the fruit of our hard endeavour. Through the initiative of the organization to assert the occupation of once sugar cane field land but now it was turned into rice field and vegetables plots. Farm workers are now able to cultivate lands given by the orgnization with out having fear that the management will destroy their plants unlike in the old days before the strike, we re prohibited to grow plants even in our own backyards. Because of this, we are forced to secretly grow vegetable plants inside the sugar cane plantations to add on our measely salary".

"While we experience hardships because of the inability if not neglegence on the part of the management to give what is due for us, we manage to organized our ranks in every baranggay, talking to members, local officials and even ordinary people who witnessed how the Cojuangco family treated us farm workers. Disregard our rights to decent wages, benefits and tenure. That is why we are pushed to the limit of these injustice that we say it is enough" Bais added.

Hacienda Luisita boasted a 5000 hectares of vast track land where sugar canes are produced dating back in the Spanish colonial rule in the Philippines. In the 1950's, through the loans from the Manufacturers' Trust Company of New York and the approval of the Central Bank of the Philippines, Jose Cojuangco Sr, bought Hacienda Luisita from then spanish owned TADECO providing that after ten years, Cojuangco Sr, would give the Luisita holdings back to the farm wokers.

Apparently decades past, the Cojuangco's failed its part of the brgain to give the lands to the farm workers until the deposed of Marcos. And when Cory Aquino clinged to power, she allowed to insert a provision of then CARP the Stock Distribution Option [SDO] that instead of an actual land distribution, the Department of Agrarian Reform [DAR] issued stock to farm workers of Hacienda Luisita leaving the said state untap for the beneficiaries to finally used.

Then the crisis reached its peak when the management rejected the newly installed officers of United Luisita Workers Union [ULWU] and the Central Azucarera de Tarlac Labor Union [CATLU] leaving no room for negotiation. On November 6, 2004 they started their picket-protest in front of the refinery plant. Until the afternoon of November 16th arrived, when the combined police and military forces took a further step and violently dispersed.

"Until today not a single military, police or even government official have been punished, we filed both on criminal and administrative charges againts the main perpetrators but the turtle trot process seems going nowhere" lamented Felex Nicpa, chairperson of Alyansa ng Manggagawang Bukid sa Hacienda Luisita [AMBALA].

He also said that, "And after the gruesome event, some of the Hacienda Luisita supporters were murdered, namely CATLU president Ricardo Ramos, city councilor Abel Ladera, Fr. William Tadena, Marcellino Beltran of Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Tarlac [AMT], Iglesia Filipina Indepiniente Bishop Ramonte while a Ronald Intal, a cultural youth leader is still missing to this day. The cry for justice still howls every inch of land that have been drenched in blood poured by Hacienda Luisita martyrs and their supporters, even it continues to elude us, we are never going to get tired looking for it " Nicpa added.

Under the initiative of ULWU, they started to occupied lands on every baranggay to plant crops like palay and vegetables. The "Bungkalan" [collective farming] as they called it, spread like a wild fire occupying almost half of Luisita's sugar cane plantation.

"As of now, more or less 2000 hectares of farm land had been converted to rice fields and vegetable farms, though we have to learn more how to plant rice to produced a maximum output but through the collective effort of the farm workers and the orgnization we can reach that goal. And also through "bungkalan" we consolidate our members in every baranggay which strengthen our organization as well as motivate them to further support palay and vegetables planting contrary to the management's propaganda that the people wants to plant sugar cane again" Bais disclosed

In addition Bais said that "No one inside Hacienda Luisita wants to plant sugar cane anymore, there are few who attempting to lure our masses to lease their lands to plants sugar cane but we are trying our best to dissuade them to do it, certainly this another tactics of the management to divide our ranks and push their way again for sugar cane planting and grab hold our victory.

" Now that the election is fast coming approach, we are challenging all the presidential hopefulls specially to NoyNoy Aquino, if he's intention is to serve the country, let he begin it in his own backyard that and distribute the land of Hacienda Luisita to the farm workers" Bais concluded.

 

     
     
     
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PRESS RELEASE
October 29, 2009
REFERENCE:
ROY MORILLA, KMP Public Information Officer (63-907-418-0098)

Hacienda Luisita farmers to defy Cojuangcos' October 30 deadline,
Noynoy should convince family to distribute lands

The militant Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP, Peasant Movement of the Philippines) is on all-out support to Hacienda Luisita farmers and gearing up for an intensified dispute as Cojuangco family's deadline for them to cultivate the lands, October 30 nears. The United Luisita Workers' Union (Ulwu) and Alyansa ng Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita (Ambala) is beefing up its forces as they anticipate displacement measures of the Hacienda Luisita, Inc.

October 30 deadline

"We are on-call starting today as October 30 nears. It is the deadline set by the Hacienda Luisita, Inc. (HLI) on their letter to the agri-workers dated December 18, 2008 for them to leave the lands inside the hacienda. We believe that this letter is immoral, unjust and illegal as the case of Hacienda Luisita is at the Supreme Court, which means, they have no right to implement such order," said KMP Secretary-General Danilo Ramos in a press conference today in Quezon City.

The letter signed by a certain Hernan M. Gregorio, Jr., claiming to be Assistant Estate Manager of HLI said that by the said deadline, farmers could have recover the costs they invested in cultivating the lands. On the contrary, Ulwu and Ambala members have affirmed of no plans of discontinuing cultivation and said that the Cojuangcos' only cling to the lands is a desperate Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) issued by the Supreme Court against the order of the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC) and Dept. of Agrarian Reform (DAR) revocating the Stock Distribution Option (SDO).

"The only obvious measure that has come out of the Hacienda Luisita struggle is the immediate and free distribution of lands to the agri-workers," added Ramos.

Stock Distribution Option (SDO) caused poverty to agri-workers

Hacienda Luisita has been under SDO since the implementation of CARP in 1991 during President Corazon Cojuangco-Aquino's regime which superficially classified the farmer-beneficiaries as "stock-holders." History has shown that the Cojuangcos' have no plans of distributing the lands to agri-workers instead they have commenced with the massive land use conversion (LUCs) that left only about 3,200 hectares of agricultural lands from the original 7,500 hectares in 1958.

The Cojuangcos have implemented LUCs without consultation to "co-owners" farmer-beneficiaries, which led to the construction of Luisita Golf and Country Club, Las Haciendas Industrial Subdivision, Luisita Industrial Farm, Family Park Homes Subdivision, Don Pepe Cojuangco Subdivision, St. Luis Subdivision, a 500-hectare Central Techno Park and 66 hectare for Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (Sctex).

"Stock Distribution Option (SDO) has been proven clearly to be useless for the agri-workers of Hacienda Luisita. It has caused poverty and misery, such as the daily take-home pay of P9.50. Thus, SDO and the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) has been futile against the Cojuangcos' landlord control of the lands," said Ramos.

As massive LUCs reduced lands to be worked on by agri-workers, workload or man-days have been reduced and massive retrenchment and forced retirements have been implemented by HLI. As the economic well-being of the agri-workers are threatened by Cojuangcos' management, they were compelled to launch a full-size strike on November 6, 2004 and followed the Hacienda Luisita massacre on November 16 which killed 7 striking agri-workers.

"There is no question the CARP which is now CARP Extension with `Reforms' (Carper) has betrayed the agri-workers and veered away from genuine land reform. Thus, Hacienda Luisita agri-workers are calling for the immediate and free distribution of lands and the junking of Carper which we believe would be used by the Cojunagcos' to displace agri-workers," said Ramos.

"The HLI letter was dated December 18 last year, which we believe prepared in anticipation of the passage of Carper, instead Congress passed the Joint Resolution No. 1. While Carper was signed by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on August 7, we believe that the Cojuangcos' would revive coverage of the Hacienda Luisita lands to escape distribution," Ramos said.

Challenge to Noynoy

The group is also demanding Sen. Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III to act decisively in favor of the agri-workers. Sen. Aquino has claimed that he has only 1/32 control of the HLI and hinted that his family would "leave" the hacienda.

"As of now, we are still waiting for Sen. Aquino to do the right thing, which is to convince his family to distribute the lands to the legitimate owners, the agri-workers who developed it. As he is running for president, being indecisive and favoring his family's vested interest are not of the qualities the Filipino people would want for a president, actually the people would hate that," said Ramos.

KMP also reminded that there is still no justice for the victims of the Hacienda Luisita massacre. To date, the Cojuangcos were involved in two historical massacres killing Filipino peasants calling for genuine land reform, the first was the Mendiola Massacre on January 22, 1987 during President Aquino's term.

"Sen. Aquino is facing a heavy roadblock on the issue of Hacienda Luisita, his inaction on the issue of land and justice would totally lead to his loss on the presidential elections. The issue of Hacienda Luisita would not wither away, he should act determined and for the interest of the poor peasants, actually the whole country even the world is on watch on the issue," said Ramos.

Hacienda Luisita Massacre anniversary

KMP with Ulwu, Ambala and Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (Uma) would be commemorating the anniversary of the Hacienda Luisita massacre on November 16. They would be launching a series of action, set off by a protest action at the Jose Cojuangco and Sons Building in Makati on October 30, to oppose the issued deadline for the agri-workers. This would be followed by another protest action in Mendiola on November 6, to call for the junking of Carper and condemn the Arroyo administration for inaction on the issue. On November 16, the group would join to the thousand-strong caravan headed for Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac.

"Hacienda Luisita is a classic model of landlessness in the country, also of the determined struggle of peasants for genuine land reform, thus, we are calling on all sectors to support the struggle of agri-workers. Social justice and fundamental reform in Hacienda Luisita would precede reforms in the country," called Ramos.#

 

     
     
     
           
     
     
     

BONUS TRACKS

Arkibong Bayan posting of November 2004

5 years later: Nobody has been punished for the massacre of 14 strikers

     

 

Unprovoked Carnage at Hacienda Luisita

 

Photos, Video Clips and Statements

 

November 16, 2004

 

     
     
     
     
     
   
   
   
   
   
   
Press Releases and Statements
           
Appeal from the Unions Fact Sheet Gabriela statement
           
KMU Statement PCPR statement Petition for Support
           
Unprovoked Carnage Statement of the CPP CONTEND Statement
           
           

Video Clips

Courtesy of Tudla Video Group

           
Shooting - Part 1 Shooting - Part 2
           
Injured and Wounded - Part 1 Injured and Wounded - Part 2
           
           

Video Grabs from the TV  broadcasts

           
The Labor Secretary Won't Resign Shot and beaten
           
Giving the lie to the paraffin test Shooting the strikers
           
Who fired the shots? Battling the Simba Tank
           
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