Militant groups in Central Visays hold picket rally
marking the 5th anniversary of the Hacienda Luisita Massacre
Camp Sergio Osmeña, Sr., PNP, Cebu City
November 16, 2009
BONUS TRACKS: Doves and Bungkalan
|Photos courtesy of AMA-Sugbo-KMU and BAYAN-CV|
October 30, 2009
Hacienda Luisita, Inc. (HLI)
Jose Cojuangco and Sons Building
119 Dela Rosa Street
Salcedo Village, Makati
GREETINGS OF GENUINE LAND REFORM!
This is in connection with your letter, Hacienda Luisita, Inc. signed by Hernan M. Gregorio, your Assistant Estate Manager, to the agri-workers ordering them to discontinue and desist in cultivating the lands starting October 30, 2009 (attached). We, from the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA), the national union center of United Luisita Workers’ Union (ULWU) and supporter of Alyansa ng Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita (AMBALA) would like to inform you that we do not recognize the said notice and we see that it is unjust, immoral and illegal as the issue is at the Supreme Court and the only cling of your company and the Cojuangco clan to the disputed lands is a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) issued by the high court.
We are also demanding your company to cease and desist in implementing measures that are obviously to sow confusion among the agri-workers in Hacienda Luisita, such as a notice (attached) from Luisita Estate Management, dated October 16, 2009, requiring those who cultivate to register at your office in light of “equal opportunities” to the agri-worker beneficiaries. We view that your office has no right to execute such measure and you have no legal basis to do so. In connection, we insist that you pull-out the military at the hacienda which is obviously in preparation of the execution of your order.
It is also unquestionable and undeniable that the Stock Distribution Option (SDO) of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) implemented since 1991 to 2004 has caused the immense poverty and hardships to the agricultural workers who are supposedly co-owners of HLI.
Your company has implemented massive land use conversions (LUCs) without the consultation of agri-workers. The 7,500-hectare lands in 1958 were reduced to 3,200 hectares of agricultural lands. You commenced with 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). Hacienda Luisita, Inc. has earned income from converting lands that the agri-workers legitimately own.
Actually, SDO and CARP has compelled the agri-workers to launch their legitimate strike in November 6, 2004. In November 16, your efforts to dismantle the picket line has massacred 7 confirmed deaths of striking agri-workers.
Thus, the issue of Hacienda Luisita was put on public eye which garnered support from different sectors of society and even from international groups. The call for the junking of SDO and for legitimate rights of agri-workers has continued and resulted into the revocation by Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC) and Dept. of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to revocate SDO.
The agri-workers of Hacienda Luisita has struggled for Genuine Land Reform and they are now harvesting the fruits of their sacrifices. We, together with other sectoral groups are in full support of their struggle. Your company has no right to obstruct the implementation of fundamental reforms and realization of social justice led by the agri-workers. Also, this November 16 would be the 5th anniversary of Hacienda Luisita, thus, we join the agri-workers on their call for justice.
We are also conveying our message to your co-owner and relative Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III who is aspiring to be president on the 2010 presidential elections. If he is truly aspiring to be president, it is just reasonable that he should banner the interest of poor and powerless Filipinos and not the rich and powerful. His decisions on Hacienda Luisita would reflect his decisions on the country’s concern. We are in active watch of his actions on the issue of Hacienda Luisita.
Hence, we reiterate our demands from your office to cease and desist in issuing orders such as your letter dated December 18, 2008 and October 16, 2009. We also caution your office in militarizing the hacienda which would definitely lead to more human rights abuses and deaths.
We are hoping that you would find light in your hearts to submit to the legitimate calls of the agri-workers. Thank you very much.
For Genuine Land Reform,
said, however, that the most gratifying indicator of the caravan’s success
is the reaction of the people in Luisita. “Despite continued repression
and harassment, despite the costs of travelling which is already too steep
for them, and despite the scorching heat, more than a thousand people from
Luisita greeted us,” said Ustarez.
the forefront of their ranks were the families of the victims of the
massacre. Everywhere we went in the hacienda, people were raising their
clenched fists in solidarity, waving and smiling at us, and offering their
homes to caravan participants. We saw people young and old in a very
ecstatic mood,” added Ustarez.
20 November 2009
KMU said “with its latest decision, the Aquino family has reaffirmed its commitment to preventing agrarian reform from taking place in Luisita.
This, despite the fact that it has imposed a deadline for the eviction of farmers and is conducting an enlistment, which it claims is about knowing the genuine beneficiaries of land reform in the hacienda.”
Reference: Lito Ustarez, Executive Vice President, 0908-6491992
Doves and Bungkalan
◄ Doves were released during the mass for the victims of the Hacienda Luisita massacre. This dove flew out but returned to land into the clenched fist of an activist.
Photo courtesy of KARAPATAN/dj
|PHoto courtesy of dj|
After tje bloody dispersal the farmworkers started converting sugar land into land cultivated to rice, vegetables and other crops to earn their livelihood and keep their families alive. As of this time, about 2,000 hectares have been cultivated. Last December, the Hacienda Luisita management issued a memo requiring farmworkers to return the land to management, with Oct. 20 and then Nov. 15 as deadline. Nobody complies.
Photos by KMP/rm