A video documentary
on the struggle of the workers and farmers in Haciendia Luisita
Posted: August 14. 2010
OF PIES AND CRUMBS
(OR HOW A FORTUNE CAN
BE A PITTANCE)
Alexander Martin Remollino
20 million pesos
is a pie that could make or break records
...until you break it up for multitudes
of mouths long longing for something to bite --
at which point you find
that each mouth gets nothing more
Photo from The Philippine Daily Inquirer, August 13, 2010.
Thank you, Raffy!
MGA TANONG TUNGKOL SA HACIENDA LUISITA
Tula ni Jose Maria Sison
Kontribusyon sa Kultural na Pagtatanghal
ng Padiriwang ng Ika-25 Anibersaryo
ng Kilusang Pagbubukid ng Pilipinas
Hindi ba korupsyon na ang Hacienda Luisita
Nalipat sa mga kamay ng Cojuangco
Sa paggamit ng dolyar ng Bangko Sentral
Bunga ng impluwensiya ni Ninoy Aquino
At pangakong ipasa sa magbubukid ang lupa?
Hindi ba korupsyon na ang Hacienda Luisita
Iginawan ng paraan ni Cory Cojuangco-Aquino
Para manatili sa kamay ng pamilya
Sa lalang ng maliliit na sapi sa korporasyon
Sa halip ng makatarungang reporma sa lupa?
Hindi ba korupsiyon na ang Hacienda Luisita
Mananatiling gatasan ng mga korporasyong
Magkakamag-anak at magkakasabwat,
Ipagpapatuloy ng tusong Noynoy Aquino
Ang pagbigo ng reporma sa lupa?
Hindi ba paglabag sa karapatang tao
Na sa malaong panahon pinagsamantalahan
Ang mga magbubukid ng Hacienda Luisita,
Binabarat sa tubuhan at sentral ang pasahod
At ginigipit ang palayan at ibang halaman?
Hindi ba paglabag sa karapatang tao
Na sa tuwing pagsisikap na mag-organisa
Ang masang naghihirap sinusugpo,
Walang awang pinapalayas at pinapaslang
Ng mga halimaw sa mataas na burol?
Hindi ba paglabag sa karapatang tao
Ang masaker at mga kasunod ng pagpaslang
Na gawa ng armado ng asyenda at estado
At ang panlilinlang na ang mga biktima
Ang may sala sa pagdanak ng kanilang dugo?
The Cojuangco compromise
by Carol P. Araullo
The so-called compromise agreement announced by the management of the
Cojuangco-owned Hacienda Luisita Inc. (HLI) comes ahead of an upcoming
decision of the Supreme Court on the legality of the Presidential Agrarian
Reform Council (PARC) decision to revoke the 16-year-old stock
distribution option (SDO). The SDO took the place of outright distribution
of land to the hacienda farm workers as mandated by the 1988 Comprehensive
Agrarian Reform Law (CARL).
A close study of the agreement reveals that it does not address any of the
grounds cited by the PARC as to why the SDO is illegal and grossly
inimical to the interests of the farm workers. Worse it allows the
continuation of the SDO under even more onerous terms, lays the ground for
continuing agrarian unrest at the hacienda and provides ample fuel to the
raging agrarian-based armed conflict nationwide.
Land reform at Hacienda Luisita was subverted twice during the
administration of Pres. Corazon Cojuangco-Aquino, herself part-owner of
A 1985 Manila RTC decision ordering the Cojuangcos to turn over control of
the hacienda lands to the Ministry of Agrarian Reform for distribution was
pending at the Court of Appeals. In 1988, the Aquino government filed a
motion to dismiss the civil case against the Cojuangcos on the ground that
Hacienda Luisita would be covered by agrarian reform anyway. The case was
In 1988, the agrarian reform law legislated under the Aquino watch
included the SDO scheme that permitted the distribution of shares of stock
in a corporation dominated by landowners instead of actual land
distribution to farm workers.
In Hacienda Luisita, a referendum was held in 1989 wherein farm workers
were said to have overwhelmingly voted for the SDO. Land reform was thus
effectively circumvented and the Cojuangcos hold on the estate
In 2003, leadership over the two major unions in the hacienda passed on to
the hands of officials who were not beholden to the hacienda owners.
Petitions were filed at the DAR to revoke the SDO because it grossly
failed to improve the lot of the supposed agrarian reform beneficiaries
and in fact, actually worsened it.
In 2004, the joint massive strike by the hacienda farm workers and the
sugar mill workers took place due to the illegal dismissal of 327 farm
workers and a deadlock in the CBA between management and sugar mill
workers union. The violent dispersal of the strikers by soldiers, police
and hacienda security guards caused the death of seven strikers and
injuries to many others.
Prior and subsequent extrajudicial killings of church people, local
government officials and other supporters of the struggling hacienda and
azucarera workers upped the ante by way of human rights violations related
to the hacienda dispute.
National and international condemnation of the massacre and other human
rights violations together with government’s failure to end the oppressive
feudal system holding sway at Hacienda Luisita pushed the Arroyo
government to respond to the farmers’ demand to end the SDO.
DAR undertook a factual investigation and a legal study of the HLI SDO
that resulted in the 2005 PARC resolution revoking it and placing the
hacienda under the compulsory coverage of CARP. However in 2006, the HLI
was able to get a temporary restraining order from the Supreme Court that
kept the DAR and PARC from terminating the SDO.
Even on the basis of DAR and PARC findings alone,
the legal and moral grounds for annulling the SDO are more than
First of all, shares of stock were not distributed
outright to the more than 5000 beneficiaries as provided by law but were
programmed to be parceled out over 30 years on the basis of “man days” or
the number of hours a worker works in a year at the hacienda, something
that was entirely under the discretion and control of management.
If the farm worker had no "man days " for one reason or another, he could
not earn or be issued a share of stocks.
A farm worker who is separated, terminated or dismissed earlier for any
reason will no longer receive any shares of stocks and ceases to be a
On the other hand, management can continue to hire workers as they please
and thereby bloat the number of “stockholders” to their liking, to the
prejudice of the original farm workers in the hacienda.
Secondly, the HLI has not given a single cent of dividends to the farm
workers cum supposed stockholders.
Whatever “added benefits” the farm workers received from HLI, such as the
3% share from gross production and home lots, are in fact not due from the
SDO but from other provisions of the agrarian reform law.
Thirdly, contrary to the provisions of the SDO Memorandum of Agreement
(MOA) to keep the agricultural lands intact and unfragmented, the HLI
management converted 500 hectares for industrial and commercial purposes.
It gave the farm worker-stockholders a pittance for their share in the
sale of this parcel of land. Subsequently more land was disposed of
without benefitting the hacienda workers.
But more than anything else, what is beyond dispute is that the lives of
farm workers and their families did not improve; instead, they were pushed
deeper into poverty and misery by the one-sided SDO.
The so-called new compromise agreement bears all the hallmarks of HLI
management’s manipulation and deception. Apart from questions about
whether the HLI had any right to initiate and preside over such an
agreement when PARC had already revoked the SDO, there is the nagging
question about whether any form of coercion, duress or misrepresentation
attended this management-engineered agreement.
In truth, this “agreement” is so patently against the interests of the
form workers. It upholds the discredited and rejected SDO. It swindles the
farm workers by arbitrarily allotting only one third of the remaining
4,102 hectares of agricultural land for distribution. Furthermore it
deprives the farm workers from ever questioning any violations that may
have happened in the past or may arise in the future in relation to the
1989 SDO MOA.
President “Cory” Aquino, sadly, presided over the emasculation of agrarian
reform and allowed her relatives to take undue advantage of the law’s
loopholes to retain their hold over HLI.
President “Noynoy” Aquino, her son, is today burdened by this odious
legacy, just as he is challenged to set this historical injustice to
His pretense that he has nothing to do with the “agreement” and his
obvious lack of interest in using his vast powers to see social justice
reign in his family’s hacienda exposes his glaring unconcern for the poor
and downtrodden peasantry who make up a majority of the people in this
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MANILA, PhilippinesChurch-backed farmers seeking
the distribution of Hacienda Luisita (HLI) to its tillers said Wednesday
the sugar plantation had become a militarized zone, prompting them to
seek President Benigno Aquino IIIs help in entering his familys estate
to discuss freely a deal offered by h...
By RONALYN V. OLEA
Ulwu chairman Lito Bais said the financial package from Hacienda Luisita
management was meant to lure farm workers into the compromise-agreement
bait. “They exploited the poverty of the farm workers and used money to
deceive them,” he said. Bais also accused the Cojuangco-Aquinos of
“hoodwinking” farm workers of hundreds of millions from earlier land
By RONALYN V. OLEA
Kicked out of farmers’ groups and the workers’ union in Hacienda Luisita,
the two key signatories in the compromise agreement supposedly
representing the farmer beneficiaries have a history of betrayal against
the farm workers and collaboration with the Cojuangco-Aquinos.
By MARYA SALAMAT
Weeks before the management of Hacienda Luisita announced the signing of
the controversial “compromise agreement” with farm workers, the villages
in and around the sugar plantation owned by President Benigno S. Aquino
III and his family were subjected to militarization, the kind that sowed
fear among the residents, particularly those opposed to the stock
Video Sidebar: Military Tries to Intimidate Luisita Farmers
By RONALYN V. OLEA
Jobert Pahilga, lawyer of the farm workers’ group Alyansa ng Manggagawang
Bukid sa Hacienda Luisita (Ambala), enumerates some of the provisions of
the compromise agreement that are inimical to the interest of the farm
Jobert Ilarde Pahilga, the lawyer of Hacienda
Luisita farmers challenging the stock distribution option (SDO) being
implemented in the plantation owned by the family of President Benigno S.
Aquino III, explains in this “video primer” the SDO, why the
Cojuangco-Aquino family was hell-bent on it, why the lives of the farmers
did not improve in spite of it, and why these farmers and peasants are
opposed to it.
Watch the video
(With excerpts from THE CONTINUING
SAGA OF THE FARMWORKERS OF HACIENDA LUISITA by Atty. Jobert Ilarde‐Pahilga,
executive director, Sentro Para sa Tunay na Repormang Agraryo (Sentra)
and campaign officer of National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL)
1957 – Jose Cojuangco
Sr., buys majority shares of the Central Azucarera de Tarlac
(CAT), includingthe 6,453‐hectare Hacienda Luisita from the
Spanish company Compania General de Tabacos de
Filipinas(Tabacalera) through a loan from the Central Bank. The
CAT and hacienda are transferred to Cojuangco’s Tarlac
Development Corporation (TADECO), an agricultural corporation.
May 7, 1980 – Marcos
government files a case against TADECO before the RTC of Manila
specific performance to compel defendants
TADECO, and the heirs of the late Jose Cojuangco, Sr. to turnover
“Hacienda Luisita” to the Ministry of Agrarian Reform for the
purpose of subdivision and sale atcost to “small farmers” or
December 2, 1985 – Manila
RTC renders a decision that orders the Cojuangcos to
transfercontrol of Hacienda Luisita to the Ministry of Agrarian
Reform, which will distribute the land to smallfarmers after
compensating the landowners P3.988 million
March 17, 1988 – the
Cojuangcos elevate the case to the Court of Appeals which was
docketed as CA G.R. 08634. The Solicitor General, CB governor and
the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) file amotion to dismiss
the civil case against the Cojuangcos pending before the Court of
Appeals on theground that Hacienda Luisita would be covered by
May 18, 1988 – Court
dismisses the case against the Cojuangcos
May 9, 1989 – The
landowners, along with then DAR Secretary Philip Juico, Tarlac
governor and themayors of Tarlac City, Concepcion, and La Paz, the
three municipalities covering the hacienda, holdreferendum among
Luisita farm workers to present the SDO. Thereafter, Juico, Tadeco
and HLI signMemorandum of Agreement on the SDO.
May 11, 1989 – HLI is
designated as the SECOND PARTY to which the TADECO has transferred
and conveyed the agricultural portions of Hacienda Luisita and
other farm‐related properties in exchange for shares of stock of
the farm workers
September 1, 1995 – the
Sangguniang Bayan ng Tarlac reclassifies 3,290 hectares of
Hacienda Luisitafrom agricultural to commercial, industrial and
August 14, 1996 – DAR
approves the conversion of 500 hectares of the 3,290 hectares of
reclassifiedLuisita land and has already been converted into the
Luisita Industrial Park
September 28, 2003 –
Elections for farm workers’ and supervisors’ representatives to
the HLI Board ofDirectors only 15.26% of the shares voted thereof.
Around 95% of the farm workers boycotted theelections as a protest
to the SDO and because the four board seats were useless against
October 14, 2003 – the
Supervisory Group of Hacienda Luisita, Inc. files petition before
the DAR torevoke SDO, saying the HLI was not giving them
dividends, their 1% share in gross sales and 33% share in the
proceeds from the conversion of 500 hectares of land. They
likewise cite other violations by the HLI of the MOA and that
their lives have not improved contrary to the promise and the
rationale for the adoption of the SDO.
October 7, 2003 – More
than a thousand farm workers gather to protest the SDO, land‐use
conversion, joblessness at the hacienda
December 4, 2003 – Around
80% of the 5,339 farm workers at the hacienda through their
organization,AMBALA, file a petition to DAR to nullify and rescind
the SDO and to stop land‐use conversion at thehacienda
October 1, 2004 – Illegal
dismissal of 327 farm workers belonging to ULWU
November 6, 2004 –
Members of the Central Azucarera de Tarlac Labor Union (CATLU) and
membersof the United Luisita Workers’ Union (ULWU) simultaneously
stag a strike and block the mill’s Gate1 and Gate 2. The strike
arose from the deadlock in the negotiations for a collective
bargainingagreement (CBA) between CATLU and HLI (HLI).
November 16, 2004 – Violent
dispersal of striking workers leave seven (7) dead, scores were
injured.This has been known as the infamous Hacienda Luisita Massacre
November 22, 2004 – the DAR
issues Special Order No. 789 which called for the strengthening of theTask
Force Stock Distribution Option through the PARC Secretariat
November 25, 2004 – The DAR task
force stock distribution, later renamed Task Force Luisita, convenes for
the first time to discuss the petitions by Luisita supervisors and farm
workers. Prior thereto, HLI filed with the DAR its answer to the
petition/protest filed by the supervisory group.
March 15, 2005 – DAR deploys 10
teams to 10 barangays within the hacienda to conduct focusgroup
discussions with 453 farmers concerning their understanding of SDO, the
supposed benefitsthereof, the home lots and other provisions of the
agreement, their recommendations on the SDO, andto determine whether there
is truth to the allegations of the farm workers that they have been
pusheddeeper into the quagmire of poverty by the SDO and MOA.
July 2005 – Task Force Luisita
submits its report on findings and recommendations to DAR SecretaryNasser
C. Pangandaman especially as regards the investigation conducted on March
August 2005 – Pangandaman creates
a special legal team to review the legal issues in the task force’sreport
September 23, 2005 – DAR special
legal team submits its terminal report on the two petitions, recommending
the revocation of the 16‐year‐old SDO agreement in Hacienda Luisita
December 23, 2005 – PARC issues
Resolution No. 2005‐32‐01 which recalled/revoked the SDO plan ofTADECO/HLI
and placed the lands subject SDO plan under the compulsory coverage scheme
January 3, 2006 – HLI files its
motion for reconsideration of the said resolution
February 2006 – Despite the
pendency of the Motion for Reconsideration it has filed, HLI files
apetition for certiorari and prohibition against the PARC et al., before
the Supreme Court
May 3, 2006 – PARC denies the
motion for reconsideration of HLI
June 2006 – Supreme Court issues
a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) which enjoins PARC andDAR to
implement/execute the resolution revoking the SDO
July 2010 – Supreme Court sets
case for oral arguments
August 3, 2010 – SC moves oral
arguments to Aug. 18
August 6, 2010 – HLI and
unauthorized representatives of AMBALA and ULWU sign compromise agreement
August 11, 2010 – HLI submits
compromise agreement to Supreme Court for its approval
a movie on agrarian unrest. It was shown only for a day in 1976 because
the dictator Marcos banned it. Government operatives confiscated the
tapes. It was only years after EDSA II that it was available for public
The Man with the Hoe
(Written after seeing Millet's world-famous painting)
Bowed by the weight of centuries he leans
Upon his hoe and gazes on the ground,
The emptiness of ages in his face,
And on his back the burden of the world.
Who made him dead to rapture and despair,
A thing that grieves not and that never hopes,
Stolid and stunned, a brother to the ox?
Who loosened and let down this brutal jaw?
Whose was the hand that slanted back this brow?
Whose breath blew out the light within this brain?
Is this the Thing the Lord God made and gave
To have dominion over sea and land;
To trace the stars and search the heavens for power;
To feel the passion of Eternity?
Is this the Dream He dreamed who shaped the suns
And marked their ways upon the ancient deep?
Down all the stretch of Hell to its last gulf
There is no shape more terrible than this --
More tongued with censure of the world's blind greed --
More filled with signs and portents for the soul --
More fraught with menace to the universe.
What gulfs between him and the seraphim!
Slave of the wheel of labor, what to him
Are Plato and the swing of Pleiades?
What the long reaches of the peaks of song,
The rift of dawn, the reddening of the rose?
Through this dread shape the suffering ages look;
Time's tragedy is in that aching stoop;
Through this dread shape humanity betrayed,
Plundered, profaned and disinherited,
Cries protest to the Judges of the World,
A protest that is also prophecy. ►
O masters, lords and rulers in
Is this the handiwork you give to God,
This monstrous thing distorted and soul-quenched?
How will you ever straighten up this shape;
Touch it again with immortality;
Give back the upward looking and the light;
Rebuild in it the music and the dream;
Make right the immemorial infamies,
Perfidious wrongs, immedicable woes?
O masters, lords and rulers in all lands,
How will the Future reckon with this Man?
How answer his brute question in that hour
When whirlwinds of rebellion shake the world?
How will it be with kingdoms and with kings --
With those who shaped him to the thing he is --
When this dumb Terror shall reply to God,
After the silence of the centuries?
Tenant farm worker Maia receives her P282 from the
Hacienda Luisita assistance package,
Hacienda owner Benigno Aquino III receives his first
paycheck as President of the Philippines.