Picket rally at NOLCOM HQ    ■ Mural    No trespassing on tenants' own property
 
  Tree Planting    Typhoon TADECO   Forum on Fact-finding Report 

 

November 14-18, 2013

 

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Photos by AMBALA-UMA and Arkibong Bayan, as indicated
           
     
Picket at NOLCOM HQ Camp Servillano Aquino, Nov. 16, 2013
     

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Hacienda Luisita Fact-Finding Mission: Conclusions & Recommendations
November 19, 2013 at 8:41am

From the 40-page report "For Land and Justice: The Continuing Agrarian Struggle in Hacienda Luisita." For copies, please contact the Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA)
Tel: (02) 4269442 or 09087624520
email: uma.pilipinas@gmail.com

twitter: @UMApilipinas


The Hacienda Luisita National Fact-Finding Mission (NFFM) spearheaded by the Unyon ng Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA, Federation of Agricultural Workers), its local affiliate Alyansa ng mga Manggagawang-Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita (AMBALA, Hacienda Luisita Farmworkers Alliance) and the Office of Anakpawis Party-list Representative Fernando Hicap, was launched to verify reports of fraud, militarization and new cases of landgrabbing before, during and after the Department of Agrarian Reform’s (DAR) land distribution activities in Hacienda Luisita, a vast sugar estate in Tarlac province controlled by the family of President Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Cojuangco Aquino III.

The mission was capped by the violent and unlawful arrest of 11 of its delegates: Anakpawis Rep. Fernando Hicap and his Congress and National Headquarters staff members Karl Mae San Juan, Rene Blasan, Kerima Acosta and Danilo Ramos, Anakpawis spokesperson and former secretary-general of KMP; Tanggol Magsasaka volunteer Sister Patricia Fox, cultural worker Ericson Acosta, KARAPATAN volunteer Ronald Matthew Gustilo, and Luisita residents Angelina Nunag, Luz Versola of local youth group SAKDAL, and Florida “Pong” Sibayan, acting chairperson of AMBALA. The arrest was undertaken by elements of the Tarlac City police on orders of the Cojuangco-Aquino firm Tarlac Development Corporation (TADECO).

Conclusions

1. Luisita sugar farmworkers & their families are no ordinary “beneficiaries” of land reform. They posses all the moral, historical & legal rights to the land which the Cojuangco-Aquino clan has ruthlessly denied them for decades. Their demand for FREE LAND DISTRIBUTION is a just call that must be granted.

The Cojuangco-Aquino clan acquired the estate through loans from the government in 1957. After so many decades, the Cojuangco-Aquino family never fulfilled the government loan condition to distribute land to the farmers. Instead, they have enriched themselves through the blood, sweat and tears of generations of Hacienda Luisita sugar farmworkers. They have piled hefty earnings from sales of portions of the property to private entities, under deals that the government itself had ironically supported and interceded for. More incredibly ironic is that despite this clan’s unflinching refusal to fulfill their loan obligations, it is the Cojuangco-Aquinos instead who have been diligently remunerated by the government with the SCTEX right of way payment and, most recently, of “just compensation” in the ongoing sham land distribution in Hacienda Luisita. Indeed, the Cojuangco-Aquino family, with the
complicity of or in direct collusion with government, have, through the years, incurred serious debt not only to the Luisita farmworkers but to the whole Filipino people

2. For land distribution to be equitable and just, state entities must seriously heed the farmworkers’ demand for COLLECTIVE LAND OWNERSHIP.

Concerned agencies must recognize and study the bungkalan land occupation and cultivation program initiated by farmworkers during the height of the Luisita strike in 2005. The strike and the bungkalan demonstrated their enormous capacity to effect change in an environment mired in oppression and deceit. To simply dismiss or, worse, to actively suppress this emergent movement runs counter to the intentions of dispensing social justice. Meanwhile, the type of individual titling that the DAR has imposed and the complimentary promotion of block farming, in the context of the Luisita experience, are but modes that serve to reverse the course of land reform. What must be given full recognition and support is the organized rank of the farmworkers in their campaign to increase production and improve their livelihood through mutual aid, cooperativization and collective farming.

3. The DAR land distribution scheme in Hacienda Luisita is the absolute opposite of a “successful model of land reform.” IT IS A SHAM. Not an inch of land has been physically distributed after all the grand pronouncements of the government that the sufferings of the farmworkers have already
ended. The DAR has committed blatant abuse of discretion in most, if not all the actual steps it has undertaken, leaving its supposed beneficiaries disenfranchised, violated and swindled:

• inserting questionable names into the masterlist of beneficiaries
• procuring a dubious and overpriced land survey
• exclusion of hundreds of hectares of agricultural land from distribution sowing confusion, dislocation and dispute among beneficiaries in lot allocation and individual titling
• imposition of compulsory signing of promissory notes to ensure amortization payments
• grant of overpriced landlord compensation to the HLI / Cojuangco-Aquinos
• inept facilitation of the audit of HLI and CHI assets
• rabid justification of Cojuangco-Aquino claims over agricultural lands in Tarlac City
• inaction on farmworkers’ appeal for revocation of conversion order on 500 hectares (RCBC/LIPCO)
• imposition and promotion of block farming scheme “as support service” to serve landlord interest
• deceit and coercion of beneficiaries through threatening press statements and (dis)information campaigns and excessive use of intimidating state forces to implement its schemes and activities

4. The Cojuangco-Aquino clan has evidently sabotaged land reform through every means within its disposal. The Hacienda Luisita Massacre is the family’s most blatant display of ruthless impunity. The Cojuangco-Aquino clan will continue to unleash deceit and terror within Hacienda Luisita to protect its landlord interests. This reign of terror is brazenly imposed through the immense power enjoyed by the Cojuangco-Aquinos whose scion, Pres. Noynoy Aquino is currently at the helm of government. The Cojuangco-Aquinos are liable for:

• the illegal, aggressive & immoral claims of TADECO & LRC over agricultural lands for a “Luisita master conversion plan” (photos: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.

599622006745778.1073741828.100000939532732&type=3 )
• use of force, with both private armed personnel and state forces imposing the Cojuangco-Aquinos clan’s illegal authority

• the violent “Oplan April Spring” repression and “neutralization” of organized farmers in collusion with RCBC and state forces
• illegal and arrogant claim of higher compensation for land acquisition
• intimidation, illegal arrest and filing of trumped-up charges against its critics
• Other state institutions such as the PNP, AFP and courts who have shamelessly colluded with the Cojuangco-Aquino family are also liable for rights violations.

5. Government policy – institutionalized corruption and state terror and repression – has made genuine land reform a distant reality for the thousands of farmworkers in Hacienda Luisita and for the millions of other farmers and tillers all over the country.

The DAR has been recently exposed as a “pork clearing house” for corrupt politicians and fake non-government organizations (NGOs) to illegally partake of lump sum public fund allocations. But even under land reform laws, the DAR has merely served as legal conduit for the blatant misuse of public funds for its ineffective land reform schemes and as milking-cow of landlord families entitled to “just compensation.” Pres. Aquino himself has allocated millions of pesos from his unconstitutional Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) for landlord compensation and for the alleged bribery of Senator-judges to secure the impeachment of SC Chief Justice Renato Corona, right after the SC promulgated its final and executory decision on Hacienda Luisita.

Recommendations:

1. All concerned institutions and individuals must support the farmworkers’ demand for FREE LAND DISTRIBUTION and COLLECTIVE OWNERSHIP. Land to the tillers now!

2. The SC must immediately act on the latest motion of farmworkers questioning anomalies and irregularities in DAR’s land distribution activities.

3. TADECO, LRC and other representatives of the Cojuangco-Aquino clan must withdraw all private armed personnel and dismantle its outposts pending resolution of dispute on its claims on vast agricultural lands excluded by DAR from distribution to beneficiaries. TADECO personnel under orders of the Cojuangco- Aquino clan, must be held liable for abuses, grave threat, damage to property, forced eviction and the murder of Dennis dela Cruz.

4. With sham land distribution, farmers’ agricultural lands are under constant threat of conversion. Whole communities are under threat of eviction and dislocation. The Tarlac Provincial Government and City Government of Tarlac, local government unit of La Paz and Concepcion towns, and all other concerned government agencies must disapprove, or desist from implementing any development plan or project within Hacienda Luisita pending resolution of land disputes between farm workers, TADECO, RCBC, LIPCO, LRC and any other company or entity that might represent the interests of the Cojuangco-Aquino clan.

5. Beneficiaries of land reform must not be treated like enemies of the state. The AFP must withdraw all military and para-military forces deployed in Hacienda Luisita. State forces must not be utilized in favor of the landlord interests of the Cojuangco-Aquino family.

6. The Office of the Ombudsman and all concerned local and international institutions must act and continue to seek justice for the victims of the Hacienda Luisita Massacre and all subsequent killings and rights violations related to this agrarian struggle. Harassment, intimidation, illegal arrests and filing of trumped-up charges by the Cojuangco-Aquino clan must be put to a stop. All fabricated charges must be dropped.

7. All concerned groups and individuals should support the continuing agrarian struggle of Hacienda
Luisita sugar workers for genuine land reform and social justice. Support the bungkalan land cultivation program as the landmark of the farmworkers’ agrarian struggle.

How you can help:

1. Sign the online petition for FREE LAND DISTRIBUTION and AGAINS T LANDGRABBING and MILITARIZATION in Hacienda Luisita sponsored by UMA Pilipinas
at www.change.org

http://www.change.org/ph/mga-petisyon/support-free-land-distribution-in-hacienda-luisita-stop-cojuangco-aquino-landgrabbing-withdraw-police-and-military-deployment-in-hacienda-luisita

You and your organization may also create your own petition or letters of appeal and concern on land reform issues and human rights violations based on this report. You may send these to concerned government officials and institutions:

H.E. President Benigno Simeon Aquino III
President, Republic of the Philippines
Malacanang Palace, Manila Philippines
Tel: (+632) 564 1451 to 80
Fax: (+632) 742 1641 / 9293968
E-mail: op@president.gov.ph
Twitter handle: @noynoyaquino

Sec. Virgilio delos Reyes
Department of Agrarian Reform
Elliptical Road, Quezon City
Twitter handle: @dargovph

Sec. Leila de Lima
Department of Justice

Hon. Conchita Carpio-Morales
Office of the Ombusdman

Gov. Victor Yap and Provinicial Board
Tarlac Province

Mayor Gelacio Manalang and City Council
Tarlac City

2. Create awareness on the Hacienda Luisita situation by organizing fora, symposia, group discussions, and other related activities in your organization, church, school, university or community. You may contact AMBALA and UMA for resource persons and discussion materials.

3. Support the campaign by actively joining, organizing and promoting mobilizations, petition-signing, fund-raising, and other solidarity activities in your community and social media network. Follow posts by the Hacienda Luisita Campaign and UMA Pilipinas on Facebook and @UMApilipinas on Twitter for campaign updates. #LandJusticeLuisita

4. Organize rural integration visits to Hacienda Luisita and directly interact with the farmers. These may be arranged through AMBALA and UMA.

5. Support the bungkalan cultivation initiative. Support the “Adopt-a-Farm” project by donating seeds, seedlings, farm tools, etc., and sponsoring farmers’ political education, workshops or training sessions on model land reform experiences, cooperativization, organic farming and other practical
learning sessions on cultivating crops and maintaining farm tools and implements.

6. Sign up as full-time or part-time Hacienda Luisita volunteer or organizer for AMBALA and UMA.

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Fact-finding body seeks to defy DAR on Luisita
By Ding Cervantes
Punto! Central Luzon
Nov 19, 2013

ANGELES CITY- A fact-finding mission on Hacienda Luisita has released a 40-page report on the estate owned by Pres. Aquino’s family and recently distributed to farm workers, as it issued recommendations defying the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR).

The recommendations included distribution of hacienda lands without compensating the Aquino family, collective hacienda land ownership and the dismissal of the land distribution scheme of the DAR as a “sham”.

The report was titled “For Land and Justice: The Continuing Agrarian Struggle in Hacienda Luisita” and was finalized by the Hacienda Luisita National Fact-Finding Mission (NFFM) spearheaded by the Unyon ng Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA), its local affiliate Alyansa ng mga Manggagawang-Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita (AMBALA) and the office of Anakpawis Party-list Rep. Fernando Hicap.

“The study was launched to verify reports of fraud, militarization and new cases of landgrabbing before, during and after the Department of Agrarian Reform’s (DAR) land distribution activities in Hacienda Luisita,” UMA said in a statement.

Justifying free land distribution at the hacienda, the study noted that “the Cojuangco- Aquino clan acquired the estate through loans from the government in 1957. After so many decades, the Cojuangco- Aquino family never fulfi lled the government loan condition to distribute land to the farmers.

Instead, they have enriched themselves through the blood, sweat and tears of generations of Hacienda Luisita sugar farmworkers.” The study also noted that “for land distribution to be equitable and just, state entities must seriously heed the farmworkers’ demand for collective land ownership.

“The type of individual titling that the DAR has imposed and the complimentary promotion of block farming, in the context of the Luisita experience, are but modes that serve to reverse the course of land reform. What must be given full recognition and support is the organized rank of the farmworkers in their campaign to increase production and improve their livelihood through mutual aid, cooperativization and collective farming,” the study said.

The study also accused DAR of “blatant abuse of discretion in most, if not all the actual steps it has undertaken in its recent distribution of lands via raffle to the farm workers. It said DAR “inserted questionable names in the master list of beneficiaries, procured dubious and overpriced land survey and, excluded hundreds of hectares of agricultural land from distribution.

It also hit DAR for the “imposition of compulsory signing of promissory notes to ensure amortization payments, grant of overpriced landlord compensation to the Hacienda Luisita Inc. (controlled by the Cojuangco- Aquino families), inept facilitation of the audit of the assets of hacienda companies of the two families.”

The study also cited “intimidation, illegal arrest and filing of trumpedup charges against critics” and other “rights violations” allegedly with the backing of the police and the military. “The DAR has been recently exposed as a “pork clearing house” for corrupt politicians and fake non-government organizations (NGOs) to illegally partake of lump sum public fund allocations.

But even under land reform laws, the DAR has merely served as legal conduit for the blatant misuse of public funds for its ineffective land reform schemes and as milking-cow of landlord families entitled to ‘just compensation’”, the study noted.

http://punto.com.ph/News/Article/19166/Volume-7-No-67/Headlines/Fact-finding-body-seeks-to-defy-DAR-on-Luisita


 


 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 
     
     
     
     
     
           
     
     
     

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Reign of terror in Hacienda Luisita intensifies
11/02/20130

The regional farmers’ group Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luson (Amgl, Farmers’ Alliance in Central Luzon) strongly condemned the intensified assault against its chapter in Hacienda Luisita, the Alyansa ng Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita (Ambala, Farm Workers’ Alliance in Hacienda Luisita) by the Cojuangco-Aquino family, particularly its controlled firm, the Tarlac Dev’t Corp. (Tadeco). It has been reported that when the Dept. of Agrarian Reform (DAR) commenced with the raffle-distribution of certificate of land ownership awards (cloa) since October, Tadeco and another Cojuangco corporation, Luisita Realty Corp. have put up fences around 100-hectare land in Brgy. Cutcut and about 400 hectare in Brgy. Balete and recently last October 31, Dennis Dela Cruz, a leader of Ambala was murdered in Brgy. Balete, who was actively working at a “bungkalan” (cultivation) site.

“Hacienda Luisita is under a reign of terror, perpetrated by the Aquino government and the Cojuangco-Aquino family. They have sabotaged the Supreme Court decision to distribute the lands using the partial schemes implemented by DAR, and now a leader of Ambala was mercilessly killed,” Joseph Canlas said, Amgl chairperson.

Ambala believed that the murder of Dela Cruz is connected to the land issue as he was a staunch activist working with the bungkalan campaign, and was threatened by Tadeco security guards last September. The group said that it was to terrorize the farm workers who are fighting for their rights to land against the plot of the Cojuangco-Aquino family. In addition, Ambala reported that military deployment in Hacienda Luisita is intensifying as at least four (4) tanks were seen entering the estate.

“The Aquino government deployed many elements of the police and military during the so-called cloa distribution by DAR, to subvert the protest of the farm workers. Now they are actually sending in more forces to intimidate the unarmed farm workers led by Ambala,” Canlas said.

Amgl said that the Cojuangco-Aquino family is firm in keeping their control over the vast lands of Hacienda Luisita as it would bring about billions of profit. Agricultural land valuation around the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx) and Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEx) ranges from P1 million to P6 million per hectare or P100 per square meter to P600 per square meter. Thus, reclassifying these lands as the Cojuangco-Aquino family has prepared in the land use plan furnished by the Luisita Realty Corp. in 1998, who obviously bring in unimaginable amount of profit.

“The Cojuangco-Aquinos are notorious in violently attacking the farm workers. It was under martial law during the Marcos dictatorship, de-facto martial law during Hacienda Luisita massacre and Oplan Bantay Laya, they are now again waging terror against the farm workers,” Canlas said.

Amgl reiterated its call for genuine land reform in Hacienda Luisita, immediate and free land distribution to the farm workers and halt to terror tactics launched by the Cojuangco-Aquinos.

“Inside Hacienda Luisita is like a time-space warp where you would think that it is still during the Spanish colonization where hacienderos rule with iron-fist and slaughtering those who oppose them. The Cojuangco-Aquinos are social parasites who fed from the sweat and blood of the farm workers. It is long overdure to overthrow their feudal control over the lands and we call on different sectors to struggle for national democracy,” Canlas called. #

 

     
     
     
           
     
     
     

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UMA Pilipinas
 

Still no justice 9 years after massacre:
PNoy kin unleashes supertyphoon of impunity and terror in Hacienda Luisita

President Aquino is courting disaster – his own ouster.

While global attention is focused on relief efforts for Typhoon Yolanda victims, President Aquino’s family has been unleashing a supertyphoon of terror and impunity in its own backyard.

“We see his lack of sympathy towards Yoland victims. Here in Luisita, we can never have genuine land reform with a heartless scion of the Cojuangco-Aquino clan at the helm of government,” said Florida Sibayan, AMBALA acting-chairperson.

Instead of providing relief and rehabilitation for farmers hit by Typhoon Santi in October, the Presidential family’s Tarlac Development Corp. (TADECO) has pushed for the violent eviction of hundreds of farmers in Hacienda Luisita. TADECO guards have barred farmers from rebuilding houses ravaged by the storm, even destroying some 6 huts repaired by residents. TADECO guards are also suspect in the death of an AMBALA leader last Nov. 1.

Three women were hurt, including AMBALA acting chairperson Florida Sibayan and her 76-year old mother, when TADECO guards bulldozed farmlots in Barangay Balete the other day. Farmers decry massive police and military deployment since last week apparently to provide back-up for the private guards and to intimidate residents.

These aggressive actions from the Cojuangco-Aquino family comes nine years after the Hacienda Luisita Massacre.

The President himself, who was then a Tarlac congressman, was charged before the Ombudsman as one of those resposible for the massacre in 2004.

The previous administration dropped all charges against accused civilians. As for military and police personnel charged for the crime, the Arroyo and especially the present government merely sat on the case.

The Cojuangco-Aquino clan continues to utilize brute force through the use of the military, police and security guards and the courts to intimidate the farm workers into surrendering their tilling of the lands since 2005. In Barangay Cutcut, 81 farmers were charged with illegal detainer cases by TADECO.

In the summons issued by the Municipal Trial Court to the farmers on November 8, Judge Rhodalyn N. Montemayor-Abas ruled that she was applying Rule on Summary Procedure and the accused are prohibited from filing motion to dismiss, a Bill of particulars and extension of time to file pleadings.

At the same time, in the land title it submitted to the court as Annex B, it is stipulated that the supposed property of TADECO in Cutcut are in the barrios of Luisita, San Miguel, Bantog and Ungot. And that the subsequent survey was done in 2002 but was approved in 2005. TADECO also stated that the land would be used for industrial and commercial use.

This runs counter to DAR’s public pronouncements and private inquiries that based on the 1989 tax declaration of TADECO, it was categorized as residential. DAR also admitted that most of the land is planted to sugar cane and the rest to rice. The DAR was tasked by the SC decision to distribute ALL agircultural land to Luisita farmers.
 

DAR though is quick to defend TADECO’s ownership of the land by saying the property is not part of lands to be distributed under the SC ruling.

Pushed to the wall, Hacienda Luisita farmworkers can only pin their hopes on the movement to oust Pres. Aquino.

 

     
           
     
     
     

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Farmers clash with police, security guards in Hacienda Luisita
Posted on: 11-13-2013

Farmers slam DAR for inaction, partiality towards TADECO

A hundred farmers in Barangay (village) Balete, Hacienda Luisita clashed this morning with around 60 security guards and police officers who thwarted their attempt to assert their claim on lands they have been tilling since 2005.

Said properties are now being land grabbed by Tarlac Development Corporation (TADECO) which is a suspect in the killing of Dennis de la Cruz on November 1 and which filed cases against farmers in Barangay Cutcut on November 4 for unlawful detainer.

On November 12, TADECO bulldozed houses set up by a few families in Balete and stated that they were also constructing a road in the property they are land grabbing.

TADECO suddenly appeared in the picture of the ongoing land saga in Hacienda Luisita right after the Lot Allocation Certificate (LAC) distribution in Cutcut on July 18, 2013. Initially it set-up security guard outposts in the two barangays and eventually gave warning letters to around 100 farmers demanding that they stop encroaching on said property.

Ka Pong Sibayan, acting chairperson of Alyansa ng Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita (AMBALA) and her mother Maria Versola were slightly injured when they fell while struggling with security guards near the foundation of the hut they were trying to set-up. Ka Pong also hurt slightly her nape and shoulder.

An apologist of Noynoy Aquino working as a columnist in a Manila newspaper earlier wrote that Mr. de la Cuz, which he wrongly named as Mr. Cayabyab allegedly died of an accident. He revealed that supposedly there is a witness to this and that photos of SOCO also proved that this was indeed what happened.

There was no autopsy, however, done on Mr. de la Cruz. The family told AMBALA who visited his wake and paid a tribute to him, that they were afraid of repercussions if they would agree to have his cadaver autopsied.

Overall, however, it is the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) that has been the staunchest apologists for TADECO and the Cojuangco-Aquinos. It stated that the lands being grabbed by said firm are not part of the lands that were distributed to farm worker beneficiaries as ruled by the Supreme Court.

DAR Secretary de los Reyes also warned the farmers that they had no right to till the land as they are still determining its status. He added that those who encroach and till the land would have no right to own it if they decide that this should be distributed later to them.

The DAR chief however has remained silent on the recent actions done by TADECO. It is only a continuation of its unabashed subservience to the Cojuangco-Aquino clan who owns the Hacienda when it undertook a sham land distribution there. But that is another story.

Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura
(Agricultural Workers Union)

Source Verification:
Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura
Florida “Pong” Sibayan, Acting Chairperson, AMBALA
CP no. +639293201477
Follow UMA Pilipinas on Twitter

 

     
     
     
           
     
     
     
           

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A poem by Amado V. Hernandez
Translated to English by E. San Juan, JUr..

             
     
 
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Picket at NOLCOM HQ Camp Servillano Aquino, Nov. 16, 2013
     
           

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Paglala ng kawalang lupa, panganib sa mga magsasaka ng Gitnang Luzon
10/14/20130 Comments

Mahigit isang daang magsasaka mula sa Gitnang Luson, sa pamumuno ng Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luson (Amgl), ang lumahok sa pambansang protestang magbubukid ngayong araw sa Quezon city, bilang pagmarka ng anibersaryo ng programang PD 27 ng diktaduryang Marcos. Kasama ang mga lider at kasapi ng Aniban ng Nagkakaisang Mamamayan ng Hacienda Dolores (Aniban) at Amgl-Nueva Ecija, ang Amgl ay lalahok sa limang-araw na protesta ng magsasaka sa pangunguna ng Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (Kmp). Kasalukuyang nagpo-protesta ang mga magsasaka mula Hacienda Dolores at Nueva Ecija sa harap ng pambansang tanggapan ng Dept. of Agrarian Reform sa Quezon city. Ito ay susundan ng paggunita sa International Rural Women’s Day bukas Oktubre 15 at World “Foodless” Day sa Oktubre 16. Sa Oktubre 17 at 18, ilulunsad ng mga magsasaka ang protestang karaban tungong Hacienda Luisita sa Tarlac city, para kundenahin ang mga pakana ng pamilyang Cojuangco-Aquino, DAR at AFP, bilang suporta sa mga manggagawang bukid na nanawagan ng tunay na reporma sa lupa at libreng pamamahagi ng Hacienda Luisita.

“Sa kabila ng ilang dekadang pagpapatupad ng PD 27 at CARP, palala ang kalagayan ng mga magsasaka. Lalong dumami ang napalayas at nawalan ng kabuhayan dahil sa malawakang pangangamkam ng lupa at land use conversion na nakabalangkas sa programang Public-Private Partnership (PPP) ni Aquino at huwad na programang CARPer,” ani Joseph Canlas, tagapangulo ng Amgl.

Ang Nueva Ecija na tinaguriang “rice granary” ng bansa ay humaharap ngayon sa malaking panganib dahil ang mga magsasaka ay humaharap sa malawakang pagpapatalsik mula sa lupa bunga ng pagkansela ng mga certificate of land ownership award (cloa), emancipation patent (ep), certificate of land title (clt) at foreclosure. Karaniwan din ang pangangamkam ng lupa ng mga malalaking panginoong maylupa, lokal at dayuhang negosyante.

“Ipinagmamalaki ng gubyerno at DAR na 36% ng farmer-beneficiaries (FBs) ng rehiyon ay mula sa Nueva Ecija sa lupang 42% ng coverage ng CARP sa rehiyon. Ngunit ang mga FBs ngayon ay humaharap sa pagpapalayas at pagbawi ng lupa ng mga panginoong maylupa, kakutsaba ang DAR at Land Bank,” dagdag ni Canlas.

Ang mga FBs sa Nueva Ecija ay ngayo’y nakatatanggap ng “notice of foreclosure” mula sa Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) at DAR. Ayon sa datos ng AMGL-Nueva Ecija, maraming magsasaka sa halos anim (6) na hacienda na nasa Nueva Ecija ang nakakatanggap ng ‘notice of foreclosure’ mula sa LBP at DAR. Ang mga asyendang ito ay ang sumusunod: ang Hacienda De Santos sa Guimba, Cuyapo at Nampicuan na may saklaw na 9,700 ekt. Lupain; Hacienda Davis sa Brgy. Manggang Marikit, Brgy. Bagong Barrio at Yuson ng Guimba na sumasaklaw ng 120 ekt. Lupain; Hacienda Alzate sa Brgy. Edy, Meling at Ambassador ng bayan ng Nampicuan; Hacieda Rueda na sumasakop ng 238.34 ekt. lupain sa Brgy. San Andres I, Quezon; Hacienda Tinio sa Guimba na saklaw ang 7,000 ekt.; at Hacienda Bueno sa bayan ng Caranglan na may 6,000 ekt. lupain.

Dagdag ng grupo, malaganap ang pagtutulak ng foreclosure. Ito ay patakaran ng gobyerno ng pangangamkam ng lupa at pagpapalayas sa magsasaka. Partikular sa Hacienda Bueno, tinaningan ng DAR at LBP ang mga magsasaka ngayong 2013 lalupa’t ang lugar na ito ay babagtasin ng Dalton East Alignment Road Project (DEARP) . Taong 2012, naging malawakan ang pagpapadala nito sa mga magsasaka at ilan sa mga magsasaka ay nakaramdam ng pangangamba lalupa’t nagkakahalaga ng P100,000 ang utang nila sa LBP bilang amortisasyon na dapat bayaran sa loob ng 15 araw.

“Maliban sa kanselasyon ng mga CLOA, ang foreclosure ay isa lamang sa pagpapalala ng kalagayan ng mga magsasaka. Isa itong negosyo ng gobyerno kasabwat ang DAR at LBP para agawin sa mga magsasaka ang kanilang lupain. Ang mga magsasaka ay walang kakayahang magbayad laluna sa napakalaking gastusin sa pagsasaka, mahal na bilihin, epekto ng kalamidad at marami pang iba. Matibay pa din ang panawagan na dapat magkaroon ng suportang serbisyo ang gobyerno,’’ dagdag ni Canlas.

Kaugnay nito, nanganganib din ang probinsya bilang ‘Food Bowl’ o ‘Rice Granary’ lalupa’t libu-libong magsasaka ang biktima ng pangangamkam ng lupa at pagpapalayas dulot ng pagtatayo ng dam at expressways kagaya ng Central Luzon Expressway (CLEX) na mula Cabanatuan- San Jose patungong Aurora at Northern Luzon Expressway (NLEX)-East sa bayan ng Gapan at Balintingnon dam sa General Tinio. Dagdag dito, patuloy pa ding inaagawan ng lupa ang mga magsasaka sa Fort Magsaysay Military Reservation (FFMR), at iba pang bahagi ng probinsya.

“Sa Pampanga, isa sa matingkad na isyu ng pangangamkam ng lupa at pagpapalayas ang mga magsasaka at residente ng Hacienda Dolores, Porac, Pampanga. Pinag-iinteresan ng LLL at FL Development Corporation ang mahigit 700 ekt. produktibong lupain ng asyenda. Sa kasalukuyan, pinagbabawalan silang makapasok sa kanilang mga sakahan at tuluy-tuloy na nakararanas ng harassment mula sa kamay ng mga security guards, goons at PNP.’’

“Ang isyu naman ng Hacienda Luisita sa Tarlac ay tinik sa lalamunan ni Aquino at kanyang pamilya kaya kaliwa’t kanan ang maniobra para manatili ang kontrol sa asyenda. Sa katatapos na tambiolo noong Agosto, nilinlang at tinakot ang mga magsasaka para diumano sa tapat na pamamahagi ng lupa. Sa kasalukuyan, ibinubuslo na naman ang mga magsasaka sa pagtanggap ng CLOA kung saan taliwas sa panawagang libreng mapasakanila ang lupain. Ang patutunguhan ng Hacienda Luisita ay kagaya sa mga nararanasan ng mga magsasaka sa iba’t ibang lugar sa bansa na kung saan babayaran ang amortisasyon ng 30 taon at kapag hindi makapagbayad sa 3 magkakasunod na taon ay papadalhan ng notice o kaya mas maagang bahagi ay ikakansela ang lupain.’’

“Ibang usapin pa ang umiiral sa kasalukuyan, malawakan ang pangangamkam ng lupa ng Tarlac Dev’t. Corp. (TADECO) at Lusita Realty Corporation (LRC) sa mga sakahan ng Brgy. Cutcut, Balete, Asturias at Mapalacsiao na aabot sa mahigit 300 ekt. lupain. Kaugnay nito, tuluy-tuloy ang pananakot, paniniktik at harassment sa mga magsasaka lalupa’t nakakapanatili ang mga sundalo at CAFGU sa sampung barangay ng asyenda.’’

“Ang kalagayan ng mga magsasaka sa rehiyon ay hindi dapat ipagkibit-balikat lalupa’t ang plano ng gubyernong Aquino ay PPP o kutsabahan umano ng gubyerno at pribadong sektor para pagkakitaan ang mga likas na yaman ng bansa. Ang proyektong Metro-Luzon Urban Beltway, kasama ang SCTEx, Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEx), Central Luzon Expressway (CLEx) at North Luzon East Expressway (NLEx East) ay ipanapatupad ng gubyernong Aquino para pabilisin ang panghuhuthot sa likas na yaman ng rehiyon at bansa, kasama na ang malawak at produktibong kalupaan ng Gitnang Luson.’’

“Plano ni Aquino na itransporma ang rehiyon bilang isang malawak na eco-zone kung saan, pawang interes ng mga dayuhan at mayayamang negosyante ang namamayagpag at pangunahin. Nais ni Aquino na ipatupad mga proyektong eko-turismo at komersyal na establisyemento para sa interes ng mga dayuhan. Wala itong konsiderasyon sa maliit na mamamayan, tulad ng mga magsasaka at patuloy lamang ang pagyurak sa kanilang mga karapatan sa lupa at kabuhayan,’’ pagtatapos ni Canlas. #

 

     
     
     
     
     
     
           
     
     
     

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Nine years after Luisita massacre: No justice, rights violations continue under BS Aquino

 

Press Statement
November 15, 2013

Reference: Cristina “Tinay” Palabay, Secretary General, 0917-3162831
Angge Santos, Media Liaison, 0918-9790580


"Nine years after the Hacienda Luisita Massacre, the struggle of the farm workers continues. The killings, human rights violations and deceit continue. There has been absolutely no justice attained under the BA Aquino administration," Cristina Palabay, Karapatan secretary general said.

In November 16, 2004, thirteen Luisita farmworkers were massacred they were on strike, demanding decent wages and land distribution. The big landlord clans of the Aquinos and Cojuangcos own the more than 5,000-hectare wide Hacienda Luisita.

"The Supreme Court may have decided to distribute the vast lands of Luisita in 2012, but the Aquinos and Cojuangcos, Dept. of Agrarian Reform and Tarlac Development Corporation (TADECO) are using all possible kinds of deception, bribery, state violence to prevent the lands to be actually distributed to all farmworkers," Palabay said.

In those nine years, eight cases of extra-judicial killings and one enforced disappearance related to the Hacienda Luisita struggle was documented by Karapatan. This includes the murder of Obispo Maximo Alberto Ramento in October 3, 2006, a staunch supporter of the farm workers during and after the strike.

"Nine years after, those responsible to the massacre have not spent one day in prison. Former Dept. Of Labor and Employment secretary Patricia Sto. Tomas, is holding office at the Land Bank of the Philippines. Gen. Ricardo Visaya, head of the Philippine Army deployed in the Hacienda Luisita and a protege of Ret. Maj. Palparan is still sowing terror in the places where he is being deployed," Palabay cited. Gen. Visaya's recent stint of terror is the beheading of the village councilor Ely Oguis, justifying that the victim is an NPA tax collector. "Then Senator BS Aquino, whose family’s interests reign in the hacienda, is now the President," Palabay said.

Meanwhile, Karapatan strongly condemns the latest case of extrajudicial killing in the town that recently suffered bombings by the Philippine Army.

While the whole world was witnessing the tragedy brought by typhoon Yolanda, Juban, Sorsogon in the Bicol Region suffered another case of extra-judicial killing. Wellington Brogada Jr., male, 50 years old was gunned down on morning of November 11, 2013 in front of his house in Brgy. Catanagan, Juban, Sorsogon.

Brogada, a tricycle driver, came from Brgy. Biriran to drop off a passenger. As he was nearing his house, a passenger of the motorcycle coming from the back of Brogada's tricycle alighted and shot the victim four times. The first bullet came through Brogada's nape which exited through his left cheek. Three other bullets were fired at his chest. The gun man casually aboarded the motorcycle bearing no plate number. The perpetrators went to the direction of the town center of Juban. Another motorcycle met with the perpetrator to receive the gun used to kill Brogada. It sped to the direction of the Brgy. Rangas where the headquarters of 31st Infantry Battalion Philippine Army is located. According to witnesses, Brogada was already being tailed by the gunman starting from Sitio Madlangaw, Brgy. Tabok.

Brogada is a member of Bayan Muna Sorsogon and was part of the Fact Finding Mission that documented the September 22 incident of bombing and strafing by 31st Infantry Battalion of the Phil. Army in Brgy. Calmayon and Brgy. Maalo, Juban, Sorsogon.

"Dito magaling ang gobyerno ni BS Aquino, ang mambomba ng mga komunidad, pumatay ng mga kritiko," (This is what BS Aquino's government good at, bombing communities and kill his critiques.) Palabay said in condemnation. "Yet, in addressing people's concerns, preparing for disasters such as Yolanda and providing immediate relief to the survivors, we just don't seem to see the government's response," Palabay ended.

 

No Trespassing on tenants' own property?
     
     
           
     
     
     

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PRESS RELEASE
15 November 2013
Reference: ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio (09209220817)

Nine years after the Luisita massacre
PNoy still denies justice, land to tillers while overpaying kin

Aanhin pa ang lupaing hacienda kung pinatay ko na ang magsasaka?—With nine years after the Hacienda Luisita massacre, it appears that President Benigno Aquino, whose family owns the 6,435-hectare plantation, holds on to this variation of a Filipino saying.

ACT Teachers Party-List Rep. Antonio Tinio noted that the Cojuangco-Aquino clan continues to deny justice from the martyrs of the Hacienda Luisita massacre even as it denies the land’s distribution to its tillers, its rightful owners, refusing them their source of income and even their lives.

Tinio said the farmers cannot exercise actual and effective ownership, citing reports of heavy presence of armed guards and military under the clan’s control, who gave eviction letters to hundreds of beneficiaries, and continue to cordon off areas long worked on by farmers, harass them, prevent them from planting rice and vegetables, and even occupy several huts.

This belies the recent proud announcement of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) that it has completed the hacienda’s distribution in all 10 barangays covering the estate.

Tinio also cited the killing of Dennis dela Cruz, a member of Alyansa ng mga Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita (AMBALA), who was found dead from blows to the head inside the group’s farm hut last November 3. Days prior to the murder, he was repeatedly threatened by TADECO guards to leave the hut.

“Wala pa ring hustisya para sa mga martir ng Luisita,” said Tinio. “Magsasampung taon na matapos patayin sila at dahasin ang kanilang mga pamilya at kasama ay di pa rin ginagawad ang lupang matagal nang dapat ay sa kanila.”

“Sa bawat araw na itinatanggi ang lupa sa mga manggagawang-bukid ay nagpapatuloy ang pagpatay ng angkan ng presidente sa mga tunay na may-ari ng asyenda.”

Tinio added that his administration further benefitted his clan when his DAR overpaid Hacienda Luisita Incorporated P167.47 million as interest, representing the value of matured Land Bank bonds from 1989 to 1999.

Tinio filed House Resolution 466 to probe the overpayment, saying it has no legal basis since compensation has no bond component if landowner is paid fully in cash, and is grossly disadvantageous to taxpayers.

Said the Resolution, “the overpayment by DAR further aggravates the injustice against the farmers who have been deprived of ownership of Hacienda Luisita lands for decades. They have been impoverished, exploited and oppressed while the Cojuangcos enjoyed the economic benefits accruing from their unlawful retention of ownership and control of Hacienda Luisita.”

The overpayment is another proof that public funds continue to enrich private entities under Aquino’s administration, said Tinio. “Ang pagbibigay niya sa kanyang angkan ng P167.47 milyon mula sa pera ng mamamayan ay walang pinagkaiba sa paghugot niya ng bilyones mula sa pondo ng serbisyo-publiko para sa kanyang DAP, o sa P10 bilyong PDAF scam ni Napoles at mga kakutsaba nito.”

Along with the free and immediate distribution of the hacienda, justice for Luisita’s martyrs demands that Aquino order a refund of the overpayment, Tinio added.

“Ang panawagan ng mamamayan ukol sa pork ay ang pagbabalik sa pampublikong kaban ng mga perang kinulimbat para sa pampribadong interes at panagutin ang mga nagpakasasa sa pera ng bayan. Hindi ligtas ang pangulo sa panawagang ito, lalo na sa usapin ng hasyenda ng kanyang pamilya.”

“Kung niya tutuparin ang mga panawagang ito karapat-dapat din sa kanya ang taguring ‘presidente ng mga asendero’ bukod sa ‘pork barrel king’.”

On November 16, 2004, the Cojuangco-Aquino clan, through the Tarlac police and military, riddled with bullets a picket protesting its retrenchment of 327 farm workers, including union officers, killing seven and injuring 121 others, 32 from gunshot wounds. ###

 

     
     
     
Tree Planting, Nov. 15, 2013
     
     
           
     
     
     

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Private corporations and gov’t plan to wipe out communities in Hacienda Dolores, experienced
11/03/20130

Led by Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luson (Farmers’ Alliance in Central Luzon), Aniban ng Nagkakaisang Mamamayan sa Hacienda Dolores (ANMHD), Karapatan-Central Luzon, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and Anakpawis Party-list, a National Fact-finding and Solidarity Mission (NFFSM) was held at the Hacienda Dolores in Porac town last October 30 to 31 to investigate alleged land grabbing and displacement efforts by Leonardo-Lachenal-Leonio Holdings Inc. (LLL or LHI), FL Property Management Corp. (FL Corp.) and Ayala Land, Inc. The activity was also joined by groups such as the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP), Social-Pastoral Apostolate of Holy Family Academy (Angeles city) and St. Scholastica Academy – Manila, Central Luzon Ayta Association, Aguman Dareng Maglalautang Capampangan (AMC), Ambala – Hacienda Luisita, Karapatan – National, Sinagbayan, Anakbayan, Bayan Muna – Pampanga, PDIARS and KM 64. LHI and FL Corp. have claimed about 754 hectares of the 2,099-hectare Hacienda Dolores which is connected by an interchange of the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx).

“The people of Hacienda Dolores is in grave distress, facing the land grabbing measures of LHI, FL Corp. and Ayala Land. The children, women, elderly and farmers have their own stories shared in the activity,” Joseph Canlas said, Amgl chairperson and Anakpawis Party-list regional coordinator.

“The private corporations have violated the socio-economic rights of the people of Hacienda Dolores, when they were barred to attending their farms since 2011. LHI and FL Corp. also destroyed crops, bulldozed of their farms, and their guards snatched livestock and poultry owned by the farmers. They filed trumped up charges against the farmers resulting to illegal arrests. These corporations are essentially killing the people as their sources of livelihood are being cut off,” Canlas said.

The NFFSM group initially documented 26 cases of destruction and divestment of properties, victimizing 21 farmers, 5 peasant women, 1 case of illegal mass arrest victimizing 12 farmers on November 4, 2011 and 1 case of illegal arrest and detention on July 28 this year, 2 separate cases of harassment, threat and intimidation and a case of coercion to a farmer to sign a waiver of voluntary surrender of land and recruitment of local and indigenous Ayta to serve as goons and security guards.

According to a certain Ruben Zalta, 79 years old, one of the eldest in the village cultivating 1.5 hectare of rice land, 7 hectare with vegetable crops, 20 mango trees and 15 coconut tree, 2 hectare with guava trees. He was a victim of coercion to sign the waiver on August 24 this year when about 20 unidentified men in jackets and bonnet surrounded him with his 81-year old wife, Teresita Zalta and said “papatayin kita kapag hindi ka pumirma sa waiver” (I will kill you if you don’t sign the waiver). Zalta then trembling, signed the waiver in front of a man with hand inside the jacket’s pocket, apparently holding something. After the incident, he filed a complaint at the barangay hall but told to complain at the municipal hall. At the town hall, he was advised to return to the barangay hall but faced with chairman Nestor Tolentino, his son-in-law replying “wala na tayong magagawa dahil nasa korte na,” (there is nothing we can do as it is already at the courts). At present, his house was being used by the security guards as post and his poultry are missing.

In addition, some women, namely Rossan Colobong, Mercedita Angeles, Filipina Franco, Iluminada Ignacio, Rowena Santiago, Josephine De Jesus and Virginia Ayson resort to other work such as laundry, farm work, marketing and retail as they were not able to harvest their crops as their farms were fenced by LHI and FL Corp. They said that their crops were stolen by the goons and security guards and this has affected their way of life as they lost source of income, for food and schooling of their children.

The women also supposed that they were able to harvest 10 to 15 tons of guava daily, and they were delivered to Pampang market in Angeles city, a guava jam factory in Bulacan and some parts of Metro Manila. Thus, they were able to earn weekly about P3,000 to P7,500 from a price set to P10 to P25 per kg of guava. Since May this year, as their farms were seized from them, they lost about P180,000 of potential income.

The land grabbing of LHI and FL Corp. also affected the youth in Hacienda Dolores. A young girl named Merry Jane G. Franco, 18 years old, was not able to go to college as her family lost their source of income. She witnessed how the security guards barred her parents to attend their farm, demolished their house, declining number of livestock and poultry and destruction of their crops.

The LHI is claiming 298 hectares covering Purok 3 to 8 of Hacienda Dolores, while FL Corp. is claiming 456 hectares ranging from th plains to the mountain tops involving some ancestral lands of Ayta communities. Ayala Land has publicized their plan with Hacienda Dolores, covering 1,000 hectares to be developed similar to the Nuvali project in Sta. Rosa city in Laguna province. Nuvali is an eco-residential and tourism project catering rich foreign and local businesses. LHI and FL Corp. has already barred at least 350 farmers from attending their farms.

“The case of Hacienda Dolores is an unquestionable instance of bankruptcy of past and present land reform laws. The farmers’ ancestors have cultivated the lands since the Spanish colonialism, even before any Philippine government or constitution was established. But now, they are being displaced and their livelihood seized,” Canlas said.

Hacienda Dolores farmers said that their ancestors have cultivated the lands since 1835, in a farming community of 20 households. The lands were then claimed by Gregorio Macapinlac during the late 19th century and from 1916 to 1975 were claimed by the Champourchin family. During the Marcos dictatorship, part of Hacienda Dolores was claimed by the Puyat family and in 1999 by Dayrit family. In 2005, LHI began claiming lands and attempted to displace farmers while FL Corp. started in 2007.

“It is very clear that government laws did not serve the farmers of Hacienda Dolores. Since the Land Reform Act of Magsaysay in 1955 until the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with “Reforms” or CARPer, the farmers still do not secure the lands they have cultivated,” Canlas said.

“The moral and just demand of Hacienda Dolores farmers and residents is their lands to be given back, punish the private corporations and their goons and security guards,” Canlas added.

Amgl said that it would take a miracle for the Aquino government to serve the interest of the people of Hacienda Dolores. With Aquino’s family scheming to keep control over the vast lands of Hacienda Luisita, Aquino is clearly on the side of private corporations and his financial backer Ayala Land. Aquino is also pushing the implementation of the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) program which means nothing but the collusion of the government and rich foreign and local business to rake up profits from the country’s natural and human resources.

“It is imperative that poor Hacienda Dolores farmers and residents to firmly defend their rights to land. We call on different sectors to support their struggle as it is one with the poor and oppressed sectors of the country. Their emancipation is the genuine step to development in our country, not the concrete, superficial projects of Ayala Land and similar corporations,” Canlas called. #

 

     


Tarlac City PNP car with no plate monitoring the tree planting
of members of Uma Pilipinas AMBALA at Anakpawis Partylist
     
Picket at the Supreme Court, Nov. 18, 2013
     
     
     
     
Typhoon TADECO in Hacienda Luisita, Nov. 14, 2013
     
           
     


Typhoon TADECO in Hacienda Luisita

Amidst global relief efforts for victims of typhoon #YolandaPH, Hacienda Luisita farmers who were hit by Typhoon #SantiPH in October currently face the man-made calamity of terror and impunity in the Cojuangco-Aquino-controlled sugar estate.

Farmers in Barangay Balete clashed with around 60 security guards of the Cojuangco firm Tarlac Development Corp. (TADECO) and the Tarlac City police headed by OIC P/Supt. Bayani Razalan yesterday morning, after TADECO ordered the farmers’ eviction from agricultural lands aggressively claimed by the company. After Typhoon Santi ravaged homes and crops in Hacienda Luisita, TADECO guards prevented residents from rebuilding their huts and ruthlessly demolished other huts repaired by farmers.

Injured during yesterday’s clash were three women – Luisita farmworkers’ alliance AMBALA acting chairperson Florida “Pong” Sibayan, a survivor of the 2004 Massacre; her 76-year-old mother, Maria Versola; and her sister, Ermisa Baldeviano.

A bulldozer had been in the area since 2 days ago. Earlier this morning, farmers’ vegetable crops were destroyed by TADECO guards as a truck of soldiers belonging to the AFP Northern Luzon Command (NOLCOM) patrolled the area. Farmers have occupied and tilled the farmlots since 2005, during the height of the Hacienda Luisita Strike.

---AMBALA

 

 
     
     

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Pnoy Kin Filed Charges versus Critics, Farmers Affirm Hacienda Luisita Fact Finding Report

After the sham land distribution in Hacienda Luisita (HL), Pnoy kin filed charges versus critics and farmers. This only affirms findings of the National Fact Finding Mission Report (FFM) which held the FFM from September 16 -17, 2013.

An arraignment for the Hacienda Luisita 9 was held at the Tarlac City Municipal Trial Court (MTC) for physical assault at 1:30 pm today, while another hearing for them for malicious mischief filed by Tarlac Development Corporation (TADECO) will be held on December 12 at the same venue. TADECO is owned by the Cojuangcos.

Alyansa ng mga Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita’s (AMBALA) legal counsel, Atty. Jobert Pahilga will also file a motion to dismiss charges against the Cutcut 81. 81 farmers in barangay Cutcut were charged by TADECO for unlawful detainer also in the MTC.

The grounds for the dismissal are that unlawful detainer is for lessee or a tenant who did not comply with the conditions of the landlord and who does not want to leave even if the contract expired. So there is no basis for this as the Cutcut 11 are not lessees nor tenants and have been cultivating the land since 2005. The rest is still planted to sugar cane.

Farmers under AMBALA are daring the Pnoy government to file this same case versus TADECO because it did not comply with the 1957 lease condition, whereby it should have given the lands back to the government for land reform a decade later.

TADECO suddenly appeared in the picture right after the Lot Allocation Certificates (LAC) were distributed in Cutcut on July 18. It is also grabbing lands in Barangay Balete and Mapalacsiao. In the former, it had already set-up a barbed wire fence and together with the police have been harassing the farmers ever since. TADECO is also the main suspect in the mysterious killing of Dennis de la Cruz on November 1st.

The FFM which was organized by the Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA), AMBALA and the office of Anakpawis Party-List Representative Fernando Hicap concluded that the land reform in Hacienda Luisita was a sham.

And that the Cojuangco-Aquino clan has evidently sabotaged land reform through every means within its disposal through the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR). This includes the illegal, aggressive & immoral claims of TADECO over agricultural lands for a “Luisita master conversion plan” and the use of force, with both private armed personnel and state forces imposing the Cojuangco-Aquinos clan’s illegal authority.

Finally that government’s policy of institutionalized corruption and state terror and repression has made genuine land reform a distant reality for the thousands of farmworkers in Hacienda Luisita and for the millions of other farmers and tillers all over the country.

The recent developments stated above only confirm these findings.

NEWS RELEASE: November 21, 2013
Reference: Florida “Pong” Sibayan,
Acting- Chairperson, AMBALA, CP # 09293201477
And Atty. Jobert Pahilga, CP no. 09394346930

 

     
     
           
     
     
     

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NEWS RELEASE: November 14, 2013

Reference: Florida “Pong” Sibayan,

Acting- Chairperson, AMBALA , CP # 09293201477

For details of the Hacienda Luisita Caravan on Nov. 15-16,

Please contact UMA at (02) 4269442 or 09087624520

 

Terror and impunity in Aquino’s own backyard:

9 years after Hacienda Luisita Massacre,

P-Noy kin involved in new land grab, rights violations

 

Amidst global relief efforts for victims of typhoon Yolanda, Hacienda Luisita farmers who were hit by Typhoon Santi in October currently face the man-made calamity of terror and impunity in the Cojuangco-Aquino-controlled sugar estate.

 

Farmers in Barangay Balete clashed with around 60 security guards of the Cojuangco firm Tarlac Development Corp. (TADECO) and the Tarlac City police headed by OIC P/Supt. Bayani Razalan yesterday morning, after TADECO ordered the farmers’ eviction from agricultural lands aggressively claimed by the company. After Typhoon Santi ravaged homes and crops in Hacienda Luisita, TADECO guards prevented residents from rebuilding their huts and ruthlessly demolished other huts repaired by farmers.

 

Injured during yesterday’s clash were three women – Luisita farmworkers’ alliance AMBALA acting chairperson Florida “Pong” Sibayan, a survivor of the 2004  Massacre; her 76-year-old mother, Maria Versola; and her sister, Ermisa Baldeviano.

 

A bulldozer had been in the area since 2 days ago. Earlier this morning, farmers’ vegetable crops were destroyed by TADECO guards as a truck of soldiers belonging to the AFP Northern Luzon Command (NOLCOM) patrolled the area. Farmers have occupied and tilled the farmlots since 2005, during the height of the Hacienda Luisita Strike.

 

TADECO guards are also suspects in the death of AMBALA leader Dennis de la Cruz who was found dead near the bungkalan farm lot in Barangay Balete on November 1. In Barangay Cutcut, TADECO recently filed unlawful detainer cases against 81 farmers. TADECO and the Tarlac City police headed by Supt. Razalan were also involved in the illegal arrest of 11 fact-finding delegates headed by Anakpawis Rep. Fernando Hicap in September. 

 

TADECO started to install outposts and security personnel around nearly a thousand hectares of choice agricultural lots in Brgy. Balete and Cutcut during the Department of Agrarian Reform’s (DAR) land distribution activities in Hacienda Luisita last July. Eviction letters were also sent by TADECO to hundreds of farmers. TADECO claims that the hundreds of hectares of agricultural land are not part of the April 2012 Supreme Court (SC) decision to distribute Hacienda Luisita to farmworker-beneficiaries. DAR officials have been defending TADECO’s claims in recent media pronouncements.

 

TADECO administered Hacienda Luisita and the sugar mill Central Azucarera de Tarlac when the Cojuangcos acquired the estate from its original Spanish owners in 1957. However, TADECO lost all claims to agricultural land in Hacienda Luisita after it created the Hacienda Luisita, Inc, (HLI) in 1989, a  spin-off corporation to implement the Stock Distribution Option (SDO) of land reform. Farmworkers’ “co-owned” the HLI through agricultural land that should have been physically distributed to them.

 

The historic April 2012 SC decision revoked the SDO and ordered the distribution of all agricultural land to farmworkers. The DAR claims to have accomplished this task last October, after distributing photocopies of land award certificates to thousands of Luisita beneficiaries. However, not an inch of land has been physically distributed to these beneficiaries up to this moment.

 

The Unyon ng Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) and AMBALA released a 40-page comprehensive fact-finding report today that confirms anomalies and irregularities in DAR’s land distribution activities.  AMBALA through its counsel SENTRA will continue to challenge the DAR’s actions through a motion to be filed before the SC tomorrow morning. 

 

Due to intensified military operations in the area, Hacienda Luisita farmworkers will commemorate the 9th anniversary of the Hacienda Luisita Massacre under tense circumstances. A caravan, bungkalan activity, cultural night and mass will be held at Hacienda Luisita starting tomorrow up to the Massacre’s anniversary on November 16. Justice remains elusive to victims of the massacre and several other subsequent killings related to the agrarian dispute. After nine long years, nobody has been held liable for the gruesome incident. ###

 

     
     
           
Forum on the Report of the 2013 Hacienda Luisita National Fact Finding Mission
UP College of Mass Communications
November 14, 2013
Photos by Arkibong Bayan
           
     
     
     

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LAND REFORM AND NATIONAL DEMOCRACY
Speech delivered by Jose Maria Sison in Pilipino before the first Central Luzon Regional Conference of Kabataang Makabayan at Republic Central Colleges, Angeles City, on October 31, 1965; and in English at the College of Agriculture, University of the Philippines, Los Banos, Laguna, on March 23, 1966.

The Colonial Question and the Agrarian Question

At the present stage of our national history, the single immediate purpose to which our people are committed is the achievement of national democracy. On this single purpose, all are agreed, irrespective of social classes, unless one belongs to a class aggrandized by the perpetuation of semi-colonial and semi-feudal conditions in our society. Unless one is a landlord or a comprador, one aspires to have his nation free from colonial and imperialist exploitation. Every patriotic Filipino wishes to liquidate imperialism and feudalism simultaneously in order to achieve national democracy.

The relation between national democracy and land reform is very clear. We can achieve genuine land reform only if we, as a nation, are free from colonial and imperialist domination. In fighting for national democracy against U.S. imperialism and feudalism today, we need to unite the peasantry—the most numerous class in our society—on the side of all other patriotic classes and we need to unite with the peasantry, as the main force or backbone of our national unity and anti-imperialist struggle.

The peasantry will join the anti-imperialist movement only if it is convinced that the movement can bring about a state capable of carrying out land reform. In his long struggle for social justice, the Filipino peasant has learned that there must first be a decisive change in the character of the state, brought about largely and fundamentally by the worker-peasant alliance. He has learned the lesson a long time ago that before democratic reforms can be completely effected the national state must be secured from imperialist control and must be firmed up by the overwhelming support of the peasantry and the working class, whose alliance is far more reliable and more qualitatively powerful than the peasant-ilustrado combination which became frustrated by U.S. imperialism at the start of this century.

If we study closely the early development of the national-democratic movement, we can see its profound basis in the agrarian situation in the Philippines during the Spanish colonial era. The demand for political freedom became a valid demand to the masses only when they realized that a national state, their own popular sovereignty, could protect them against the exploitative colonial power which could only benefit the colonizers and their local agents. The Philippine Revolution of 1896 took full form only after the peasantry became mobilized into a powerful national liberation movement against colonialism and serfdom. The peasantry provided the mass support for the Philippine revolutionary government and fought the most intense patriotic war against colonial authority, especially in those areas where the contradiction between the peasant and the landlord was most intense. Colonial domination meant feudalism. It had to be overthrown by the armed might of the peasantry.

If we study assiduously the writings and experience of the old national-democratic heroes, we cannot help but find the insistent line that the lack of political freedom of a nation is based upon economic exploitation and control by an alien power. In the case of the Filipino people, during the Spanish era, the theocratic unity of church and state and the lack of national and individual freedom were based upon the feudal economic order and upon the mutual landlordism of lay and ecclesiastical authorities.

In Dr. Jose Rizal’s El Filibusterismo, you will note how the story of Cabesang Tales cries out for a nation-state capable of protecting its own citizens against foreign exploiters. The story of Cabesang Tales is no different from the lives of our peasant brothers today. He is a victim of excessive land rent, usury, servitude, extortion, insecurity from both lawless elements and legal authorities, ignorance of laws made by landlords for their own benefit, and even of his own industry which only attracts more exploitation from the exploiters. His daughter, Huli, is sacrificed to the unjust circumstances that afflict her father’s goodwill as she falls prey to the pious hypocrisies of usurious do-gooders and the local curate who would even violate her virginal virtues as she seeks his fatherly assistance. On the other hand, while her family suffers all these difficulties, her brother is conscripted into the colonial army—in the same way that our youth today are conscripted into the U.S.-controlled military machinery—to fight peasants that are in revolt in other islands and in neighboring countries. As the unkindest cut of all to her family, Tano her brother—now called Carolino after his share of fighting for Spanish colonialism against the rebellious natives in the Carolines—finds himself in his own country to hunt down a so-called bandit called Matanglawin, his own father who has turned into a peasant rebel leading multitudes of those who had been dispossessed of their own land.

In an ironic situation where the peasant conscripts must fight their own peasant brothers upon the orders of a foreign power, when the mercenaries must face mountains and mountains of guerrillas, Carolino shoots down his own grandfather, the docile and overpatient old peasant who has always advised Cabesang Tales, his aggrieved son, never to respond to the provocations of the powerful. Old as he is, representing several generations of peasant oppression and patience, he has finally become a peasant fighter after the brutal death of his dear granddaughter only to be shot down in an objective act of colonial reaction by his own unwitting grandson. It is too late when Tano or Carolino realizes it is his own grandfather he has shot, unwittingly betraying his own family and his own class. Such is the ironic situation into which many of our peasant brothers are drawn whey they enlist in the military, follow the orders of U.S.-trained officers, use U.S. arms, be guided by U.S. intelligence, ideology and advice, and allow themselves to be used against their own peasant brothers in other towns or provinces in our own country, or in foreign countries where they are used by U.S. imperialism to fight peasants who are fighting for their national freedom, as in many countries of Southeast Asia today.

The story of the peasant rebel, Matanglawin, has its basis in the life of Dr. Jose Rizal. As a young man and as a leader of his people, he showed courage in exposing the exploitative practices of the friar landlords and drew up a petition seeking redress which was signed by the tenants, leaseholders and leading citizens of Calamba. What followed the petition came to be known as the Calamba Affair. Governor General Weyler surrounded the town of Calamba, burned the homes of the people, confiscated their animals and exiled the Filipino townleaders. The colonial logic of the Calamba Affair was pursued to the end, to the death and martyrdom of Rizal and to the outbreak of the Philippine Revolution. The dialectics of history led to the polarization between the Filipino peasantry and the Spanish colonial authorities. What made Rizal unforgivable to the Spanish colonial authorities was his having exposed feudal exploitation to its very foundation.

Andres Bonifacio, the city worker feeling spontaneously the fraternal links between his nascent class and the long- standing class of the peasantry, expressed in fiery revolutionary language the peasant protest against feudalism in his poem, “Katapusang Hibik ng Pilipinas”:

Ang lupa at bahay na tinatahanan,
Bukid at tubigang kalawak-lawakan,
Sa paring kastila’y binubuwisan...
Ikaw nga, Inang pabaya’t sukaban
Kami’y di na iyo saan man humanggan.
Ihanda mo, Ina, ang paglilibingan
Sa mawawakwak na maraming bangkay.

Bonifacio’s call for revolt against feudal exploitation had been prepared by a long series of peasant struggles covering hundreds of years before him. Only after having waged a long series of sporadic and uncoordinated rebellions did the Filipino peasant realize that it took a well- organized and a conscious nation of peasants working as a single massive force to successfully attack feudal power and achieve the formation of a nation-state. Note clearly in the revolutionary poem of Bonifacio that the denunciation of feudal exploitation goes with his call for armed struggle against the colonial power.

Apolinario Mabini, in the Ordenanzas de la Revolucion, a collection of directives for the successful conduct of the revolution, expressed in clear terms the abolition of feudalism as a national objective:

“Rule 21. All usurpations of properties made by the Spanish government and the religious corporations will not be recognized by the revolution, this being a movement representing the aspirations of the Filipino people, true owners of the above properties.”

The Philippine Revolution of 1896 could have been the instrument of the peasant masses for redeeming the lands taken away from them by their feudal exploiters through more than 300 years of colonial rule.


U.S. Imperialism: Enemy of the Filipino Peasantry

When U.S. military intervention and aggression came in 1898 to mislead and subsequently crush the Philippine Revolution in the Filipino-American war of 1899-1902, the main revolutionary objectives of establishing a free nation-state and of achieving land reform was crushed. In order to succeed in its reactionary venture, U.S. imperialism snuffed out the lives of more than 250 thousand combatant and noncombatant peasants. They did to our people, largely to our peasant masses, what they are now directly doing again to the people of Vietnam with the same purpose of frustrating a revolutionary nation and its collective desire for democratic reforms, particularly land reform.

In order to stabilize its imperialist rule in the Philippines, the U.S. government sought the collaboration of the old ruling class in the previous colonial regime. It returned to the friars and their lay collaborators their landed estates which had been confiscated from them, and offered to the landlord class as a whole the privilege of sharing the spoils of a new colonial administration and of participating in a new pattern of commercial relations, that is, one between a capitalist metropolis and a colony. The new dispensation of U.S. imperialism required the Philippines to be a producer of raw materials for U.S. capitalist industries and a purchaser of surplus U.S. manufactures.

As a result of the continuous struggle of the peasant masses against U.S. imperialism even after 1902, when all the Filipino landlords and ilustrado elements had already the accepted U.S. sovereignty and were already collaborating with the new colonial masters, the U.S. colonial administration went through the motion of buying friar estates for the purpose of dividing and redistributing them to tenants. However, no change in the agrarian situation could really be effected. The tenants were in no position to pay the high land prices, the high interest rates and the onerous taxes. The complicated land title system confounded them and allowed smart government officials and private individuals to grab lands. The lack of governmental measures of assistance brought about the wholesale loss of holdings of tenants who did acquire them. Huge tracts of land became alienated into the hands of U.S. corporations and individual carpetbaggers in contravention of laws introduced by the U.S. regime itself. Filipino landlords and renegades of the Philippine Revolution were given more lands as a reward for their collaboration and were allowed to gobble up small landholdings both legally and illegally.

U.S. imperialism had planned that large haciendas would still remain in the hands of the landlords in order that sugar, copra, hemp, tobacco and other raw agricultural products would be immediately exchanged in bulk with U.S. surplus manufactures through the agency of what we now call the compradors. Today, if you wish to have a clear idea of compradors, observe the comprador-landlords, under the leadership of Alfredo Montelibano in the Chamber of Agriculture and Natural Resources, who are benefited by the neocolonial trade between the Philippines and the United States and who are now maneuvering the perpetuation of parity rights and preferential trade.

According to the MacMillan-Rivera report, 19 percent of the farms in the Philippines were operated by tenants or sharecroppers at the beginning of the U.S. colonial regime. By 1918, after the supposed division and redistribution of the friar estates and after a large increase in total farms through the opening of public lands, tenancy had risen to 22 percent. In the 1930s, as the peasantry became more dispossessed and poorer, tenancy further rose to 36 percent. The pretended grant of independence by the United States, far from reversing the trend of peasant pauperization, increased it and exposed the emptiness of such a bogus grant. By the late 1950s the tenancy rate rose to 40 percent.

According to figures issued by the reactionary government, tenancy in the Philippines embraced eight million out of 27 million Filipinos in 1963. In Central Luzon, 65.87 percent of all farms were tenant operated, and in the province of Pampanga it was 88 percent—the highest rate for all provinces in the country. This did not yet include an equal number of the wholly landless agricultural workers who subsisted under onerous contract labor conditions on sugar haciendas, coconut plantations and elsewhere. The displaced tenants and the irregular, seasonal agricultural workers—the sacadas—are also a part of the hapless poor peasantry.

Political Unity of the Peasantry and the Working Class

Within a decade after the ruthless suppression of the last guerrilla remnants of the First Philippine Republic, the worsened conditions of the peasantry in our barrios gave rise to spontaneous revolts and also produced peasant mass protest organizations. These unified in 1922 in the Confederacion de Aparceros y Obreros Agricolas de Filipinas, which was broadened and renamed two years later as Katipunang Pambansa ng mga Magbubukid sa Pilipinas (KPMP). The KPMP not only demanded agrarian reforms but also called for national independence in the same way the Katipunan of Bonifacio did. In 1930, the leaders of this peasant organization consequently united with the Katipunan ng mga Anak Pawis ng Pilipinas for the purpose of creating a worker-peasant political alliance under the leadership of the Communist Party of the Philippines.

The establishment of the Communist Party of the Philippines marked a qualitative change in the status and thinking of the working class and a strategic portion of the peasantry. It made these two classes more capable of conducting their own class struggle and the national struggle. They challenged the liberal-democratic pretensions of U.S. imperialism and its local agents.

So long as U.S. imperialism held the reins of power in the Philippines, however, the Filipino peasantry could not raise themselves from their exploited condition. The more they manifested strength and progressive consciousness, the more they became subjected to military and police suppression unleashed by the U.S. imperialist regime. And yet, in that period, the peasant mass organizations were led into reformist activities exclusively and seemingly directed at the landlords and the trade union movement directed its main blow at the bourgeoisie “in general.” It is true that the working-class party was aware of the popular outcry for national independence, but it failed to develop the corresponding national-democratic strategy. It failed to deliver powerful blows at U.S. imperialism to expose it thoroughly and mass the forces of the nation against it. Instead, it was the puppet politicians and even the Sakdalistas who seemed to have perceived more clearly the main contradiction and the main demand and they tried to pursue the same objective of sabotaging the national-democratic movement into two disparate ways. The puppet politicians took the way of begging for independence from U.S. imperialism. The Sakdalistas took the way of anarchism.

U.S. imperialism, together with its landlord-comprador cohorts, was certain of its main enemy. A few months after the formal alliance of the KPMP and the KAP, the Communist Party of the Philippines was immediately outlawed; thus, it was deprived of its democratic rights.

The outlawing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, nevertheless, could not conceal the reality of peasant oppression during the direct colonial rule of the United States. In 1931, a local peasant revolt occurred in Tayug, Pangasinan. A bigger armed uprising of armed peasants occurred in 1936 in the towns of Cabuyao and Santa Rosa, Laguna led by the Sakdal. These peasant revolts were continuing manifestations of the unbearable exploitation of the peasantry and were at the same time the critical effects of the U.S. capitalist depression in the 1930s.

The bitterest agrarian unrest in the 1930s occurred in Pampanga where the Socialist Party and its peasant union, Aguman din Maldang Talapagobra, militantly fought the landlord and stood their ground against the civilian guards and the Philippine Constabulary. The Socialist Party led the peasants and agricultural workers in the open until anti-communist repression was eased as a result of the Popular Front tactics and the Communist party of the Philippines was allowed to surface to add its force to the worldwide anti-fascist struggle. The “social justice” program of President Quezon was articulated only as a concession to the vigorous demand of the peasantry for agrarian reform.

When World War II broke out, the dislodgement of U.S. imperialism from the Philippines and the emergence of anti-Japanese resistance became the condition for the success of the peasant movement in Central Luzon and Southern Luzon to effect land reform among themselves on the land abandoned by the landlords. Throughout the country, landlord power was generally weakened as its normal lines of control were broken by the conditions of war.

The Japanese imperialists were resisted by armed peasant masses. Where resistance was most successful, the peasant masses were able to use the land abandoned by the landlords to their social advantage. The resistance against Japanese imperialism served as a means for the peasants to assert their power over the land. The armed struggle gave them the power to eliminate the control and influence of the landlords over their land. Many landlords decided to collaborate with the Japanese imperialists. This occasion should have been an opportunity for the entire peasantry to learn that landlordism seeks protection in the bigger power of imperialism, whether American or Japanese. It was, indeed, unfortunate that while they were warding off the excesses and brutality of the newly-come imperialists, they became distracted from the similar nature of U.S. imperialism whose radio broadcasts were blatantly announcing its desire to retake the Philippines and whose motley agents were already scattered throughout the archipelago to keep USAFFE guerrillas waiting for MacArthur. The anti-fascist struggle could have been converted into a struggle against imperialism, both Japanese and American. The cadres of the peasant movement could have exposed the inter-imperialist aspect of the U.S.-Japanese war and alerted the peasantry to the return of U.S. imperialism. They could have spread out throughout the country and developed a reliable anti- imperialist guerrilla movement independent of the U.S.-directed and U.S.-controlled USAFFE. At any rate, through constant struggles against Japanese fascism and its landlord collaborators, the peasantry built up and supported a powerful national liberation army which delivered the most effective blows against the Japanese imperial army in the strategic areas of Central Luzon and Southern Luzon. These areas are strategic because they envelop Manila.

The Return of U.S. Imperialism and Landlordism

When the U.S. imperialists returned in 1945, they immediately attempted to reinstall the landlords in all parts of the archipelago, particularly in Central Luzon and Southern Luzon, where they went to the extent of arresting, imprisoning, coercing and liquidating the peasant leaders and their comrades. They trusted the landlords, including those who had collaborated with the fascist invaders, as their true allies and they were extremely distrustful of peasant guerrillas who were independent of the U.S.-controlled USAFFE. Not only the HUKBALAHAP became the object of U.S. discrimination and abuse after the war but also the independent guerrilla units, of which the exemplary unit of Tomas Confesor in the Visayas was typical. Post-war benefits and backpay went in bulk to prop up the recognized hero-puppets of U.S. imperialism.

Depending on the intelligence provided by the USAFFE, the Counter-Intelligence Corps and the landlords, the U.S. imperialists gave instructions to the Military Police and the Civilian Guards to attack the peasant masses and apprehend their leaders who had valiantly resisted the Japanese imperialists.

An entire squadron of anti-Japanese peasant fighters which accompanied the so-called U.S. liberators from Central Luzon to Manila was disarmed in Manila, driven off on their bare feet and massacred in Bulacan by the Military Police under secret imperialist orders. Peasant leaders were thrown into the same prisons where pro-Japanese puppets were kept. No less than the national chairman of the Pambansang Kaisahan ng Magbubukid was murdered while he was under the protective custody of the Military Police and while he was campaigning for “democratic peace” in the countryside. Eight members of Congress who ran under the Democratic Alliance and who were elected by the overwhelming votes of the organized and class-conscious peasantry were forcibly removed from Congress. All these provocations, which preceded the outbreak of full-scale guerrilla warfare were conducted by U.S. imperialism to clear the way for the complete return of imperialist-landlord control of the Philippines. All these provocations led ultimately to the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus and the unwarranted murder and imprisonment of peasants and their leaders and the antidemocratic crackdown on the Communist Party of the Philippines and such mass organizations as the Pambansang Kaisahan ng mga Magbubukid.

After the expulsion of the peasant-supported Democratic Alliance members of Congress in an all-out abuse of democracy, the Bell Trade Act and the Parity Amendment were ratified, thus formalizing the reestablishment of the imperialist-landlord pattern of trade, free-trade so-called, and the parity rights for U.S. citizens and corporations in the exploitation of our natural resources and the operation of public utilities.

U.S. imperialism, by unilateral choice, retained its military bases at twenty-three strategic points all over the archipelago, maintained the privilege of expanding them and of moving its troops from there, and employed them to exercise coercive influence on the peasantry and the entire Filipino people. Subsequently, the U.S.-R.P. Military Assistance Pact formally sanctioned the subordination of our military to U.S. military officers in the JUSMAG and to the entire system of U.S. military bases, supplies, planning and advice. In our civil service, U.S. advisers continued to control and direct the most strategic offices. In short, U.S. imperialism retained strategic control over the coercive paraphernalia of the Philippine puppet state and over the economic foundation and civil appurtenances of daily political life.

As the landlords and the imperialists cooperated to their mutual advantage in attacking the peasant masses, the latter were compelled to fight back in order to defend their national and democratic rights. The result of the peasant struggle between the years 1946 to 1952 you already know; it is recent history and there are no better sources of information on this struggle than the veteran peasant guerrilla fighters themselves.

At the height of its world power, U.S. imperialism based its forces against the organized peasantry in order to paralyze the backbone of the Filipino nation and make its anti-national and anti-democratic impositions. In order to suppress the organized and class-conscious peasantry, the puppet agencies of U.S. imperialism recruited its troops from the peasantry only to use them against their own brothers in other barrios and towns. Thus, the story of Cabesang Tales and his son Tano or Carolino was again repeated in the ceaseless struggle of the peasantry.

The leadership of the revolutionary mass movement had emerged from the war politically unprepared to expose and fight the return of U.S. imperialism, which was the only power which could under the circumstances effectively help the landlords to retrieve their lands from the patriotic peasantry of Central Luzon and southern Luzon. Instead of exposing and fighting the revolutionary alliances between the landlords and the newly-returned U.S. imperialists who masterminded and gave full arms support to the Military Police and the Civilian Guards, the peasant movement accused the landlords only as pro-Japanese collaborators and failed to direct immediately the main blow against U.S. imperialism. The leadership of the revolutionary mass movement did not expose promptly the fact that the landlords who had been pro-Japanese collaborators became pro-U.S. collaborators. The delay in the exposure of U.S. imperialists gave the landlords the time to consolidate their positions.

The reactionary triumph of U.S. imperialism and feudalism has prolonged the suffering and exploitation of the peasant masses. Our peasant masses continue to suffer from the unfair distribution of land and the exploitative relations between tenant and landlord, unfair sharing of the crop, usury, landlord-controlled rural banks and cooperatives, profiteering middlemen, lack of price support, lack or high cost of fertilizers, irrigation and agricultural machines, inadequacy of extension work and scientific information and the deplorable conditions of the peasant in health, housing, nourishment and education. All of these difficulties and misfortunes are those of the entire nation, our agrarian nation whose numerically dominant class is the peasantry embracing more than 70 percent of our population. The specter of feudalism haunts us to this day and substantially determines the colonial character of our economy.

With the collaboration of U.S. imperialists and Filipino landlords in full swing, we observe that the supremacy of a ruling elite in this country combines the character of imperialism and feudalism. We observe the local supremacy of the comprador-landlord class which is the most benefited by the strategic U.S. control of our national economy and foreign trade. The owners of the sugar, coconut, abaca and other export-crop plantations have benefited the most from that colonial pattern of trade between our raw material exports and manufacture imports from the United States and other capitalist countries.

It was the military power of U.S. imperialism which prevailed over the peasantry in the absence of a prompt anti-imperialist and anti-feudal strategy developed by a peasant-mobilizing party. However, the myth that Ramon Magsaysay “saved democracy” has been created by U.S. imperialist propaganda. While Magsaysay was a successful propaganda weapon of U.S. imperialism and while he was able to confuse even some peasant leaders, it is clear beyond doubt now that he was responsible for the all-out abuse of democracy directed mainly against the peasantry, for thwarting the solution of the land problem by the peasant masses themselves, for the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus and for the brutalities of the sona, village bombardments, mass detainments and murders.

The imperialist version of land reform for which Magsaysay was glorified during his time has gone completely bankrupt. The land resettlement program intended supposedly for the benefit of the landless has only prolonged the life of feudalism in the Philippines. Landlords have taken over far vaster tracts of land in those areas of resettlement and in too many cases, they have even put into question the titles of small settlers. The program of expropriating big landholdings for redistribution to the landless has only been used by the landlords to dispose of their barren and useless lands at an inflated price to the government. The Magsaysay land reform, conducted by the Land Tenure Administration and the NARRA, have failed to improve the condition of the peasantry as the rate of tenancy has risen far beyond 40 percent. The credit system of the ACCFA and the system of FACOMAs have failed to help the tenants and the small farmers and have only been manipulated by the landlords and corrupt bureaucrats for their selfish interests. Agricultural extension workers from the Bureau of Agricultural Extension have always been inadequate. As the imperialist-landlord combination ruled over the country in the 1950s by force of its state power, the reform measures and palliatives proved ineffective in alleviating the condition of the peasantry or in whipping up false illusions. Imperialist and clerical organizations like the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM) and the Federation of Free Farmers also proved ineffective even as propaganda instruments among the peasantry, especially among those who had experienced genuine peasant power.

If the old palliatives become totally useless, an exploiting ruling class looks for new and seemingly better ones. The exposure of the true nature of palliatives is too risky for the ruling class. It must adopt new palliatives designed to meet a possible resurgence of its suppressed adversary. Even as the class-conscious and progressive peasant movement has been quite suppressed since the middle of the fifties, the ruling classes never discount the possibility of an antagonistic resurgence of a peasantry left with no quarter. So, it must make certain concessions even only on paper. Thus, the Agricultural Land Reform Code has been proposed and passed. At the same time a new scheme of “civic action” in the countryside, directed by the JUSMAG and the “counterinsurgency” adviser, has been laid out. This “civic action” in the rural areas is to be coupled with the rural development campaign of the most numerous church.

New Conditions and the Danger of Yankee Monopolization

New conditions have developed making it necessary for U.S. imperialism to exercise direct control of Philippine agriculture. U.S. imperialism is now trying to plant its roots in Philippine agriculture and complete its control of our agrarian economy in the face of the impending termination and renegotiation of the Laurel-Langley Agreement and Parity Amendment. The policy planners of U.S. imperialism are applying the same tricks they applied on Cuba before and after the dissolution of the Platt Amendment—the Cuban version of our parity amendment. In other words, the U.S. imperialists want to preempt the negotiation table by deepening their control of our agrarian economy now. They want to continue parity rights even after the formal termination of the Laurel-Langley Agreement.

The present world condition, especially in Southeast Asia, is forcing U.S. imperialism to prepare the Philippines as a growing ground for agricultural products that it uses directly or are used by Japan, its co-imperialist in the Far East. The Philippines is now being prepared as a reagent in a U.S.-controlled U.S.-Japan axis antagonistic to the anti-imperialist peoples of Asia. If you investigate now the U.S. agrocorporations or the Japanese agrocorporations wanting to develop Philippine agriculture, you will notice how all are commanded by the U.S. cartels and finance institutions, especially the Rockefeller monopoly group. It is certain that the Agricultural Land Reform Code is directed, in its original form as well as in its present form, against old-style landlordism. Had this code in its original version been passed, the statutory retention limit of 25 hectares for landowners who refuse to mechanize and the provisions imposing heavy taxes on undeveloped lands would have severely weakened old-style landlordism. Landlords would have come under greater legal compulsion to mechanize or sell out to those who have capital to mechanize or just cheat the law by delaying it and sabotaging it through a corrupt bureaucracy. The sham liquidation of old-style landlordism is progressive on first impression. But if the vast lands will only be retained or expanded in the hands of those individuals and agrocorporations which have the necessary capital to mechanize, then we will only be developing a new type of feudalism, only in certain parts of the country, and the peasant masses, particularly the landless tenants, would not be benefited at all. The condition of the peasant masses would only be aggravated by land monopolization conducted by private agrocorporations and individual capitalists. Some tenants would be converted into agricultural workers, others would be displaced and thrown out of the farm by the process of mechanization and modern business organization. The small landowners, in due time, would be forced into bankruptcy because of higher production costs per hectare and would not be able to compete with the large plantations which maintain more economic operations. Even the rich peasants who produce more than enough for their households to be able to sell in the market would be eventually eased out by lower prices of crops produced by the modern plantations. A modern plantation economy in the Philippines will convert a relatively few Filipino peasants into wage-earners but will displace many more tenants whom it will not be able to employ promptly and in sufficient number in industrial centers made even more efficient by automation. An efficient plantation economy in the Philippines will become more of an appendage to foreign monopoly-capitalism. The Philippines will be farther from an even and well-proportioned industrial development.

Since only U.S. firms are now in a financial position in the Philippines to invest in Philippine agriculture, as our own Filipino industrialists are themselves credit-starved (now much more in the case of old-style landlord!) because of decontrol and other restrictive conditions, the process of land monopolization would become more detrimental to the entire Filipino people. The superprofits to be derived from these enterprises would be continuously repatriated and unemployment would increase faster. U.S. firms and subsidiaries are even under instruction now by the U.S. government to prevent the outflow of dollars from the United States by getting credit from local sources in the Philippines. It is a widely perceived fact that U.S. projects and so-called joint ventures are utilizing the resources of such institutions as Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), Social Security System (SSS), Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) and others, thus depriving the Filipino investors themselves of much-needed credit. Modern landlordism under the control of Esso, Dole, United Fruit, Philippine Packing Corporation, Goodyear, Firestone and other U.S. monopoly firms which have had the experience of ravaging Latin America is no better than the old type of landlordism.

At the present moment, we can already see how vast tracts of land have been alienated from our national patrimony by giant U.S. firms under so-called “grower” or “planting” agreements with government corporations like the National Development Company and the Mindanao Development Authority. Despite the constitutional limitation that no private corporations shall hold more than 1,024 hectares, the Philippine Packing Corporation and the Dole Corporation have separately taken hold of 8,195 hectares and 5,569 hectares, respectively, through a “grower” agreement with the National Development Company and they are supposed to hold on to these lands, with option to expand at any time, for long stretches of periods well beyond this generation and beyond 1974 when parity rights will have terminated.

The United Fruit deal involving the alienation of 10,000 hectares of highly developed public lands and the project to segregate 50,000 hectares at the Mt. Apo National Park Reservation for delivery to U.S. firms through the NDC during the Macapagal administration are convincing manifestations of a new plan U.S. imperialism has for the Philippines.

The Dole takeover of 5,569 hectares of homestead lands in Cotabato is a clear negation of the owner-cultivatorship objective of the Agricultural Land Reform Code. This particular takeover for pineapple plantation and other commercial crops has adversely affected rice production in Cotabato by reducing severely the area devoted to rice.

That U.S. imperialism is literally planting itself in Philippine soil is very evident in several other moves, which were definitely made after decontrol and the approval of the five-year socioeconomic program of Macapagal. Means for higher productivity in agriculture have been set up confidently by U.S. firms. Esso has put up a $30 million fertilizer plant which maintains a strategic role. International Harvester, including Japanese farm machinery firms, are also optimistic that they will provide the implements and machines for large-scale farms. In the long run, these modern means for higher productivity can rise in price in such a way that the big plantations, because they buy them in bulk and use them more economically and profitably, will squeeze out the owner-cultivators from the field of production and marketing. Control and ownership of fertilizer production alone provides U.S. imperialism a powerful leverage with which to squeeze out the leaseholders, the owner-cultivators and even the rich peasants.

The U.S. government has conveniently made use of the World Bank to encourage agricultural education in order to provide the necessary technical support for U.S. plantations. The tested U.S. marionette, Carlos P. Romulo, was reassigned to the University of the Philippines in order to pay special attention to the receipt of a $6.0 million loan from the World Bank for Los Banos and the procurement of P21 million from the Philippine Congress as counterpart fund. Romulo’s field of operation has been expanded by the Marcos administration in apparent concession to U.S. imperialism, by making him secretary of education. Twenty-eight million dollars of the belated $73 million in war damage payments is about to be rolled out to sustain a land reform education program to be controlled directly by the U.S. government in accordance with the Johnson-Macapagal communique of 1964. This amount is expected by the reactionaries to subvert the revolutionary peasant movement. At the moment, there is a splurge of U.S. activity in the countryside through a multifarious array of agencies such as U.S. Agency for International Development (AID), Philippine Agency for Community Development (PACD), Freedom Fighters, Peace Corps, World Neighbors, Esso, Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM), CDRC, CAP, AGR, COAR, ACCI, FHD, IRRI, Operation Brotherhood, CARE, DND and Special Forces, which are directly controlled by the U.S. embassy through JUSMAG and the “counterinsurgency” adviser.

Also, improvement of U.S. military bases in the South cannot but mean securing Mindanao for U.S. agrocorporations. Within the Dole plantation area, underground missile launchers are supposed to have been set up. These are bases apparently prepared to strengthen U.S. aggression in Southeast Asia. Nevertheless, they can very well serve to protect U.S. agrocorporations producing crops that the United States may in the near future never be able to get from neighboring countries because of the rise of anti- imperialist movements in the region. It is highly significant that large rubber plantations are being prepared in Mindanao today. Aside from serving the needs of U.S. imperialism, technical crops are also intended to serve the needs of Japan.

The narrow foreign policy of the Philippines, which has been chiefly geared to the so-called special relations with the United States, is expected to trap land reform in the vise of U.S. agrocorporations and of U.S. global economic policy in general. The obvious lack of funds in the National Treasury has been used as an occasion to call for “land reform” loans from U.S.-controlled financing institutions like the World Bank, AID, IMF, and others. The Land Bank and the Agricultural Credit Association are bound to be controlled by the U.S. finance system.

The Agricultural Land Reform Code

The Agricultural Land Reform Code claims to seek the abolition of tenancy and the establishment of owner-cultivatorship as the basis of Philippine agriculture. It is supposed to help the small farmers, especially those with economic family-size farms, to be free from pernicious institutional restraints and practices to build a viable social productivity and higher farm income. Aside from expropriation and land redistribution, land resettlement and public land distribution are also proposed by the code. A whole chapter of the code is devoted to provisions guaranteeing the application of all labor laws equally to both industrial and agricultural wage-earners.

For the purpose of giving lands to the landless and to those who have less than enough for their respective families, a leasehold system is to be set up as the first step towards self-reliance. The national Land Reform Council, composed of the representatives of all land reform agencies and of the political party in the minority, is supposed to proclaim an area as a land reform area before its inhabitants can enjoy the leasehold system wherein the tenant becomes a leaseholder paying only 25 percent of the average of three previous annual harvests as rent to the landowner.

That only some Filipino tenants can enjoy the rent of 25 percent upon the proclamation made by the National Land Reform Council is quite puzzling to those who are convinced that such rent may as well be paid in common by all tenants to landowners all over the country by general proclamation. This general proclamation should not even carry the pretentious claim that it abolishes tenancy and replaces it with the leasehold system. For after all, both terms “tenancy” and “leasehold system,” although the former sounds more pejorative, means essentially the burden of paying rent.

The Code says that the National Land Reform Council can proclaim a land reform area only after it has considered the nature and possibilities of the proposed land reform area in accordance with priorities set by the code. It is in the consideration of these priorities and other factors that land reform in favor of the peasant masses can be delayed indefinitely, derailed and sabotaged. It is in the consideration of these priorities that the bureaucrats in the land reform agencies will find more affinity with the landlord and imperialist interests which have plans opposed to those of the poor peasants on the same tract of land.

The very idea that the NLRC may proclaim a land reform area only where the leaseholders have a good chance of developing into owner-cultivators is obviously self-defeating and deceptive. Among the several factors that must be considered in the choice of a land reform area are its “suitability for economic family-size farms,” which is unfortunately defined by the code as a “situation where a parcel of land whose characteristics such as climate, soil, topography, availability of water and location, will support a farm family if operated in economic family-size farm units and does not include those where large-scale operations will result in greater production and more efficient use of the land.” This matter of “suitability” is taken into consideration even as the leaseholders can always petition the Land Authority to acquire the leaseholdings for redistribution to them.

On the question of suitability, before any proclamation is made by the NLRC in favor of prospective leaseholders and owner-cultivators, the landlord can easily preempt altogether the leasehold system and expropriation proceedings by asserting that large-scale operations by himself on his land will result in greater production and more efficient use. The question can be reduced to a question of legal definition pure and simple by the landlord, or he can actually start what may be termed as “large-scale operations” on his land in order to prevent either the question of rent reduction or expropriation from being raised. What is absurd is that the prospect of large-scale operations by cooperatives of owner-cultivators on the same tract of land is preempted among other things by the landlord.

To evade the leasehold system and possible expropriation proceedings, the landlord has simply to mechanize, to engage in “large-scale” operations such as sugar planting, or to plant permanent trees like citrus, coconuts, cacao, coffee, durian, rubber and others. In Central Luzon and other parts of the country, the landlords are converting their rice lands into sugar lands. In the years to come, this will continue to deal a telling blow on our rice production. In Southern Luzon, those working in coconut, citrus, abaca and coffee lands as tenants are complaining and asking why they are not benefited by land reform. Those who work on fishponds and saltbeds have the same complaint of not being within the purview of land reform.

To pursue the discussion as to how the landlord can evade expropriation, let us assume that he NLRC does unilaterally and successfully proclaim land reform over a certain area. The Land Authority—the implementing arm of the council—will still have to subject its acquisitions to the following order of priorities: idle or abandoned lands; those whose area exceeds 1,024 hectares, those whose area ranges between 500 and 1,024 hectares; those whose area ranges between 144 and 500 hectares; those whose area ranges between 75 and 144 hectares. The Philippine government is obviously making a big joke by saying that it wishes to exhaust its financial resources on idle or abandoned lands which are in most cases too expensive to develop. The poor peasant cannot afford to develop such kind of land and it is simply futile for the government to purchase this.

The statutory limit of 75 hectares that a landowner can retain is big enough to perpetuate landlordism in the Philippines. Besides, a landlord can easily retain many times more than this size so long as he has enough members of his family to distribute it to. Another course of action for the landlord is to own land in many different places and keeping to the statutory limit of 75 hectares in each place. In the Agricultural Land Reform Code, there are no plugs to these loopholes.

The landlord has so many defenses to preempt the expropriation of his property. But, little is it realized that a landlord might actually offer to sell his land to the Land Authority. Because, according to the order of priorities, in the acquisition of lands by the Land Authority, idle or abandoned lands are to be purchased first. So long as the landlord can demand “just compensation” or even an overprice, he can always strike at a private bargain with the government appraiser. After getting the payment for his expropriated property, he can always acquire private lands elsewhere or public lands to perpetuate his class status. It can be said conclusively at this juncture that the Agricultural Land Reform Code allows the perpetuation of landlordism in the country. The landlords are not hindered but even encouraged to seize public lands already tilled by the national minorities and small settlers in frontier areas.

The ability of the Land Authority to relieve deep agrarian unrest and provide the landlords with “just compensation” would depend on the adequacy of funds in the Land Bank. It is already clear that the government is reluctant to make an actual release of funds to the Land Bank. The financial crisis of U.S. imperialism and all its running dogs is something to be seriously reckoned with. Even if funds of whatever enormity are to be released, these could be gobbled up by only a few landlords and bureaucrats. Past experience clearly shows that the bureaucrats and landlords collude in fixing a high price for lands that the latter are willing to part with. The result is that the landlords have more funds to acquire more lands and the poor peasants can never afford the redistribution price exacted by the government.

Except in the change in name, the Agricultural Credit Administration, is no different from its corrupt and inadequate predecessor, the ACCFA. The Commission on Agricultural Productivity is also nothing but a new name for the old Bureau of Agricultural Extension; it is nothing but an ill-manned and indolent bureaucratic agency of the ESFAC. The landlords have always used these agencies more to their advantage than the poor peasants.
There will be more severe contradictions between the peasant masses and the landlord class. The contradictions will arise from the given conditions of these classes as well as from the interpretation of the Agricultural Land Reform Code.

These contradictions are supposed to be resolved by the Court of Agrarian Relations if ever they become formal legal disputes. The Office of Agrarian Counsel is supposed to provide free legal assistance to individual peasants and peasant organizations. But judges and government lawyers are themselves landlords, landgrabbers and land speculators. Behind the facade of populist expressions, they support the landlord system.

It is relevant to cite the fact that when the Agricultural Land Reform Bill was being drafted in Malacanang and discussed in Congress, there was no representative of the peasantry there—particularly the poor peasantry—who was conscious of the class interests of the peasantry and who would have fought for those class interests. What happened, therefore, in the absence of direct political representatives of the peasant masses, was that the political representatives of the landlords and the imperialists had all the chance to finalize the bill according to their class interest and provided themselves all the escape clauses.

The Agricultural Land Reform Code will not solve the land problem. As a matter of fact, it will only aggravate the dispossession of the peasantry and intensify unjust relations between the landlord class and the peasantry. The beautiful phrases in the code in favor of the landless are immediately nullified by provisions which in the realm of reality will be taken advantage of by the landlord class.

What Is To Be Done?

For the activists of national democracy there is no substitute to going to the countryside and making concrete social investigation in order to determine the oppression and exploitation imposed on the peasantry by the landlord class.

There is no point in making a rural investigation if the facts learned from the masses are not analyzed and processed into terms for basic comprehension of problems as well as solutions. The activists of national democracy should show to the peasants, especially those who have no land at all and those who do not have enough land, the essence of their suffering and arouse them to solve their own problem.

In the present era only the peasant masses can liberate themselves provided they follow the correct leadership of the working class and its party. It is senseless to put trust in laws made by the landlords themselves no matter how gaudily they may wear the garments of bourgeois reformism.

The concrete step that can be immediately taken by the activists of national democracy is to organize peasant associations dedicated to fighting for the democratic rights of the peasantry. The present laws may be used to some extent but if they are not enough, as practice has borne out, then the peasant masses themselves will decide to take more effective measures, including armed revolution.

The activists of national democracy who go to the countryside should exert all efforts to arouse and mobilize the peasant masses into breaking the chains that have bound them for centuries. Agrarian revolution provides the powerful base for the national-democratic revolution. #
 

     
     
     
Notes on the National Fact-Finding Report
     
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 



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