• 6 AUGUST - *1907 - Gen. Macario Sakay, one of the Filipino military leaders who had continued fighting the imperialist United States invaders eight years into the Ph...
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Comelec setting stage for anarchy 04/17/2010

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Comelec setting stage for anarchy


04/17/2010

The Commission on Elections (Comelec)’s refusal to throw out the provisions of its latest Resolution 8804 which robs election stakeholders their right to contest election returns and question canvassing results may well lead to an anarchic situation right on polling day.

Candidates, poll watchers and even voters may well go to the streets on May 10 unless Comelec withdraws its latest restrictions on voters’ rights, said the Center for People Empowerment in Governance (CenPEG) in a statement issued to the media yesterday.

Prof. Bobby Tuazon, CenPEG director for policy studies, said the poll body’s removal of defective election returns (ERs) as ground for a pre-proclamation complaint, effectively takes away a legal remedy available to aggrieved election parties. Rubbing salt to the injury, he added, is limiting the grounds for pre-proclamation legal controversies to only two issues -- on the composition of the Board of Canvassers (BoC) and on its proceedings.... MORE


SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100417hed1.html

Pinoy sentenced to death in Saudi for killing landlord By Michaela P. del Callar 04/17/2010

Pinoy sentenced to death in Saudi for killing landlord


By Michaela P. del Callar
04/17/2010

A Filipino worker was meted the death penalty by a Saudi court for allegedly killing his Sudanese landlord in June 2009, a migrant worker group yesterday said.

“We have received the information direct from the jailed overseas Filipino worker himself who has been in contact with us from his cell a few months back asking for assistance. The same information has been confirmed by his family in Manila that has sought assistance as well from our group, Migrante International,” said John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator, who declined to disclose the identity of the Filipino.
The Department of Foreign Affairs said it has yet to confirm the report.

The Filipino, known by the name “Joseph,” 30, is a native of Mexico, Pampanga, and was deployed to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in October 2008 as a tile setter. He has been in Malaz Central Jail in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia since June 2009.

Monterona said the Filipino admitted killing his landlord in self-defense.... MORE


SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20100417hed6.html

Double standard EDITORIAL 04/17/2010

Double standard



EDITORIAL
Click to enlarge
04/17/2010

Fair is fair and there shouldn’t be any double standard being applied by either Liberal Party (LP) standard bearer, Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino or Nacionalista Party (NP) presidential bet Sen. Manuel “Manny” Villar, along with their respective propagandists, including propagandists who are in the media, who pass themselves off as columnists and broadcast program hosts.

Noynoy, his spokesman and his propagandists have accused Villar of having lied about his being poor through his advertisements that even featured his dead brother. They have also accused Villar of land grabbing issues as well as using his power, position and money to benefit his realty business and make even more money for himself.... MORE


SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100417com1.html

No changes forthcoming FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 04/17/2010

No changes forthcoming



FRONTLINE
Ninez Cacho-Olivares
04/17/2010

Liberal Party (LP) bets led by Noynoy Aquino and Mar Roxas pledge to bring about change, should they win Malacañang in May. But that really is an empty pledge that is always being made by most, if not all, politicians and candidates because even as they make that promise of ushering in a dramatic change in government, such as doing away with corruption and even improving the lives of the poor, they also know that they can’t bring these changes about as the only change will be a change of faces — and at that, maybe even no change in faces from the current administration — at least in the case of a Noynoy Aquino presidency — should he ever win, which is doubted.

And it is doubted because, for one, the LP lacks the machinery needed to get the votes going. Sure the yellows have the yellow media rooting for the LP presidential tandem, as evidenced by their bias as well as their penchant for killing negative stories on Noynoy and Mar, and coming up with all the positive and exaggerated reports on him and his team, but not even the media can get the electorate to go out and vote for their yellow bets.
.... MORE


SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100417com2.html

Ankara looms large over Turkish Cypriot election focus 04/17/2010

Ankara looms large over Turkish Cypriot election



focus

04/17/2010

KYRENIA — Whoever emerges victorious from this weekend’s election in the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Ankara’s writ will still hold sway in the breakaway statelet, analysts believe.

The new Turkish Cypriot leader’s room for manoeuvre will very much depend on Turkey’s own policy towards EU member Cyprus at a time when it too aspires to join the European Union, they say.

For Turkish Cypriot voters, the choice on Sunday boils down to two men.

Incumbent Mehmet Ali Talat, 58, wants a reunified Cyprus and is seeking a second five-year term. His rival is nationalist Prime Minister Dervis Eroglu, 71, a veteran politician who leads by 10 percentage points in opinion polls.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops occupied its northern third in response to an Athens-engineered Greek Cypriot coup aimed at uniting the island with Greece.... MORE


SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20100417com3.html

Temporary Suspension of Job Orders, a Partial Victory for Victims of Annasban By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO

Temporary Suspension of Job Orders, a Partial Victory for Victims of Annasban

By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
Bulatlat.com


“A temporary suspension of all job orders coming from Annasban has been imposed by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) since Monday,” Migrante International chairperson Garry Martinez told Bulatlat. Migrante is the largest alliance of OFWs. Migrante has been actively campaigning for the victims of Annasban and other exploited OFWs as well.

The Annasban group is a leading supplier of manpower services in Saudi Arabia with migrant workers mostly coming from developing countries like the Philippines, India and Bangladesh. The top management of the company comes from the powerful AnNasban clan. In a report provided by Migrante International, the AnNasban clan is believed to have strong connections with the top bureaucrats of the Ministry of Labor of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA).

This is not the first time that Annasban was issued a temporary suspension order. Because of numerous complaints, the POEA first issued a suspension order against Al Nasban Trading and Contracting on November 25, 2005. The said suspension was lifted on August 21, 2008 after Labor Attache Rustico dela Fuente commended Annasban for reforming its system.

However, during the almost three years that the suspension was supposedly in effect, the Migrant Assistance Committee of Migrante was able to document 176 cases of OFWs who sought repatriation because of problems in their contract with Annasban. After the suspension was lifted, more cases involving Annasban were documented....MORE 

___________

URL: http://www.bulatlat.com/main/2010/04/17/temporary-suspension-of-job-orders-a-partial-victory-for-victims-of-annasban/

Sison: ‘Noynoy Is Now the New Puppet of US Imperialism’ By D. L. MONDELO Bulatlat.com

Sison: ‘Noynoy Is Now the New Puppet of US Imperialism’

By D. L. MONDELO
Bulatlat.com


Below is the follow-up interview by Bulatlat.com with Jose Maria Sison, chief political consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.
 
Our interview on the 2010 elections last week attracted a great deal of attention from the top mass media in Manila and elicited reactions from certain major political quarters. First of all, what do you think of the reaction of presidential spokesman Gary Olivar? He said to the effect that because you had expressed support for Manny Villar you accepted the existing ruling system and that you would be amenable to a peace agreement without any revolutionary change. 

JMS: The presidential spokesman should read carefully the full text of the interview in Bulatlat. I described the ruling system as one in need of basic social reforms and revolutionary change because the system is run by the oppressive and exploitative forces of foreign monopoly capitalism, domestic feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism.

I referred to the 2010 elections as one dominated by the big compradors and landlords. I did not endorse the ruling system and I made clear that all the major presidential candidates, including Noynoy Aquino and Manny Villar, are competing to become the chief representative of the same rotten system, which I described as semicolonial and semifeudal.

I merely compared the two top presidential contenders, Aquino and Villar, in answer to your specific question. Indeed, Villar offers the relatively better program by promising land reform and self-reliant food production, expansion of local manufacturing to generate employment, support for small and middle entrepreneurs, conservation of natural resources, ecological protection, peace negotiations, respect for human rights, indemnification of the victims of human rights violations, review of the Visiting Forces Agreement and an independent foreign policy.

What about the reaction of Edwin Lacierda, the spokesman of Noynoy Aquino? He said that because you support Villar he is therefore supported by the Communist Party of the Philippines, the New People’s Army and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines. He went further to claim that you and therefore the CPP, NPA and the NDFP were responsible for the protest demonstration of peasants and farm workers in front of the residence of Noynoy Aquino. 

JMS: The non sequiturs are plenty and amazing. The spin doctor of Noynoy Aquino is as maliciously way off the mark as the spin doctor of Gloria M. Arroyo. I am just the chief political consultant of the NDFP in peace negotiations with the reactionary Manila government. I never said that I represented the CPP, NPA and NDFP in making a comparison between Manny Villar and Noynoy Aquino.

The Nonoy Aquino camp should not dismiss the series of injustices done to the peasants and farm workers of Hacienda Luisita as the handwork of communists. Noynoy Aquino should not hide behind cheap Red-baiting. The Cojuangco-Aquino family to which Noynoy Aquino belongs has long exploited the peasants and farm workers and has prevented land reform through the swindle called stock distribution option.

Worst of all, the bodyguards of Noynoy himself participated in the Hacienda Luisita massacre. Noynoy has continuously used Red baiting tactics to cover up the murderous collaboration of the Arroyo regime and his own security agency in the Hacienda Luisita massacre and the subsequent murders in Tarlac. He aggravates his dishonesty by topping his consistent violent opposition to land reform with the patently false promise of carrying it out in 2014.

Cory Aquino has been praised for championing land reform and specifically for the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP)? Was she truly a champion of land reform? How would you compare her land reform program with that of Marcos? How important is the question of land reform? 

JMS: Both Ferdinand Marcos and Cory Aquino were engaged in bogus land reform programs in their respective times. Thus, up to now, the land problem persists. Millions of tillers own no land. Land is concentrated in the hands of a few landlords and agri-corporations. Feudal and semifeudal exploitation runs rampant throughout the country.

Marcos pretended to use the police power of the state in the name of social justice to carry out the expropriation of landlord estates producing rice and corn. But of course the bogus land reform program of Marcos did not solve the land problem because the bureaucrats and landlords combined against the tenants to raise the value of rice and corn land and in the meantime the biggest landlords and agri-corporations continued to accumulate land.

The bogus land reform program called CARP was even worse than that of Marcos. Under the Aquino constitution of 1987, the social justice issue of land reform was reduced to a real estate business matter. The issue of land reform was subordinated to the malevolent principles of voluntary sale by the landlord, current market value as the meaning of just compensation and evasion of land reform through the stock distribution option and conversion or reclassification of the land as non-agricultural.

I consider land reform as decisively important. If genuine and thoroughgoing, it means the socio-economic and political liberation of tens of millions of peasants and farm workers. It is the fulfillment of the main content of the unfinished democratic revolution. It lays the ground for a just and lasting peace. When combined with national industrialization, it paves the way for a great advance in economic and social development.

Is it not good for the revolutionary movement that Aquino becomes president so that it would have a clear target for arousing, organizing and mobilizing the masses along the line of fighting for national liberation and democracy? In the previous interview, you indicated what are the policies that Aquino would pursue against the Filipino people. Will you explain further? 

JMS: I presume that in the first place the revolutionary movement would like to see a president of the rotten ruling system who is amenable to holding serious negotiations and making agreements on basic social, economic and political reforms in order to address the roots of the armed conflict and pave the way for a just and lasting peace. But I also presume that if such a president does not emerge, the revolutionary movement is more justified than ever in pursuing the people’s war.

Together with his vice presidential candidate, Noynoy Aquino is known to be the candidate most favored by big foreign and local businessmen because he is most determined to pursue the same US-dictated policies of the Arroyo regime, such as neoliberal globalization and the global war of terror. In concrete terms, neoliberal globalization means allowing the foreign investors to plunder the country and prevent national industrialization and land reform. The global war of terror means allowing US military forces to violate the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Philippines.

Noynoy Aquino is surrounded by agents of the US and the Arroyo regime who have been major partners of Arroyo in adopting and implementing policies that are detrimental to the national and democratic rights and interests of the Filipino people and that have plunged the country into a grave crisis of high unemployment, extreme poverty, soaring prices of basic commodities, deteriorating social services, ever widening trade and budgetary deficits and ever mounting tax and debt burden.

Noynoy Aquino would be extremely helpful to the revolutionary movement if he would become president and pursue basically the same US-dictated policies of the Arroyo regime and thus become the target of the people’s opprobrium. Probably, the mass movement that fell short of overthrowing Arroyo would be further outraged and gain enough strength to overthrow the new puppet of US imperialism.

You said Manny Villar has a relatively better program than Noynoy Aquino. At the same time, you pointed out that it has been underplayed. Can you guarantee that if Villar became president, he would fulfill the promises that he makes in his program? Do you incur any liability by saying now that he has a program better than Aquino? 

JMS: No, I cannot guarantee whether Villar will fulfill his promises or not. Manny Villar has his own free will and political will. He is responsible for his own motivations and actions.

As a political observer, I can only compare what appear now on paper as the programs of Villar and Aquino. People will respond to Villar accordingly, whether he fulfills his promises or not.

Is it true that Aquino is honest and is not corrupt? 

JMS: Noynoy Aquino is honestly a rabid and violent defender of the big comprador-landlord class interests of the Cojuangco-Aquino family. But he is certainly dishonest when he denies the extreme exploitation of the farm workers and peasants in Hacienda Luisita, the swindling done with the use of the stock distribution option and the violence committed by the military and his own security personnel.

People other than me have pointed out the corruption of Kamag-Anak Inc. in which Noynoy has been a co-beneficiary and which supports him now. While his mother was president, he got contracts from government agencies for his security agency. While he was a congressman and senator for so long, he filed only a handful of bills (none becoming a law) and collected huge sums of public money. This is a manifestation of sloth, incompetence and corruption.

Who is more competent and more accomplished? Villar or Aquino? 

JMS: In terms of service in the reactionary government, Villar is by far more competent and accomplished. He was active and productive in legislative work and became Speaker of the House and Senate President. Noynoy was a noynoy (no accomplishment) in legislative work. Aquino was also a noynoy in business in comparison to Villar. I need not repeat the rags to riches story.

Who do you think will win the presidential race? 

JMS: It is difficult to say. And for the moment I will not dare say. It is still either Aquino or Villar. I have just been informed that money has been flowing heavily to the Aquino side from big foreign and local businessmen for the purpose of stepping up anti-Villar propaganda and buying those who deliver the votes at various levels. Villar does not have a monopoly on money. There is more money from the moneybags in the foreign chambers of commerce and the Makati Business Club.

Whoever becomes president, shall there be peace negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines? 

JMS: Because of the worsening socio-economic and political crisis of the ruling system, I presume that whoever shall be president of the GRP shall seek peace negotiations with the NDFP. It is the lookout of the new president who would overestimate the strength of the state and its coercive apparatuses and underestimate the crisis and the growing strength of the revolutionary movement. But as I pointed out in our interview last week, both Villar and Aquino have already expressed their willingness to negotiate with the NDFP.

Is the NDFP already preparing for the resumption of the peace negotiations? But why is the New People’s Army intensifying its armed offensives? 

JMS: The NDFP is already preparing for the resumption of the peace negotiations. Consultations regarding this are going on among the NDFP panelists, consultants, the Philippine-based leading organs of the CPP and NDFP. The NDFP negotiating panel is in frequent touch with the Norwegian government as third party facilitator. As soon as a new president is elected, whoever he is, the NDFP is willing to receive his emissary,

The best explanations of why the NPA is intensifying tactical offensives can be found in the messages of the CPP Central Committee to the CPP rank and file last December 26, 2010 and to the NPA Red commanders and fighters last March 29, 2010. These messages are available in the website www.philippinerevolution.net.
The people’s war is going on precisely because of the escalating oppression and exploitation of the Filipino people by the US and the local exploiting classes. The revolutionary forces are thus striving to advance from the strategic defensive to the strategic stalemate. (Bulatlat.com)

_________

(Reprinted with permission from Bulatlat.com)

URL: http://www.bulatlat.com/main/2010/04/17/sison-noynoy-is-now-the-new-puppet-of-us-imperialism/

Rights Body to Initiate Contempt Raps vs Military for Failing to Produce Morong 43 RONALYN V. OLEA and ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL Bulatlat.com

Rights Body to Initiate Contempt Raps vs Military for Failing to Produce Morong 43


RONALYN V. OLEA and ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
Bulatlat.com

“For the second time, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) failed to produce the 43 health workers at a hearing conducted by the Commission on Human Rights (CHR).

The 43 health workers or the Morong 43 were arrested February 6 in Morong, Rizal. They are detained at Camp Capinpin. The Morong 43 filed charges of human rights violations against soldiers and policemen involved in their arrest and detention.

Ser-men Ayuyao of Judge Advocate General’s Office (Jago) insisted during the CHR hearing today April 12 that they need to secure an order from the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Morong to bring the 43 health workers to the CHR hearing. Ayuyao said that since the court ordered the transfer of the Morong 43 to Camp Crame, the AFP was not able to ask clearance from the RTC.

“We do not need any prior authority to compel the appearance of detainees in CHR’s hearings,” CHR Chairwoman Leila de Lima said.

De Lima said the directive to produce the Morong 43 is directed to the AFP or the Philippine National Police and with or without a court order, the institutions must comply.
Romeo T. Capulong, lead counsel of the Morong 43, said the authorization from civil courts is totally unnecessary given the mandate of the CHR.

Contempt
 
“There is no earnest effort on the part of the AFP to comply with the order,” de Lima said.


Atty. Ser-men Ayuyao of Judge Advocate General’s Office (Photo by Raymund B. Villanueva / Kodao Productions / bulatlat.com)
The respondents filed petitions with the Court of Appeals to stop the CHR from further proceeding with its hearings on the arrest of Morong 43. The AFP claimed that the CHR has no jurisdiction to proceed with the case, citing the subjudice rule. The rule states that when a legal matter or controversy is under the jurisdiction of a court (subjudice), nobody, including the press should interfere by publishing statements or commentaries regarding the court’s handling of the proceedings.

“The CHR will not renege on its mandate under the Constitution. You have been testing our patience,” de Lima said. “We will initiate the appropriate contempt orders,” the CHR chairwoman added.

De Lima said that the March 19 order of the CHR is also directed to the high-ranking officers of both the AFP and PNP. “We can also hold them accountable,” she said.

Commissioner Cecilia Quisumbing said the decision to cite the AFP and PNP in contempt would be made by ithe Commission en banc.




No Show
 
Even the respondents to the complaint did not show up at the hearing. Only the lawyers of the AFP and PNP were present.


P/Supt. Allan Nubleza, chief of the Rizal Provincial Intelligence Branch (Photo by Raymund B. Villanueva/Kodao Productions / bulatlat.com)
Brig. Gen. Jorge Segovia, Col. Aurelio Balabad, commander of the 202nd Infantry Brigade and Lt. Col. Jaime Abawag, commander of the 16th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army, P/Supt. Marion Balonglong of the Rizal Provincial Police were among the respondents.

Arthur Llamas, counsel of the PNP, said Balonglong has another appointment. When asked what appointment it was, Llamas said he did not know.

State Prosecutor II Romeo Senson who subjected the Morong 43 to inquest proceedings without the presence of lawyers also did not attend the hearing.

Judge Cesar Mangrobang who issued the search warrant also did not show up. Cyrus Jurado who claims to represent the five of the 43 health workers, was also not present. Both Mangrobang and Jurado submitted a manifestation that they will not comply with the CHR order.

No Ground Commander?
 
P/Supt. Allan Nubleza, chief of the Rizal Provincial Intelligence Branch, appeared before the hearing. He told the CHR that he would leave tomorrow for United Nations peacekeeping mission in Kosovo.

Dr. Melecia Velmonte, owner of the farmhouse in Morong, Rizal (Photo by Raymund B. Villanueva / Kodao Productions / bulatlat.com)
Nubleza denied he was the ground commander of the Feb. 6 operations that led to the arrest of the 43 health workers, contrary to what Balonglong said during the first hearing of the CHR. He said he was there together with his team to evaluate the suspects and verify who among them have standing warrants of arrest. Nubleza admitted that it was only later that he found out that one of the Morong 43 has a standing warrant of arrest. He said the AFP informed him that two of the Morong 43 were involved in a January 2009 ambush in Bgy. Macabud, Rodriguez, Rizal.

“Who was in charge?” asked de Lima. Nubleza said the PNP was in charge of the search warrant. As for the arrest, Nubleza said he did not know. He also said he was only there in his capacity as head of the provincial police intelligence branch.

Still No Mario Condes, ‘Dubious Firearms’
 
Dr. Melecia Velmonte, owner of the farmhouse that was raided and her son Jose Manuel testified before the CHR and said they knew no one by the name of Mario Condes.

Mario Condes is the name written in the search warrant.

Jose Manuel Velmonte (Photo by Raymund B. Villanueva / Kodao Productions / bulatlat.com)
Jose Manuel said they have a neighbor by the name of Masikat Condez who has a property 300 or 400 meters away from their farmhouse.

Dr. Velmonte recalled the incident on Feb. 6 and said the armed men who did the raid never approached her.
“The improvised landmine appeared to be an improvised trash can,” Jose Manuel told the CHR.

Jose Manuel also noted that grenades were allegedly found on top of a bed, on top of the table and other places which he described as conspicuous, adding that he would not know if these were real.
Jose Manuel also said their LCD projector, which was used during the training is missing. He also said that he noticed one soldier carrying a bag containing laptops after the official search.


Statement from Prison

“We are the victims of gross human rights violations wrought by the AFP, Norberto Gonzales, and the Arroyo administration’s political desperation and fanatic goal of ending the insurgency at all costs even to the extent of trampling civilian rights and the rule of law,” the Morong 43 said in a statement from detention.
They said further that five of their companions were “deceitfully and forcefully removed from the detention center and are being forced to cooperate with the military for the latter’s propaganda purposes and to testify against us.”

“Questioning, threatening and deceitful offers of house and lot, money and freedom in exchange for military “cooperation” by our military captors continued at the detention center anytime of the day until the last week of February,” they said.

The detainees said they were photographed by the military captors when going to court hearings and are videotaped when government officials visit them.
The CHR set the next hearing next week. (Bulatlat.com)

URL: http://www.bulatlat.com/main/2010/04/12/rights-body-to-initiate-contempt-raps-vs-military-for-failing-to-produce-morong-43/

Hacienda Luisita Farmers, Students March to Noynoy’s Home to Demand For Justice By PAULINE GIDGET R. ESTELLA

Hacienda Luisita Farmers, Students March to Noynoy’s Home to Demand For Justice


By PAULINE GIDGET R. ESTELLA
Bulatlat.com

MANILA – Less than a month before the elections, more than 70 Hacienda Luisita farmers and students from the University of the Philippines (UP) stormed presidential candidate Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III’s house on April 14, demanding justice for the “martyrs” of the 2004 Hacienda Luisita massacre.
Carrying a makeshift black coffin and “bloodstained” yellow ribbons, the protesters marched along Times Street, where houses bear yellow banderitas and cars with yellow ribbon stickers. Later they proceeded to the Department of Agrarian Reform to hold a program.
“The decades of exploitation and continued reign of the Cojuango-Aquino family inside the hacienda are already too long, and will continue for another six years if Noynoy is proclaimed president,” read the April 14 joint statement of the United Luisita Workers’ Union (ULWU) and the Kabataan Partylist-UP Diliman, which organized the protest action with Katipunan ng mga Sangguniang Mag-aaral sa UP (Kasama sa UP), Alyansa ng mga Manggagawang Bukid sa Luisita and MARTYR, an organization of farmers and victims of the Hacienda Luisita massacre.
Hacienda Luisita, a 6,419-hectare property of the Cojuangco family, is composed of 10 barangays and the Central Azucarera de Tarlac (CAT), the second largest sugar mill in the country. On Nov. 16, 2004, seven striking farm workers were killed and more than a hundred wounded in a violent dispersal in front of the hacienda gate.
Hacienda Luisita was supposedly subjected to land reform in 1989 under Cojuangco heir President Corazon Cojuangco-Aquino. However, under the Stock Distribution Option (SDO) provided by Aquino’s Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), the farm workers were given stocks instead of actual land parcels.

(Photo by Pauline Gidget R. Estella / bulatlat.com)
Through CARP, the Cojuangcos declared only 4,915 hectares of the hacienda as subject to land reform and placed it under the corporate name Hacienda Luisita, Inc. (HLI).
“Six years after the massacre, the Cojuangco-Aquino family has still maintained their hold on the thousands of hectares of land that comprise HLI, despite a 1985 order from the Manila Regional Trial Court to distribute the land to the farmers,” and through Aquino’s CARP, a law that further exploited farmers, said ULWU in the statement.
After 16 years of SDO, farm worker beneficiaries have become more impoverished, said UP Student Regent Charisse Bañez during the protest action, adding that Mikee Cojuangco’s horses cost more than a month’s worth of food for the Hacienda Luisita farmers.
The farmers’ take-home pay plunged to as low as P9.50 ($0.21) a week, and at the same time, they were “victimized” by unfair labor practices, said ULWU acting president Lito Bais.
“Where is the service-oriented leadership being promised by Noynoy?  Until the problems of the farmers of Hacienda Luisita are unresolved, we would continue fighting for justice and land reform,” said Bais in Tagalog. 

(Photo by Pauline Gidget R. Estella / bulatlat.com)
Bais said the Cojuangco-Aquino clan has exploited the “overextended” temporary restraining order used by the Supreme Court, enjoining the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council and former Agrarian Reform Secretary Nasser Pangandaman from distributing Hacienda Luisita lands to farm worker beneficiaries.
Aquino III, who has continually skirted the issue for months now, cannot “wash his hands clean in the labor and land dispute at the Hacienda Luisita on the basis of his being a minor shareholder,” said Kasama sa UP in an April 14 statement, adding that “such excuse and failure to rein in his family are a display of inutility and lack of leadership.”
Aquino III’s “lack of sincerity” is also evident when he declared last year that the hacienda will be distributed to farm workers by 2014, which is “inconsistent” with the statement of his cousin and HLI chief operating officer Ferdinand Cojuangco to the New York Times, said Rainer Sindayen, chairperson-elect of UP Diliman Student Council. In the February 23 interview with the Times, Cojuangco said the family has no intention of giving up the land or the sugar business.
 “How can the youth and the people trust Noynoy Aquino to push for genuine agrarian reform when his family, in connivance with Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, orchestrated the massacre in 2004, and is continually in support of anti-farmer and anti-people land reform policies such as the [CARP]?” Sindayen said. (Bulatlat.com)

___________

(Published with permission from Bulatlat.com)

URL: http://www.bulatlat.com/main/2010/04/14/hacienda-luisita-farmers-students-march-to-noynoy%E2%80%99s-home-to-demand-for%C2%A0justice/

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