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Déjà vu EDITORIAL 07/23/2011

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Déjà vu

EDITORIAL
Click to enlarge
07/23/2011
Denials come easily in Noynoy Aquino’s Malacañang, but despite Palace denials, it is pretty clear that Noynoy and his Balay boys are into bribing claimed whistle-blowers in yet another bid to pin down Noynoy’s predecessor, Gloria Arroyo — which may translate to Noynoy and his boys not having found as yet solid evidence with which to pin her down.

This means too, that the Palace is into playing dirty politics, which would be no different from the time the then political opposition — and Noynoy and his mother were part of this group — in its bid to oust then sitting President Joseph Estrada.
Having nothing on him, these power-hungry opposition politicians, along with their evil society, concocted graft and plunder charges and bribed so-called whistle-blowers to get Estrada out of office.

Similarly, Noynoy and his boys are into the same practice of bribing sleazy personalities to come forward and testify against Noynoys predecessor on the electoral fraud committed in 2004 and 2007..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110723com1.html

Prostituting Congress under daang matuwid FRONTLINE Ninez Cacho-Olivares 07/23/2011

Prostituting Congress under daang matuwid

FRONTLINE
Ninez Cacho-Olivares
07/23/2011
It’s the same old political story: Pork barrel releases to congressmen are being used as a Malacañang tool to make the congressmen toe the Palace tenant’s line.

Noynoy denounced his predecessor for withholding the pork barrel of those who oppose her, yet clearly, he does the same, and he claims to be the opposite of Gloria Arroyo? What a hypocrite Noynoy is.

A recent report quoted Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco as saying that Malacañang has not released his pork barrel due to the fact that he did not toe the Palace line in voting for then Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez’s impeachment, as well as his voting against the postponement of the elections of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

He also said that those who voted for the impeachment but voted against the ARMM bill only got half of their pork barrel, while those who voted in both cases got their pork barrel in full..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20110723com2.html

Political prisoners start fasting up to Aquino’s Sona

Political prisoners start fasting up to Aquino’s Sona

“It appears that the Arroyo policy of witch-hunting, arrest, criminalization of political offenses and/or the slapping of fabricated criminal charges to silence and put behind bars human rights defenders continues to be implemented under Aquino,” Angelina Ipong, Selda spokeswoman, said.
By RONALYN V. OLEA
Bulatlat.com

MANILA – Hundreds of political prisoners in various detention cells nationwide have started fasting today up to President Benigno S. Aquino III’s State of the Nation Address (Sona) on Monday.

Dramatizing their call for general, unconditional and omnibus amnesty, 230 political prisoners in Camp Crame, Camp Bagong Diwa, New Bilibid Prisons, Manila City Jail, Quezon City Jail and other detention cells in Central Luzon, Batangas, Cagayan Valley, Central Visayas, Iloilo, Eastern Visayas, Southern Mindanao, Northern Mindanao, and Caraga, participated in the fasting.

According to Karapatan and Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (Selda), there are 354 political prisoners nationwide. Majority of them were arrested during the previous administration of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

“The redress of injustice to all political prisoners and the return of the freedom deprived from them are both a basic human right and an essential element in the peace process,” political prisoners detained at Camp Crame said in a joint statement.

“One year since the first Sona of Aquino, nothing has been done to serve justice for the illegal arrest, torture and illegal detention of the 354 political prisoners who are still languishing in jails all over the country,” Angelina Ipong, a recently released political prisoner and Selda spokeswoman, said.

Ipong added that under the Aquino administration, 45 political prisoners have been detained. “It appears that the Arroyo policy of witch-hunting, arrest, criminalization of political offenses and/or the slapping of fabricated criminal charges to silence and put behind bars human rights defenders continues to be implemented under Aquino,” Ipong said.

Human rights advocates hold a picket in front of Camp Crame to reiterate call for general, unconditional and omnibus amnesty for political prisoners.(Photo by Ronalyn V. Olea / bulatlat.com)
Karapatan called on Aquino to stop the implementation of his version of the counter-insurgency program now named as Oplan Bayanihan. “His version of the program is no different from the previous one; both of these entail the persecution of political dissenters that engender illegal arrests, detention and torture of political prisoners and other human rights violations,” the group said.

In support of the political prisoners, members of Selda, Karapatan, Hustisya, Desaparecidos, Tanggol Bayi held a picket rally in front of Camp Crame’s Gate 2 this morning.

Peace talks

Political prisoners reminded the Aquino administration of its commitment to release detained National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) peace consultants.

“The government of Benigno S. Aquino III needs to abide by the agreement between the NDFP and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GPH) peace panels last February for the release of all political prisoners – most of whom are unjustly and illegally imprisoned, and whose release should be part of the confidence-building measures on the part of the Aquino government, if the peace process is to progress,” they said..... MORE

SourceBulatlat.com

URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/07/22/political-prisoners-start-fasting-until-aquino%E2%80%99s-sona/

Progressive groups gear up for Sona protest action

Progressive groups gear up for Sona protest action

“Aquino should prioritize the needs of the majority of the people and not the interest of the big corporations, foreign investors and the imperialist countries like the US.” – Piya Malayao spokesperson of Kalipunan ng mga Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas (Kamp).
Sidebar: From magician to rotten egg: Aquino’s effigy
By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
Bulatlat.com
MANILA – Preparations for the second State of the Nation Address (Sona) of President Benigno Aquino III are in full swing.

Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) will lead thousands of protesters from different parts of the country to a march toward Batasan road in Quezon City.

Rising unemployment, high prices, poverty, human rights violations and subservience to foreign dictates will be among the issues that the groups will raise for this year’s Sona.

“The reality is that the current government has not shown much difference from Arroyo in terms of economic policies, foreign policies, human rights and governance. The Aquino government may talk big on going after Arroyo, but it has not filed a single case against the former president,” Reyes said in a press conference held July 20.

Sectoral issues

Leaders of various people’s organizations expressed their frustration at Aquino’s governance.
Danilo Ramos, secretary general of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), said Aquino should distribute Hacienda Luisita to the farmers. “In Aquino’s one year term as President, he has shown no concern for the plight of farmers,” he said.

Workers reiterated their decade-long call for P125 across the board nationwide wage increase. “Instead of giving a meager cost of living allowance, the government should give justifiable wages.” Lito Ustarez, Kilusang Mayo Uno’s executive vice chairman, said.

The groups also criticized Aquino’s band aid solutions to the country’s problems.

Urban poor group Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay) said the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program of the Aquino government is not the solution to poverty. For this year, Aquino has expanded CCT beneficiary families to reach 2.1 million.

“Aquino promised to uplift the poor, but instead what he gave is the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program, a life buoy,” Gloria Arellano, Kadamay secretary general, said.


Leaders from various sectors present their demands to Aquino. (Photo by Anne Marxe D. Umil / bulatlat.com)
Arellano said instead of allocating P21 billion ($49 million) for this year’s implementation of CCT, the government should have spent it on social services that could have benefited more Filipinos.

Arellano added that the dole-out program is vulnerable to corruption. “While the perpetuation and the further expansion of CCT remain baseless, we fear that these billions of pesos will go to the corrupt hands of its operators.”

Migrant workers, meanwhile, said what they need is help not loan from the government.


“Migrant workers are the ones who are greatly affected by the global economic crisis, they are the first to be fired from their jobs. But the Philippine government’s response to these migrant workers who will come home with no jobs are just band-aid solutions,” Garry Martinez, chairman of Migrante International said.

“Aquino should prioritize the needs of the majority of the people and not the interest of the big corporations, foreign investors and the imperialist countries like the US,” said Piya Malayao spokesperson of Kalipunan ng mga Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas (Kamp).

Junk PPP

Dr. Gene Nisperos, vice chairman of Head Alliance for Democracy (Head), said Aquino’s Public-Private Partnership (PPP) programs have affected the country’s public hospitals.

“More and more public hospitals are now being privatized and health services were not given free at all,” Nisperos said, citing the privatization of the National Center for Mental Health and the increase in hospital fees at the Philippine General Hospital..... MORE

SourceBulatlat.com

URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/07/22/progressive-groups-gear-up-for-sona-protest-action/

Women slam Aquino for deepening poverty and marginalization

Women slam Aquino for deepening poverty and marginalization

“Aquino promised change, but the conditions of women and our families have worsened. Just a little over a year into his presidency, Aquino’s ‘daang matuwid’ (straight path) has proven to be a ‘killer highway’ for many Filipinos,” Gabriela secretary-general Lana Linaban said.
By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
Bulatlat.com


MANILA – In President Benigno S. Aquino III’s first year as president, Filipino women experienced worse poverty and marginalization, the progressive women’s group Gabriela said. Five days before Aquino was scheduled to deliver his second State of the Nation Address (Sona), women trooped to Mendiola near Malacañang Palace to declare the true “state of women and the people.”

“Aquino promised change, but the conditions of women and our families have worsened. Just a little over a year into his presidency, Aquino’s ‘daang matuwid’ (straight path) has proven to be a ‘killer highway’ for many Filipinos,” Gabriela secretary-general Lana Linaban said.

Linaban said in the eyes of women, the Aquino government has completely failed to bring down rising prices of food and other commodities. Aquino, she said, also failed to provide the poor with greater access to basic social services such as housing, health and education.

“Under his term there have been ruthless demolitions of poor communities to give way to urban development projects. Wages have remained stagnant; workers have no access to better employment; farmers remain landless; and there have been an increasing number of cases of violence against women. All these have led to a worsening state of poverty and marginalization of Filipino women,” she said.

Women’s situation under Aquino 

In an interview with radio program Sali na Bayan!, Jojo Guan, executive director of Center for Women’s Resources said that because of increasing prices of basic commodities, mothers and their families end up eating rice with soy sauce and cooking oil as viand.

“In urban poor communities where mothers have no regular income, mothers can afford to only buy instant noodles and sardines,” Guan said during the radio interview.

She also added that many mothers also complain about the high prices of National Food Authority (NFA) rice. According to the data of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), the price of NFA rice has increased from P25 ($.60) to P27 ($.64) per kilo..... MORE

SourceBulatlat.com

URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/07/22/women-slam-aquino-for-deepening-poverty-and-marginalization/

Worsening conditions for the Filipino worker

 Worsening conditions for the Filipino worker

Majority of those employed today in the Philippines are in vulnerable or part-time work, hampering many workers’ desire to demand for a living wage. Even those in full-time work are reportedly under pressure to comply with various flexible work arrangements. 

By MARYA SALAMAT
Bulatlat.com

MANILA – Work is more dangerous than war — that is reportedly the conclusion of an International Labor Organization (ILO) study on global health and safety at work. The ILO study revealed that globally, at least one worker dies at work every 15 minutes. In the Philippines, a non-government occupational health and safety institute criticized the lack of concern for health and safety at work as highlighted by the deregulation of labor inspection as contained in a Department of Labor and Employment order.

The recent accidental death of a worker in the Korean-owned Hanjin in Subic, Zambales (which brought to 38 the total number of killed from work-related accidents), and the fatal fall from a Lucio Tan-owned construction site that killed 10 construction workers last January, are just some of the yearly “sacrifices” of workers in unsafe workplaces. According to Noel Colina, executive director of the non-government Institute for Occupational Health and Safety (IOHSAD), government concern and inspection only began after blood had been shed and when accidents had generated intense publicity. Otherwise, the establishments in the Philippines are ordered to perform “self-assessments” on whether they are complying or not with good occupational health and safety practices.

Most deaths and injuries from work-related accidents and lack of safety are most common in agriculture, construction, mining and manufacturing, the industries that are topping the employment targets of the Aquino administration. Even in services, accidents happen such as in Ninoy Aquino International Airport when the ceiling collapsed and injured two workers. Another incident was when nine workers were hit by lightning while working on the runway.

Despite Aquino’s promised change, though, and against the backdrop of many workers dying during his first year, it only continued the self-assessment policy began under Arroyo, noted the non-government IOHSAD.

Worse joblessness and working conditions

The real number of jobless Filipinos is much higher than what is reflected in government statistics. According to Ibon, a non-government economic think-tank, the country’s jobless may reach up to 4.5 million, or nearly double the government’s estimates of 2.9 million, which is based on the “new” definition of unemployment that does not include those who had stopped actively seeking work for various reasons.

The Social Weather Stations’ survey result released last March painted a grimmer picture: it revealed that up to 11.3 million Filipinos are jobless, up from 9.9 million in November 2010. Considering that this huge number of Filipinos has no livelihood to speak of, the poor and hungry are expected to have increased in number. Yet, they seemed to have decreased after the government has revised its poverty threshold. Before, a Filipino is considered poor if he or she earns P52 ($1.21) or less per day. This was reduced to P46 ($1.07) or less per day. The revision has brought down the number of registered poor from 28.5 million to 23.1million..... MORE

SourceBulatlat.com

URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/07/22/worsening-conditions-for-the-filipino-worker/

MMDA Streetsweepers fight for benefits, higher wages

MMDA Streetsweepers fight for benefits, higher wages

“We are like slaves! We are not being treated with respect and by ignoring our demands for a CNA the MMDA administration is stripping us of our dignity.” MMDA streetsweepers
By INA ALLECO R. SILVERIO
Bulatlat.com
MANDALUYONG – Next time you see a street sweeper from the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), spare an indignant thought on his or her behalf: they are among the Aquino government’s most exploited employees.


(Photo by Ina Alleco R. Silverio / bulatlat.com)
For the last 10 months, employees of the MMDA led by the Kagalingan ng mga Kawani sa Kalakhang Maynila (KKK-MMDA) have been in active negotiations with the MMDA administration for their collective negotiation agreement (CNA).

The CNA is the equivalent of the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) in the private sector, and is defined by the Civil Service Commission as “the negotiated contract between an accredited employees’ organization representing a negotiating unit and the employer/management concerning terms and conditions of employment and improvements that are not fixed by law.”

Leaders of the KKK, however, have exposed the MMDA administration’s “refusal to honor its word” and sign the CNA draft that both parties finalized last April.

KKK secretary-general Ma. Theresa Gonzalez said that despite the regular meetings and the previously agreed upon schedule for the CNA signing, the MMDA administration led by its chairman Francis Tolentino and assistant general manager Edenison Fainsan have ignored the April deadline.

“The members of KKK, most of us street sweepers and utility staff, have been sincere in our efforts to negotiate with the MMA bosses. What we want is for the MMDA to recognize our rights as employees and give us the economic benefits that we deserve after years of honest service to the MMDA. Fainsan in particular has been acting as a destabilizer, deliberately throwing a monkey wrench in the relations between the KKK and the MMDA administration by saying that the CNA should be reworked and rewritten,” Gonzalez said.

A villainous MMDA official

Gonzalez said Fainsan has been calling for the removal of the most important economic provisions in the CNA draft finalized between the KKK and the MMDA. According to Gonzalez, Fainsan is a “villain” who seeks to undermine the economic welfare of the majority of employees of the MMDA who are among the poorest of the poor.

“He wants to strike out the economic provisions in our CNA. The CNA would be essentially useless if these provisions are removed. We have been working hard to push for these provisions precisely because our members are in dire need of economic assistance. We are poor but hard-working people, but Fainsan would rather we continue suffering our starvation wages and terrible work conditions. He has no right to demand this; and we will fight tooth and nail against any and all of his attempts to mangle our CNA,” she said.... MORE

Source: Bulatlat.com

URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/07/22/mmda-streetsweepers-fight-for-benefits-higher-wages/

PPPs in health threaten to make health care costlier – health workers

PPPs in health threaten to make health care costlier – health workers


“You go to a public hospital emergency room to have your wound cleaned, you have to first buy some cotton, wound antiseptic, and dressings, before you can be treated,” said Joel Bitanga, 40, an X-ray technician in San Lazaro Hospital.

By MARYA SALAMAT
Bulatlat.com
Sidebar: Health workers blame Aquino’s PPPs for further crippling the Philippine Orthopedic Center
 
MANILA – After one year, healthcare in the country has gone from bad to worse — this is the assessment of the Alliance of Health Workers (AHW) on the Aquino government’s impact on health. In a series of protests held by its member unions in different public hospitals in Metro Manila, the group aired the various shocks of Aquino’s touted PPPs (public-private partnerships) on the services of public hospitals and the working condition of health workers and professionals in the country. The group challenged Aquino to stop the privatization “in any form” of public hospitals and to bail out public health by infusing it with a P90-billion ($2.09 billion) budget at least.



UP-PGH health workers urge their hospital management to revert to giving poorest charity patients free treatment. A mother brought out a child patient. (Photos by Marya Salamat / bulatlat.com)





































During Aquino’s first year, the country’s main public hospital, the Philippine General Hospital (PGH), for example, has, for the first time in its history, resorted to charging fees even from its lowest ranked charity or indigent patients. In a memo issued last month, the PGH administration reportedly directed its hospital staff to charge the previously free diagnostic and laboratory examinations of “class D” patients. These are the patients who, according to the hospital social workers, belong to the lowest earners or the poorest of the poor among the four groups who qualify for “social service.” Class D used to receive full support (or full charity), while the other classes under social service get discounts, much like the socialized tuition fees being implemented in the University of the Philippines, explained Jossel Ebesate, AHW national president.

In the Philippine Orthopedic Center, fees have been drastically increased early this year, with some increasing more than twice its old amount.

Because of the budget cutbacks implemented by the Aquino administration in the budget for maintenance and other operating expenses of public hospitals, the previous shortages in medicines, supplies and other equipment have become worse, reported the AHW. The exacerbated shortage in turn prompted the administrations of public hospitals to increase fees and to charge fees on previously free items in the hospital menu of services..... MORE

SourceBulatlat.com

URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/07/22/ppps-in-health-threaten-to-make-health-care-costlier-%E2%80%93-health-workers/

SC upholds 12% VAT on toll rates By Benjamin B. Pulta 07/23/2011

SC upholds 12% VAT on toll rates

By Benjamin B. Pulta 07/23/2011

A tax on toll paid by motorists will now proceed after a restraining order handed down by the Supreme Court (SC) last year on the implementation of the 12-percent value-added tax (VAT) on tollway rates was lifted by the tribunal.

The high court turned down for lack of merit a petition filed by former Nueva Ecija Rep. Renato Diaz, who was co-author of the expanded VAT Law, and former Trade Assistant Secretary Aurora Timbol questioning the coverage and imposition of VAT on tollway operations by the Department of Finance through the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).

“To dismiss the petition and resolve the issues later, after the challenged VAT has been imposed, could cause more mischief both to the tax-paying public and the government. A belated declaration of nullity of the BIR action would make any attempt to refund to the motorists what they paid an administrative nightmare with no solution,” the decision read.

The high court held that the BIR is not unlawfully expanding VAT coverage by imposing the tax on tollway operators as Section 108 of the National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC) imposes VAT on “all kinds of services” rendered in the Philippines for a fee, with the term “services” given an all-encompassing meaning by Congress..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110723hed5.html

GMA: No proof of plunder By Benjamin B. Pulta 07/23/2011

SEEKS DISMISSAL, SAYS OMBUDSMAN ALREADY DISMISSED CASE

GMA: No proof of plunder

By Benjamin B. Pulta 07/23/2011

No plunder. No proof. Forum shopping. No Chavez allegation of her having personally benefitted from the alleged diversion of the funds.

These in a nutshell, comprised former President Gloria Arroyo’s defense as she personally filed her counter-affidavit yesterday morning before the Department of Justice (DoJ) in connection with the P550-million plunder complaint filed against her for the supposed misuse of Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) funds.

In a 58-page counter-affidavit, the current Pampanga Representative denied the accusation of former Solicitor-General Francisco Chavez that she had conspired with her Cabinet officials to divert OWWA funds to bankroll her campaign.

In her counter-affidavit, Mrs. Arroyo said the complainant, former Solicitor General Francisco Chavez, was unable to present sufficient proof that she accumulated ill-gotten wealth, the primary element that constitutes plunder.

“At no time does complainant allege with particularity, much less attempt to establish through competent proof, that respondent or any of her co-respondents amassed, accumulated, or acquired the asset, property, business enterprises or material possession, asserted to have been ‘ill-gotten,’” Arroyo’s counter affidavit stated..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20110723hed1.html

PDEA destroys drugs, expired medicines worth P167 million By Gina Peralta-Elorde 07/23/2011

PDEA destroys drugs, expired medicines worth P167 million

By Gina Peralta-Elorde 07/23/2011


The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) yesterday destroyed some P167 million worth of dangerous drugs and expired medicines in Norzagaray, Bulacan.

PDEA Director General Jose Gutierrez said that the destroyed drugs were a registered treatment, storage and disposal facility for hazardous waste owned by Holcim Philippines, Inc. in Barrio Matictic, Norzagaray.

Gutierrez said the activity was in compliance with the requirements of Republic Act 9165, or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002, and the Dangerous Drugs Board Regulation No.1 series of 2002 governing the custody and disposition of seized dangerous drugs, chemicals and laboratory equipment.

“The importance of destroying drug evidence is to assure the public that the dangerous drugs seized by the government are not being “recycled” back into the streets,” Gutierrez said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110723nat13.html

Undocumented OFW found dead inside a rented flat in Saudi 07/23/2011

Undocumented OFW found dead inside a rented flat in Saudi

07/23/2011
An overseas Filipino worker (OFW), who has been undocumented for 10 years in Saudi Arabia, was found dead inside his rented flat in Dammam, eastern part of Saudi Arabia, according to Filipino migrants’ rights group.

John Leonard Monterona, Migrante-Middle East regional coordinator, said he received yesterday a report from a member of its allied organization, Kasanga, based in Dammam.

A member of Kasanga identified the OFW as Leonardo Bascos, 58, from Iloilo province. He was found dead yesterday around 6 p.m. inside his own rented flat in Dammam.

“His flat mates and fellow OFWs found him inside his room without any sign of life, according to the report,” Monterona added..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20110723nat1.html

No classes at all levels in QC during Noy’s Sona on Monday 07/23/2011

No classes at all levels in QC during Noy’s Sona on Monday

07/23/2011
There will be no classes at all levels — kindergarten, elementary, secondary and college — in Quezon City during the State of the Nation Address (Sona) of President Aquino on Monday (July 25).

On orders of Mayor Herbert Bautista, the city government has declared July 25 a no-classes day to ensure the safety and security of school children who will be affected by traffic problems and rallies by pro- and anti-government groups during the President’s Sona.

Bautista directed Division of City Schools officer-in-charge Dr. Corazon Rubio to immediately send a memorandum to all private and public elementary and high schools for proper dissemination of information on the suspension of classes.

At the same time, the mayor also instructed the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) to properly observe maximum tolerance, especially in dispersing protest rallies during the Sona..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20110723met5.html

Aquino dared to distribute Hacienda Luisita, junk SDO By Charlie V. Manalo 07/23/2011

Aquino dared to distribute Hacienda Luisita, junk SDO

By Charlie V. Manalo 07/23/2011

Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano yesterday joined the broad Inter-faith rally of farmers, church people and other sectors in Manila to call for the immediate distribution of Hacienda Luisita and the junking of the Stock Distribution Option (SDO) used by the President’s family, the Cojuangco-Aquinos, to gain further control over the 6,453-hectare disputed sugar estate.

Mariano dared President Aquino to make good his promise to distribute Hacienda Luisita and stop his family’s more than five-decade legacy of land grabbing in Tarlac.

“Luisita’s distribution is long-overdue. Farmers and farm workers have suffered enough. Social justice must be served,” Mariano said.

He added farmers and farm workers will boycott the Supreme Court-mandated referendum in Luisita. “We will not allow a repeat of the 1989 and 2010 referendum where the Cojuangco-Aquinos, in collusion with the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), arm-twisted the farmers in choosing between land and shares of stocks. Farmers will continue to fight for their rightful share in the lands,” said Mariano who led the Anakpawis contingent at Liwasang Bonifacio..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20110723met1.html

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