president of United Luisita Workers Union (Ulwu)
Photos by Arkibong Bayan and Thomas
Roman Polintan, Chair, BAYAN - Central
Lito Ustarez, KMU vice-chairperson
Church of the Risen Lord, UP Diliman
July 22, 2011
SCMP National Chairperson
+639289526973/ +639068350745/ +639323523062
Faith-based youth organizations unite for peace
“While there may be some truth in claims that our generation has become
more exposed and engrossed in the “new” and “trendy” things that our
rapidly modernizing present continues to offer, it is still the future
that concerns us the most. At this point, we find that we were not so
different from the generations before us.When we see that poverty and
corruption continue to reflect injustice and discord within society in
spite of promises
of “change”, we find that we share the same concerns of the generations
before us, asking ourselves what the future holds and what we can do to
turn it into something worth facing.”
Such were the words of Tin Valerio, Chairperson of the Student Christian
Movement of the Philippines (SCMP) as she explained the reason for the
July 22 event. The SCMP was one of the organizers of the forum entitled
“On Ecumenism and Social Participation” at the Church of the Risen Lord
inside the UP Diliman Campus in Quezon City as part of their preparation
for the upcoming State of the Nation Address this Monday.
A tie-up activity with the University of the Philippines Christian Youth
Movement (UP CYM) and the Youth Desk of the National Council of Churches
of the Philippines (NCCP), the forum aims to consolidate and uplift a
common understanding of “community towards peace and justice” among the
participants in the hope of
creating collaborations through programs and joint activities catering to
the needs of students thereby making their presence relevant in campuses,
churches and the society whom they serve. Participants of the forum come
from ecumenical youth organizations in churches as well as faith-based
organizations in campuses.
The youth has played a major role behind the contemporary ecumenical
movement. The efforts of different Christian youth movements to unite
faithful from various groups for an effort of bringing the News of
Salvation to more and more people is a testament of ecumenical work in
itself. After all, ecumenism which came from the Greek oikumene that
translates to “whole inhabited world” is all about selflessness and unity.
Thus, through efforts like this, SCMP aims at delivering concrete
manifestations of unity among young people not only from the Christian
denominations but also from other faith denominations as well, it is
practicing a selfless and united pursuit towards a goal, a future that the
whole humanity, regardless of religion, share – a world where there is
justice and peace.
“Working for a world of peace and justice will ultimately begin with
working for the pursuit of peace and justice right where we are. We need
not go far to find injustice and unrest for we have so many examples of
both in our country. Having a majority of people suffering in poverty
while a very few take hold of a very large sum of this nation’s riches is
injustice. The farmers struggling for land that they may call their own,
the workers fighting for just wages and freedom from exploitation and
others more working for their democratic rights in face of the few who
benefit from such social system – this is the picture of injustice that we
face every day. The same injustice that makes the future less promising
with every day that passes, not only for the youth of this country but for
the majority of the Filipino people as well. Something which can only be
conquered through stronger unities, in the spirit of service to the huge
majority of the people - the victims of an unjust social system – in very
much the same way that Christ has been a servant to the oppressed. This
unity and spirit of service are the things that we hope to spark and
achieve through initiatives like this.” adds Valerio.
22 July 2011
Reference: Lana Linaban, GABRIELA Secretary-General (0908 8653582)
Public Information Department (3712302)
GABRIELA: Aquino’s stance on Hacienda Luisita
a ‘cunning act of mass deception’
The militant women’s group GABRIELA reiterated its full support to the
farmers of Hacienda Luisita in their struggle for the right to own some
6,000 hectares of land denied to them by the family of President Aquino.
The women’s group was among those who joined thousands of farmers and
people’s, church and church-based organizations who took to Liwasang
Bonifacio and the Supreme Court in a unity march and protest action in
support of the struggle of Hacienda Luisita farmers and against a recent
ruling made by the high court on the dispute.
GABRIELA also assailed President Aquino for his “cunning act of mass
deception” on the continuing plight of Hacienda Luisita farmers. Lana
Linaban, secretary-general of the group, said “Aquino should stop his
arrogance in his claim that he has divested of his stake on Hacienda
Luisita or that his hands are clean on the recent Supreme Court decision.
Shame on him for holding a powerful position yet failing to ensure the
distribution of his family’s vast tracks of land! This makes him a
conscious and willing player in the injustice perpetuated by his family
against the farmers-claimants of Hacienda Luisita.”
According to GABRIELA, the plight of Hacienda Luisita farmers is a
transgression of Aquino’s obligation as Chief Executive to uphold the
interests of the Filipino people and to institute a condition where social
justice and true development can be experienced by the people, especially
the poor and marginalized. “The continuing saga of Hacienda Luisita
farmers is proof of Aquino’s failure to make true his promises to the
people and should not be lost as a major issue when he makes his second
State of the Nation Address,” Linaban said.
“Aquino promised to distribute Hacienda Luisita to farmers, but he has
thus far failed that promise. He also promised to institute ‘a truly
impartial system of institutions that deliver equal justice to rich and
poor’ but has only shown that the interests of the landed elite like his
family, as well as the interests of big business and foreign investors,
are his priorities rather than the welfare of majority of poor and
marginalized people. For all his failed promises, Aquino should be
castigated for his deception and for causing further violation of the
rights of people and for perpetuating injustice and poverty,” said Linaban.
GABRIELA also hit the recent Supreme Court (SC) ruling which directs the
Department of Agrarian Reform to hold a referendum among the hacienda’s
farmworkers to choose between owning the land or be awarded with shares of
stocks in Hacienda Luisita Incorporated.
“With the decision, the SC becomes not a court of the farmers but of
President Aquino and his family. The high court not only put the farmers’
battle back to square one but also virtually provided a legal basis for
the continuing subjugation of the rights of farmers in favor of the
interests of the Cojuangcos,” Linaban added. ###
Public Information Department
GABRIELA National Alliance of Women in the Philippines
Church people – Workers Solidarity Joins Assembly
for Luisita Farmers,
Supports Farmers’ Call for Land Distribution in Hacienda Luisita
Church people-Workers’ Solidarity (CWS) is joining the interfaith assembly
for Luisita farmers today at the Liwasang Bonifacio as an expression of
its support for the farmers’ call to distribute the lands of the
Cojuangco’s Hacienda Luisita Incorporated (HLI).
CWS, a group convened by church leaders, workers and labor advocates, also
expressed its dismay over the Supreme Court’s decision to hold another
referendum, instead of totally nullifying the stock distribution option (SDO).
Early this month, the SC ruled 6-4 in favor of holding another referendum
to settle the issue of land ownership – whether through land distribution
or stock distribution – in Hacienda Luisita.
CWS Convenor Jaro Auxiliary Bishop Gerardo Alminaza said, “Holding a
referendum in Hacienda Luisita will not settle the dispute over the land.
Instead, it will only prolong the misery of our brothers and sisters who
should have benefited the most from the land they tilled for decades.”
Alminaza also urged the President to make a stand on this issue and make
it known in his State of the Nation Address this Monday.
“President Aquino should make a clear stand on the issue. This is a matter
that goes beyond Hacienda Luisita and the Cojuangco family. It is
ultimately a question of the agrarian reform policy under his presidency,”
Bishop Alminaza added.
Bishop Alminaza further reminded the President, that the journey towards
genuine development of the Philippine society, is a journey “to truth,
justice, love and peace.”
For the country to achieve social transformation, Bishop Alminaza said,
“We must denounce inequity as a moral evil. The Second Plenary Council of
the Philippines (PCP II) of 1991, declared that one of the greatest
injustice is the fact there is ‘poor distribution of the goods and
services originally intended for all (PCP II, 268).’”
CWS believes that another referendum on the SDO will deny the farmers of
their right to own the land that they till.
Bishop Alminaza is also concerned of the reports that in 2010, weeks
before the referendum and signing of the controversial “compromise
agreement” with farm workers, the villages in Hacienda Luisita were
subjected to militarization.
Hacienda Luisita residents reported that those opposed to the stock
distribution option (SDO) became targets of “coercion, harassment and
intimidation for farm workers to favor SDO over land distribution.”
On June 31, 2010, the military reportedly burned the house of an Ambala
(Alliance of Hacienda Luisita Farm Workers) leader.
Also in 2010, Federico Laza, an Ambala leader, said that peasant leaders
were openly followed everywhere in the Hacienda by at least four military
men armed with high-powered rifles. Laza further said that soldiers
threatened them to discontinue their struggle for land, else, “something
CWS Convenor Garry Martinez, for his part, said, “The SDO has been used by
the Cojuangco clan to deceive the farmers and maintain its hold on the HLI
land when it should have been distributed to the farmers a long time ago.
After six years of the SDO, the farmers at HLI are still poor and
Martinez added, “It is only just that the land be given to tillers. This
is in accordance to the principle of genuine agrarian reform, as well as
in the provisions of the 1987 Constitution.”
Reference: Bp. Gerardo A. Alminaza,D.D. Mr. Garry Martinez
Church people – Workers Solidarity Church people – Workers Solidarity
HUSTISYA wants justice for victims of
the Hacienda Luisita massacre
22 July 2011
Statement or no statement
SONA 2011 to be judged based on Luisita
“Whether Pres. Aquino in his SONA makes a direct statement on the Hacienda
Luisita issue or not, his speech will be judged as a statement on the
This was labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno’s warning as it joined today’s
“Multisectoral and Interfaith Gathering for Land and Justice” in Manila
which calls for the distribution of Hacienda Luisita lands to farmers,
just days before Pres. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III’s State of the Nation
“Noynoy’s statement or silence on the Luisita issue in his SONA will be
judged based on his promise in the 2011 elections to distribute the
hacienda lands by 2014 and the recent Supreme Court decision on the issue.
Try as he might, Pres. Aquino cannot erase the widespread perception that
he influenced the SC decision on the land dispute in the Cojuangco-owned
hacienda,” said Lito Ustarez, KMU vice-chairperson.
“Should he keep silent on the issue, his statement would be more
straightforward: he has abandoned his election promise to distribute the
Luisita lands by 2014 and he is siding with the SC decision,” he added.
“Should he directly address the issue but fall short of affirming his
election promise, he would still be making the same statement: that he has
abandoned the promise and he is siding with the SC ruling,” he said.
KMU noted that Pres. Aquino has not personally addressed the issue of
Hacienda Luisita after the Supreme Court released its decision on the
issue. It said the SONA is an historic opportunity for the Filipino
workers and people to firm up their judgement of Pres. Aquino on the
“In short, nothing less than a renewed and strengthened commitment to
distribute the Luisita lands to farmers and farmworkers will paint him to
be a deceitful traditional politician who made a sweet promise during the
elections only to break that promise upon winning. It is of no help that
he has not fulfilled his other big campaign promise, that of going after
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo,” Ustarez said.
“Pres. Aquino likes to project his government as winning and keeping the
trust of the Filipino people, yet on the issue of Hacienda Luisita, he is
showing no qualms in squandering whatever trust that the Filipino people
have for him,” he added.
Luisita farmers’ plight shows real
state of the nation – Anakbayan
July 22, 2011
Youth groups led by Anakbayan today called for “land and justice” for the
farmers and farmworkers of Hacienda Luisita in an interfaith rally
together led by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP)
and Luisita farmers.
The gathering was held today at Liwasang Bonifacio in Manila condemning
the Supreme Court decision calling for another round of referendum among
farmers to choose between Stock Distribution Option (SDO) and land
“The scam being done to the farmers of Hacienda Luisita shows the real
state of the landord dominated nation and belies any claim of growth,
progress and social reform Noynoy Aquino will proclaim in his SONA on
Monday,” said Vencer Crisostomo, national chairperson of Anakbayan,
Crisostomo said that the recent Supreme Court decision shows how “the
system and social structures continue to decieve, exploit and oppress the
majority of the people and deprive them of their rights.”
He also said that the moves of Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) lawyers
supposedly under orders of Aquino to appeal the SC decision may be another
ploy to evade land distribution using flawed schemes under CARPER.
“The move is either a propaganda spin, or worse, an intervention to give
DAR the space to maneuver the implementation of schemes further avoiding
land distribution and exploiting the peasants. There is no reason to
believe that government is appealing the ruling for the sake of the
farmers, Aquino’s move acts as a Trojan Horse,” he said.
Crisostomo also said that the Luisita case proves that Aquino’s government
has been and continues to be a “Haciendero Republic.”
“A year after, we all have to wake up to the truth: the Aquino
administration is anti-poor, arrogant and pro-elite. The people cannot
expect any development, progress, change from a lazy landlord who does
nothing but protect his and his foreign bosses’ interests,” he said.
Vencer Crisostomo, Anakbayan National Chairperson
09224290258 / 09174416739
July 21, 2011
LFS demands genuine agrarian reform, justice for
Hacienda Luisita farmworkers on PNOY’s SONA
For more than 50 years the Cojuangco family retained their hold and
blatant exploitation on the farmworkers of Hacienda Luisita. Just like the
late Cory Aquino, Noynoy Aquino did nothing but give the farmworkers more
false hope and more burden in his one year as the president of the
Philippines. Up to the present, he remains silent on the issue of genuine
land reform in Hacienda Luisita. He had unmasked, this early, his true
nature as a ‘heartless’ landlord who only favours the ruling class and not
the oppressed masses.
This is why the LFS supports the United Luisita Workers Union (ULWU),
Alyansa ng mga Manggagawang Bukid sa Hacienda Luisita (AMBALA), and
Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas’ (KMP) struggle for Genuine Agrarian
Reform Program. We firmly demand the unconditional distribution of lands
to the farmworkers of HLI. We will always continue the struggle of the
martyrs of Hacienda Luisita.
Supreme Court favours the Cojuangco
Chief Justice Corona announced last year the Supreme Court’s decision to
apply the so-called ‘compromise agreement’. In the agreement, the
farmworkers were made to choose whether they get a parcel of land, or
shares under Stock Distribution Option—a deceptive scheme conceived by the
Cojuangco family in collusion with key state forces. To begin with, the
SDO is contrary to the initial agreement sworn to by Jose Cojuanco Sr when
he borrowed a large amount of money from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).
He used the money to acquire the 6,474-hectare Hacienda Luisita that
should be distributed to the farmworkers after a decade as what the BSP
The SC decision implied that the state, with Noynoy Aquino as the
president, has no intention of giving the land back to the farmworkers of
Hacienda Luisita. A few weeks ago, the SC reinforced its initial decision
by subjecting the SDO and land distribution into another referendum. Can’t
the Supreme Court decide already to award the land to its rightful owners?
Massacre and militarization intensifies
The struggle for land and justice in Hacienda Luisita had a violent
history. On November 14, 2004, 14 people were massacred during a
legitimate strike. They were mercilessly fired at by armed state forces
when they were only demanding for their wage, work, land, and rights.
Until now, the perpetrators remain at large and no justice is served.
Instead of assisting those who are seeking justice, PNoy allows the
deployment of military forces and even foreign soldiers under the Visiting
Forces Agreement (VFA), inside the Hacienda.
GARB not CARP
The flawed Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program pushes the Luisita
farmworkers more into poverty and keep the lands far away from them. The
CARP allows the land use conversion which in the HL context means that the
Cojuangco family could keep the vast land of HLI if they convert the
farmlands into something else. Apparently, the farmworkers are the
disadvantaged party here. ###
Lupa, Sahod, Trabaho, at Karapatan, Ipaglaban!
Hustisya para sa lahat ng biktima ng Hacienda Luisita Masaker!
Joselito A. Lagon Jr.
LFS - Regional Spokesperson
Southern Mindanao Region
09082868479 / 09233698490
Bobby Balingit, signer-composer
Axel Pinpin reads his poem
Statement on the Extra-judicial killing,
harassment, land grabbing, and other rights violations in Casiguran,
† BRODERICK S. PABILLO, D.D
Auxiliary Bishop of Manila
Chairman of the CBCP-Episcopal Commission on Social Action – Justice and
WITH local Church of the Apostolic Vicariate of Infanta, we in the
National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA), strongly condemn the
murder of one of our advocates for indigenous peoples’ rights in Casiguran,
Aurora. Armando Maximino, Chieftain of the Agtas in Sitio Delebsong,
Barangay Nipoo was shot dead last May 17.
The suspected perpetrators belonged to the security personnel enlisted by
the contesting party that falsely claims ownership of the ancestral
domain, even with the reported knowledge of the city mayor, local police,
and other officials. Denied burial at his property among departed kin,
Armando was instead laid to rest at the site where he took not one but
When the Agtas briefly left their vigil at the grave, they returned to
find six of their houses burned. Previously, barbed-wire fences were
installed around their property by the suspects. When they questioned the
move, five members of their tribe were arrested, with some women wounded
from the resulting scuffle, but eventually released because there were no
grounds to file charges against them.
Despite longstanding and rightful ownership of 49 hectares of the disputed
land, supported by official documents and upheld by the National
Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), Armando, members of his family
and community, have endured threats, harassment, and outright violence.
Against powerful enemies, the Agtas have retreated out of fear and left
The Church, in its prophetic ministry of promoting social justice, stands
in solidarity with the indigenous people’s in their struggle for their
rightful claim for the land. We condemn the senseless killing of the Agta
Chieftain, Armando Maximino, and the continuing suppression to silence the
protest of the community against the impending development aggression.
We enjoin all Filipinos to do the same and demand the impartial and
comprehensive investigation of the incident, and its swift and just
We appeal to President Benigno Aquino III and concerned government
agencies to uphold our laws on indigenous peoples’ rights and agrarian
reform, in order to safeguard the welfare of our local communities, as
well as the fundamental freedoms violated by Armando’s adversaries.
His death exemplifies a recurring cautionary tale, when equal access to
resources and justice by vulnerable sectors is continually denied. It
underscores the need to address the absence of truly participatory and
people-centered development programs, in order to bridge the social,
political, and economic divide that bring about conflict in areas like
And in fulfillment of our mission we believe that “before today’s forms of
exploitation of the poor, the Church cannot remain silent . . . she
condemns many injustices which unfortunately, even today are committed to
the detriment of the poor” (Pope Jouh Paul II, quoted in PCP II, Acts No.
† BRODERICK S. PABILLO, D.D
Auxiliary Bishop of Manila
Chairman of the CBCP-Episcopal Commission on Social Action – Justice and
9 May 2011
The OSM Chorale
The Peoples' Chorale
Farmworkers, chuch groups link to call for distribution of Hacienda
Luisita, reject referendum and SDO
Farmworkers from Hacienda Luisita joined the rally sponsored by the
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines – National Secretariat for
Social Action (CBCP-NASSA) and Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) at
Liwasang Bonifacio, Manila. Leaders and members of Alyansa ng mga
Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita (Ambala), a member organization of
the regional farmers’ group Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luson (Amgl,
Peasant Alliance in Central Luzon), alongwith church leaders and activists
demanded distribution of Hacienda Luisita to the farmworkers and junking
of the Supreme Court decision of referendum and stock distribution option
“Land cultivation is the very interest of Hacienda Luisita farmworkers,
they have been demanding land ever since the SDO was implemented in 1989.
They are presently on their ‘bungkalan’ campaign and it is the very proof
that they want land,” said Joseph Canlas, Amgl chairperson.
Amgl and Ambala are demanding the junking of the referendum, SDO and they
have earned the support of the church sector for sustaining their campaign
since the Hacienda Luisita Massacre on November 16, 2004.
“The sacrifice of the martyrs of the massacre would only be compensated by
the actual tilling of the farmworkers on the land the Cojuangco-Aquinos
have controlled for many decades,” Canlas said. He added that the
referendum is a blatant disregard of the farmworkers’ rights, upholding of
the Cojuangco-Aquino interest and injustice to the victims of rights
abuses related to the dispute.
“We know that the Supreme Court’s decision is beneficial to the
Cojuangco-Aquinos, and the only means to compel them to take it back is to
launch massive protests,” Canlas added.
“Our country should focus on important issues such as land reform,
particularly Hacienda Luisita. We should be vigilant that the Aquino
government would use all its resources to cloud public opinion and hide
his incompetent governance by using public figures as escapegoat,” said
Joseph Canlas, Amgl chairperson. Amgl is refering to the endless exposé
led by Aquino’s agency officials and putting sectors and personalities in
bad light such as the Catholic bishops and former president and Rep.
“Though there are issues with CGMA and she should be held accountable, the
Aquino presidency is overstating to prevent focus on his anti-people
policies resulting the economic crisis faced by the majority of the
Filipino people. Legitimate issues are flooding but Aquino is attempting
to evade it by bombarding Arroyo with sensationalized accusations,” Canlas
“Aquino should quit his performance as if he is serious in prosecuting
Arroyo. His government could not even pursue the P728-million fertilizer
scam case, filed by the different peasant and fisherfolk groups and now
his pretension of being for reforms have totally died out,” he added.
Amgl and Ambala accused the Aquino government for betraying the Filipino
people by not realizing his promises of fundamental reform. The groups
said the country is facing systematic agrarian unrest, wage freezes,
unemployment, price increases, displacement and rights abuses.
“President Aquino could never deny that he is useless to the farmers,
indigenous peoples, fisherfolk, workers, youth-students, urban poor and
other sectors. Worse, he is the promoter of the interests of foreign
monopoly, big foreign and local landlords and corrupt government
syndicates,” Canlas said.
Amgl said that land reform is inexistent with the Aquino government even
on the president’s pronouncement.
“He is a total hypocrite when it comes to the Hacienda Luisita issue. He
promised during presidential elections that he would distribute the land
in 5 years, then adopting a ‘hands off’ policy when he sat as president,
then involving the SC decision, he is like a rubberband, changing
declarations in a matter of days,” said Canlas.
“This day is a very significant day for Hacienda Luisita farmworkers. The
broad support is finally on the upsurge and definitely, president Aquino
would be compelled to backtrack his family’s interest, otherwise face the
wrath of the Filipino people,” he added.
Amgl said that many Hacienda Luisita farmworkers are fuming that most of
them are calling for Aquino’s resignation.
“The farmworkers have all the bases they need to seek Aquino’s resignation
as he never served for their interest or for the Filipino farmers, or any
marginalized sector,” Canlas clarified. #
Tarlac city council express support to Hacienda Luisita farmworkers 07/20/2011
The regional farmers group Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luson (Amgl,
Peasant Alliance in Central Luzon) and Alyansa ng mga Manggagawang Bukid
sa Asyenda Luisita (Ambala) commend the Tarlac city council for passing a
resolution rejecting the referendum or forcing the farmworkers to choose
“stocks” or land distribution and supporting the clamor of distribution of
Hacienda Luisita to the farmworkers.
On Resolution No. 293, adopted on July 14, 2011, the 12-member city
council led by vice mayor Miguel A Tañedo, stated that though they welcome
the Supreme Court’s decision to revoke the stock distribution plan (SDP)
implemented in Hacienda Luisita “we view with concern the modification
contained in the same decision which states that the farm
worker-beneficiaries ‘shall have the option to remain as stock holders of
Hacienda Luisita Inc.;” and “referendum will only obfuscate the real
objective of land reform which is to give land to the tillers;”
The Tarlac city council recognized the farmworkers demand for genuine land
reform and junking of the referendum. City councilor Emily L. Facunla
personally delivered a copy to Ambala at their camp-out at Brgy. Balite.
Councilor Facunla is the sister of councilor Abel Ladera who was killed on
March 3, 2005, a supporter of the striking farmworkers and the 2nd victim
of extra-judicial killings that followed the infamous “Hacienda Luisita
“The farmworkers are very happy with the visit of councilor Facunla,
especially when she expressed support of the ‘bungkalan’ (bungkalan). She
is the first government official, aside from the barangay officials, who
visited the camp-out,” said Fidel Castro, Amgl vice-chairperson who is
regularly staying at camp-out.
Ambala who occupied the lands fenced by Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC)
at Brgy. Balite since July 15 is on the fifth day of preparing the land
for cultivation. They have surveyed more than 10-hectares of 1-hectare
parcels and used tractors to plow the land. The group said that RCBC
fenced about 184-hectares of land, planned to be converted as an
industrial park for Japanese companies. Amgl said that RCBC could not
purchase the land without knowing they are under dispute and added that
they should resolve their problem with the Cojuangco-Aquinos and not
prohibit the farmworkers who are the legitimate owners of the land.
“If Ambala farmworkers do not cultivate these lands now, these would only
be converted and the opportunity to produce food in Hacienda Luisita would
be minimized. The bungkalan is a historical action of the farmworkers as
Hacienda Luisita lands are on the brink of being converted as what the
Cojuangco-Aquinos intend to do,” Castro said.
Ambala said that they are on the stage of finalizing the list of
beneficiaries of the land and after doing so, they expect that the
farmworkers would immediately work on their land. The group said that
“bungkalan” would certainly give them source of food and livelihood, a
total contrast when lands used to be cultivated with sugarcane.
Amgl and Ambala said that they would lead a regional protest in Tarlac
City on July 21, where at least a thousand farmworkers would come out to
be joined by farmers from different provinces. On the next day, they would
proceed in Manila to file the motion for reconsideration at the Supreme
Court and participate at the Inter-faith rally sponsored by the Catholic
Bishops Conference of the Philippines – National Secretariat for Social
Action (NASSA) and Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan).
“We invite the different sectors to witness and participate in the
bungkalan. This is a historical event as these lands used to be under
Spanish colonial control and Cojuangcos feudal rule for almost 50 years.
This is the liberation of the land, the would eventually serve the
interest of the people, not by a rich few,” Castro said. #