Heroes and Martyrs of Hacienda Luisita,

and Notes on the Nov. 22 Supreme Court decision

 

November 25, 2011

 

The Supreme Court decision is a golden harvest of the  militant peasant struggle, a product of the farmers’  own blood and toil.
 

-- Makabayan President Satur Ocampo

 

 

The militant peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) today described the reported Supreme Court decision on the agrarian dispute involving Hacienda Luisita, the more than 6,000-hectare sugar estate owned by President Aquino’s family, as “a fruit of the farm workers’ militant struggle” and that the distribution of the lands is “long overdue.”

 

-- Press statement of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas“

 

Since 1957, the Cojuangco-Aquino clan has made a milking cow out of the Hacienda Luisita sugar estate and amassed wealth by exploiting farmers and farmworkers. It is the height of callousness that President Benigno Simeon Aquino III [should] demand land compensation for his extended family.... In case he has forgotten, the Cojuangco-Aquinos repeatedly evaded actual land distribution for the past five decades through antifarmer, state-sponsored agrarian reform programs.

 

-- Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano

 

 

 

Click here for other webpages on Hacienda Luisita

 

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Jhayvie Basilio, 20
 
Juancho Sanchez, 20 Jhune David, 27
Jesus Laza, 34
Jaime Fastidio, 46
 
Adriano Caballero, 23

Hacienda Luisita Massacre

By The Numbers

 

Killed: 7

Wounded/injured: 200

Arrested: 120


Jesse Valdez, 30
 
 
     

More killings linked to the protest
followed the Nov. 16 massacre

 
     

Ka Marcing Beltran, 53

Murdered on Dec. 8, 2004


From: http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/183662/news/after-luisita-massacre-more-killings-linked-to-protest
 

Councilor Abelardo Ladera
Murdered: March 3, 2005

From: http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/183662/news/after-luisita-massacre-more-killings-linked-to-protest

Rev. William Tadena
Murdered: March 13, 2005

"On March 13, 2005, Father William Tadena, an Aglipayan priest who had mobilized his parish to regularly donate rice and groceries to the workers at the picket line before saying a weekly mass for them, was shot dead in his owner-type jeep on the provincial highway in La Paz, Tarlac while on his way to his next mass. "

 

From: http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/183662/news/after-luisita-massacre-more-killings-linked-to-protest

 


 

Tatang Ben Concepcion
Murdered: March 17, 2005

 

"On March 17, 2005, “Tatang" Ben Concepcion, a 67-year-old peasant leader of party-list group Anakpawis in Pampanga, who supported the strikers in Luisita despite his old age and lung and heart ailments, was shot dead in his daughter’s house in Angeles City (40 minutes from Tarlac City). He had just been released from the hospital and was recuperating in his daughter’s house."

 

From: http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/183662/news/after-luisita-massacre-more-killings-linked-to-protest
 


Florante Collantes
Murdered: October 15, 2005

 

On October 15, 2005, Flor Collantes, the secretary general of party-list group Bayan Muna in Tarlac, was killed while cleaning fish in his carinderia.

 

From: http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/183662/news/after-luisita-massacre-more-killings-linked-to-protest

 


Ricardo Ramos
Murdered: October 25, 2005

 

From: http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/183662/news/after-luisita-massacre-more-killings-linked-to-protest

 

           
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Gitagum Sessions #11
by Arnold Alamon

 

Luisita

There is a wistful sadness
on the protected enclaves of Luisita.
At the court, tennis balls echo
in a hollow fading
cadence.
No more horseback rides over
The Property
for this generation of ex-hacienderos.

The ring of bells
at their grand dinner table
fail to summon the servants.
For outside, the peasants are
scooping the earth
they now own.

On each grain of soil is
the recognition of their
collective
blood.
A son, a daughter
felled for The Hacienda.

With lips pressed to earth,

a mother whispers:
"My child, we have won."

 

 

 

     
     
     
           
     
     
   

 

"Kabilang sa mga nasawi sa itinuturing na masaker ay ang kabataan na namamahagi ng tubig sa mga manggagawa. Kinitil ang kanyang buhay, kasama ng kanyang pangarap."

SA PILING NG MGA MANGGAGAWA
SA HACIENDA LUISITA

Isang Repleksyon Para sa Anak ng Pastor na Nag-alay ng Buhay

Nobyembre 16, 2004, mainit ang sikat ng araw, kasagsagan ng pagkilos ng mga manggagawa ng Hacienda Luisita para sa makatarungang pasahod. Sa harapan ng mapanakot na presensya ng armadong hanay ng mga militar at pulis, lalong nagtumibay ang paninindigan ng mga aping manggagawa. Muling nagbanta ang panunupil, lalong nalantad ang mapandahas na layunin ng mga panginoong makapangyarihan na naghahari sa lipunan.

Sa hanay ng mga manggagawa, may mga kaakbay at kapanalig na hindi gaanong napapansin ng karamihan, kahit ng mga mamamahayag - ang hindi maisasantabing ambag at tapat na pakikipagkaisa ng mga kabataan. Kasama ng mga manggagawa, ang mga kabataan ay nakikipagpunyagi, kaakibat sa paglalakbay, batid ang tiyak na layunin para na rin sa kanilang magandang kinabukasan.

Nang hapon na iyon ng Nobyembre 16, hindi makakalimutan ang larawan ng isang kabataan na walang atubiling naghahandog ng kanyang kakayanan. Ang tubig na kanyang inihahatid at ipinamamahagi ay simbolo ng pagtataguyod sa layunin na kanya ring pinaninindigan, tubig na animoy pandilig sa mga halamang uhaw sa pag-aaruga, katulad din ng mga manggagawang pinagkakaitan ng awa at pang- unawa. Ang kanyang ginawa ay nagpapaalaala sa batang paslit na kasama ng limang libong tao, na sumunod kay Jesus sa ilang - ang batang paslit, na buong katapatang nagbukas ng kanyang baon na tinapay at isda at ibinahagi sa mga gutom na kasamahan.

Sa biglaang pagsiklab ng karahasan, ng nag-aalimpuyong lupit ng panunupil sa karapatan ng maliliit at walang lakas, maraming buhay ang nasalanta, laksang iba pa ang nasaktan at malubhang nasugatan habang ang iba'y hinuli at ikinulong. Dahas ng armas ang pinagpasya at nagbunga ng hindi masusukat na pagluluksa, hindi lamang sa mga biktima, kundi sa buong sambayanan.

Sa paghawi ng mga nakakasulasok na usok ng ibat-ibang armas, sa unti-unting pagpawi ng ingay ng mga putok ng baril, tumambad ang maraming katawang nakahandusay. Marami ang nasawi, marami ang sugatan. Ang mga sigaw, ingay at alingawngaw ay nahalinhan ng panaghoy ng pagkagimbal, ng daing ng pagdadalamhati. Ang tinig ng pagkakaisa ng mga aping manggagawa para sa makatarungang pasahod ay tinugon ng hindi maipaliliwanag na kalupitan.

Kabilang sa mga nasawi sa itinuturing na masaker ay ang kabataan na namamahagi ng tubig sa mga manggagawa. Kinitil ang kanyang buhay, kasama ng kanyang pangarap.

Winakasan ang kanyang kinabukasan, kasama ng buhay ng maraming iba pa na ang payak na hangad ay dangal at karapatan para sa maralita.

Si Juancho Sanchez, anak ng isang Pastor, isang aktibong kaanib ng Christian Youth Fellowship ng United Church of Christ in the Philippines (CYF-UCCP), anak ng simbahan, anak ng sambayanan, nag-alay ng buhay kasama ng mga aba – para sa magandang kinabukasan ng maraming iba pa. Ang anak ng isang Pastor na hinubog sa simbahan, binigyang gabay sa tahanan, pinanday sa katotohanan, may matibay na pananampalataya at paninindigan, maagang kinitlan ng buhay at karapatan kasama ng mga manggagawa sa Hacienda Luisita.

Sa marahas na larawan ng Hacienda Luisita, nakaukit ang pangalan ng mga biktima ng karahasan, ng mga manggagawa at inosenteng buhay na inialay sa altar ng paghahangad sa katwiran at kapayapaan. Ang malagim na larawan ng Hacienda Luisita ay may bahid ng dugo ng sambayanan na hindi kailanman ipagwalangbahala at kalilimutan ng lahat ng nagmamahal sa katarungan at katotohanan.

Ang buong United Church of Christ in the Philippines ay nagdadalamhati sa walang katwirang pamamaslang sa mga manggagawa at iba pa – nagluluksa para kay Juancho Sanchez na nasawi sa piling ng mga manggagawa. Ang mga taong simbahan ay dapat manindigan sa panig ng katotohanan at katarungan, sapagkat ang ating Diyos ay naghangad para sa atin ng ganito: "Itinuro na N’ya sa iyo, 0 tao, kung ano ang mabuti. Ito ang nais ni Yahweh: Maging makatarungan ka sa lahat ng bagay, patuloy mong ibigin ang iyong kapwa, at buong pagpapakumbabang sumunod sa iyong Diyos." (Mikas 6: 8)

Ang marahas na karanasan sa Hacienda Luisita ay kasaysayan din ng maraming iba pang manggagawa at aping sektor ng bayan, katulad din ng kabataang si Juancho Sanchez na sagisag ng maraming kabataan sa lipunan na naghahangad at nag-aasam ng magandang kinabukasan para sa marami. Hindi tulad ng mga taong may mapanupil na armas at kapangyarihan na kumatig sa lakas ng mga uring naghahari sa ating bayan, pinili ng mga katulad ni Juancho na maglingkod sa piling ng mga manggagawa.

Habang ang pandarahas at pang?aapi sa mga mahihina at aba ay umiiral, hindi mamamatay ang alaala ng isang anak ng Pastor - si Juancho Sanchez at ng marami pang kabataan na kaakbay at nakikibaka kasama ng mga manggagawa. Umaalingawngaw hanggang ngayon ang tinig ni Yahweh: "Ito ang gusto kong gawin ninyo: "Tigilan na ninyo ang pang-aalipin. Sa halip ay pairalin ang katarungan, Ang mga api'y palayain ninyo at tulungan. Ang mga nagugutorn ay inyong pakainin, patuluyin sa inyong tahanan ang walang tirahan. Yaong mga tao na halos hubad na ay inyong paramntan, ang inyong pagtulong sa mga kasama ay huwag tatalikdan". (Isaias 58: 6?7)

Nobyembre 22, 2004
 

 
 
 
           
On the Nov. 22, 2011 Supreme Court decision on the Hacienda Luisita case
           

 

Press Release
24 November 2011
Reference: LIZA MAZA, MAKABAYAN Coalition Spokesperson, 09209134540

Makabayan hails SC Luisita decision as “a golden harvest of the militant peasant struggle”

The Makabayan Coalition lauded the unanimous Supreme Court ruling for the scrapping of the stock distribution option and ordering the total distribution of Hacienda Luisita Inc.’s 4,915 hectares to farmer beneficiaries.

Makabayan President Satur Ocampo said that the 56-page decision of the high tribunal penned by Atty. Presbitero Velasco Jr. and released Wednesday is a “a golden harvest of the militant peasant struggle, a product of the farmers’ own blood and toil.”

At the same time, the militant coalition slammed Malacanang’s “eerie silence” on the issue when Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda refused to comment on the matter at a press conference but later said that they are still awaiting for the decision to be final and executory.

“If President Aquino has no longer a stake at the Hacienda Luisita as he claimed, then we can only expect the executive branch particularly the Department of Agrarian Reform to implement the SC ruling without any hindrance from Malacanang. We hope his silence on the matter means he accepts the decision. Otherwise, the farmers would not allow the land that is rightfully theirs to be taken away from them,” Ocampo said.

Makabayan supported the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) stand not to allow the HLI and the DAR to collect payments and land amortization from farmer beneficiaries. Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano of the KMP said that the HLI still owes farmers P1.33-billion.

“We laud the Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid sa Hacienda Luisita (Ambala), petitioner of the case, for their militant struggles. The blood of the Hacienda Luisita massacre victims has watered the land that they fought for. Their families and survivors now stand to harvest their crop and continue the fight for genuine agrarian reform and combat the pestilence of stock-distribution options spawned by the extended Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARPER),” Makabayan stated.

-------------------------------------------------

 

Bayan hails SC decision, seeks justice for rights victims

News Release
November 25, 2011
 

The umbrella group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan today congratulated the farmers of Hacienda Luisita for their victory in the Supreme Court even as the group pressed for justice for all those who died in the agrarian dispute.
 

“The victory is a testament to the justness of the farmers’ struggle. So many made the ultimate sacrifice so that this day would come,” said Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr.
 

“Genuine land reform still has a long way to go in the Philippines. It is something the farmers need to fight for every time. The spirit of genuine land reform cannot simply be found in existing laws like CARPER. If anything, the Luisita dispute shows how government land reform programs became dismal failures for so many years,” Reyes added.
 

Bayan said it supported the farmers’ position of free land distribution and collective farming as the means of making the and economically viable. “The land has already been paid for through the blood and sweat of farmers over the past five decades. The landowners profited immensely from the work of the farm workers while the farm workers got nothing,” Reyes said.
 

The group said that other haciendas employing the “stock distribution option” would also face legal challenges because of the Luisita ruling. “Big landlords are wary because the decades-old swindling through the stock option may now be questioned in court by the farmer,” Reyes said.

Justice for rights victims
 

Bayan pressed the Office of the Ombudsman to resolve the case of the Hacienda Luisita massacre which claimed seven lives. The case has been pending for six years now at the Ombudsman and to date, no case has been filed in court against any member of the police and military who were involved in the shooting of unarmed strikers.
 

“It would only be fitting that the farmers get true and complete justice, and this includes justice for all those who died fighting for land,” Reyes said.
 

A marker is now erected at the Gate 1 of the Central Azucarera de Tarlac for all the martyrs of the Luisita struggle. Those included in the list are Tarlac City Councilor Abel Ladera, Bishop Alberto Ramento and union president Ricardo Ramos.
 

Bayan also called attention to the case of Ramos, union president of the CAT Labor Union who was gunned down in the aftermath of the strike. A suspect, Sgt. Roderick “Joshua” de la Cruz of the Army’s 7th Infantry Division eventually arrested. The case is up for resolution by the local judge handling the case.
 

VERA files reported that the witnesses in the case are having problems because they are not provided protection by the government. http://verafiles.org/2011/10/19/court-decision-on-hacienda-luisita-unionist%E2%80%99s-killing-out-soon/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*NEWS RELEASE*
November 23, 2011

*Hacienda Luisita distribution long overdue, struggle continues, says farmers*

The militant peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) today described the reported Supreme Court decision on the agrarian dispute involving Hacienda Luisita, the more than 6,000-hectare sugar estate owned by President Aquino’s family, as “a fruit of the farm workers’ militant
struggle” and that the distribution of the lands is “long overdue.”

The KMP issued the statement after reports said that eight magistrates voted to grant the motion for reconsideration of the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council and the farmers’ group Ambala during the high tribunal’s regular en banc session on Tuesday.

KMP deputy secretary general Randall Echanis said “if true, the SC decision is the fruit of the Hacienda Luisita farmworkers’ militant struggle. The distribution of Hacienda Luisita is long overdue”

“This is a step forward but Hacienda Luisita farm workers’ struggle continues. They shall continue to assert their legitimate rights over the lands especially under the administration of a Cojuangco-Aquino who is the biggest stumbling block to Hacienda Luisita farmers’ aspiration for genuine land reform,” says Echanis.

*Political retaliation*

The KMP also clarified views that the rumoured ruling of the high tribunal could be “an offshoot of the rift between the executive and the judiciary” or between President Aquino and Arroyo.

“Hacienda Luisita farm workers are not pawns in the so-called Aquino-Arroyo rift. It would be an insult to farm workers to simply downplay the alleged decision as a political retaliation by the court against Aquino. It is a product of the farm workers’ protracted and arduous political struggle for land and social justice,” Echanis said.

“Let us remind the public that both the Cojuangco-Aquinos and former president Arroyo have blood debts against farm workers of Hacienda Luisita,” he said noting that “both have united against the farm workers in the November 2004 massacre in Hacienda Luisita. The alleged fall-out only happened after the late President Corazon Cojuangco-Aquino called for the resignation of Arroyo in mid-2005.”

*Cojuangco maneuvers*

But Echanis said that “knowing the Cojuangco-Aquinos, they will surely resort to various political maneuvers including deception and intense harassment” saying, “in fact, facing various and trumped up criminal charges against leaders of Ambala.”

The KMP leader pushed for the “free distribution of Hacienda Luisita” saying said that “placing the lands under the government’s Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms (CARPER) will be unacceptable to Hacienda Luisita farm workers.”

“We expect the President’s family to once again use the bogus CARPER to enrich themselves and evade genuine land distribution,” Echanis said noting that “under the guise of ‘just compensation’ provided by CARPER, farm workers still have to pay for the land without any assurance of ownership.”

More than half a century ago, Echanis said, “Hacienda Luisita was acquired by the Cojuangcos using government money, defied the conditionality of the loans from Central Bank and the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) that the lands will be distributed after 10 years, and continued to exploit farm workers up to now. In fact, the Cojuangcos still owe millions to the farm workers.”

“Farm workers have long paid for the land. The free distribution of Hacienda Luisita to genuine farm workers is legitimate, just, and reasonable,” Echanis said. #
--
KMP National Secretariat
25-B Matiyaga Street, Barangay Central, Quezon City Philippines
Telefax: 632-4352383
Email: kmp@kilusangmagbubukid.org

Web: www.kilusangmagbubukid.org

---------------

New Release
25 November 2011
Statement of Anakpawis Partylist on SC decision on Hacienda Luisita

SC decision on HLI affirms the need for a genuine land reform program

We congratulate the farm workers of Hacienda Luisita for their initial victory against the Aquino-Cojuanco landlord clan. There could be no other way for them to achieve the right to own the land that they have toiled for decades but determined and organized struggle. Decisive victory would only be achieved once the decision is implemented and when peasants and farm workers of Hacienda Luisita are already enjoying the fruits of their labor.

As we celebrate this victorious moment, we must remain vigilant against any attempt to reverse the SC decision. The 6-month wait for the implementation is a time for us to consolidate our ranks and safeguard our initial victory. The Aquino-Cojuanco clan will surely take legal maneuvers and dirty tactics using all their power to desperately reclaim the lands that we have fought for.

We warn President Benigno Cojuanco Aquino to not use his executive post to protect his family’s interests on Hacienda Luisita. The high court has already decided and the executive department have no other choice to give up and abide by the SC order.

Junk CARPER!

Though it was long overdue, the Supreme Court decision to actually distribute 4,915.75 hectares of land to its tillers is still laudable for it affirms the justness of our peasants’ struggle for genuine land reform against feudal exploitation of landlord clans like the Aquino-Cojuancos.

Hacienda Luisita has long been a testing ground for genuine land reform in the country. The HLI case proves that previous and present government land reform programs have failed to serve the purpose of giving land to tillers. The CARP and its extension CARPER even gave landlords full control over agricultural lands by allowing stock transfer schemes instead of actual land distribution.

Had these programs been successful and true to the cause of genuine land reform, it would not have taken decades before the justness of actual land distribution is realized, no lives of farm workers should have been claimed by government troops in a bloody massacre seven years ago and most of all, our peasants and farm workers should not have long suffered from hunger and poverty due to widespread landlessness.

Chief Justice Corona himself stated in his dissenting opinion that under the Constitution, actual land distribution is mandatory and anything that promises something other than land is unconstitutional.

We therefore demand that the bogus Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms (CARPER) be immediately junked for being unconstitutional and anti-peasant. As a replacement, the House of Representatives should immediately enact the House Bill 374 or the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB).

The House Bill 374 is a genuine and pro-peasant land reform program that would dismantle the monopoly of a few landlord families over the country’s vast agricultural lands. This is the only land reform program that promotes the welfare of Filipino peasants and farm workers by ensuring free and actual distribution of lands to its tillers.

The Filipino peasants’ struggle for genuine land reform still has a long way to go especially now that it remains dim under a landlord dominated administration. That is why we call on all peasants and farm workers, who comprise 75% of the country’s population, to pursue and intensify our struggle for land and justice.

As proven by the farm workers of Hacienda Luisita, only through our collective and militant struggle can we reclaim the lands that have been stolen by the few but powerful landlord families like the Cojuanco-Aquinos.

Fight for genuine land reform!
Junk CARPER!
Long live the peasants and farm workers of Hacienda Luisita!
Long live the peasant movement!

Reference: Joel Maglunsod, Anakpawis Executive Vice President, 985-5382, 0922-830-7275

-------------------------------------------

*NEWS RELEASE*
November 24, 2011

*Aquino urged to abide by SC’s unanimous decision on Hacienda Luisita*
*Farmers push for “free distribution” *

The militant peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) today welcomed the unanimous decision of the Supreme Court granting the total distribution to the farm workers of Hacienda Luisita, the vast estate owned by the Cojuangco-Aquino family and urged the President to abide by the decision.

In a 14-0 vote, the high tribunal ordered the distribution of 4,915 hectares of the sprawling Hacienda Luisita estate to the farmworkers and for Hacienda Luisita Inc. to pay the farmworkers P1.3 billion.

“In line with our findings that control over agricultural lands must always be in the hands of farmers, we reconsider our ruling that the qualified FWBs should be given an option to remain as stockholders of HLI, inasmuch as these qualified FWBs will never gain control given the present proportion of shareholdings in HLI,” the SC ruling said.

KMP deputy secretary general Randall Echanis described the SC decision as “a victory of the militant struggle of Hacienda Luisita farmworkers.”

“Aquino must immediately abide by the high court’s decision to distribute Hacienda Luisita, direct his family to let go of the Hacienda, and pay the farmworkers P1.3 billion,” says Echanis. “The Cojuangco family’s resistance and disrespect to the high court’s decision will expose that the President protects his family’s interests.”

The KMP leader also pushed for “the immediate free distribution of Hacienda Luisita to farmworkers” and that “placing the lands under the government’s Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms (CARPER) will be unacceptable to Hacienda Luisita farm workers.”

“It is the very same law that subjected the farm workers to feudal slavery,” says Echanis adding: “Farm workers have long paid for the land. The free distribution of Hacienda Luisita to genuine farm workers is
legitimate, just, and reasonable.”

“It is very clear under CARPER that landlords were given the right to identify who will be the beneficiaries. The Cojuangco-Aquinos will surely use this anti-peasant law to once again divide the ranks of farmworkers and place their dummies,” he said.

“We expect the President and his family to once again use the bogus CARPER to evade genuine land distribution,” Echanis said noting that “under the guise of ‘just compensation’ provided by CARPER, farm workers still have to pay for the land without any assurance of ownership.”

“The Hacienda Luisita farmworkers’ struggle is far from over. *Tuloy ang laban*,” the peasant leader said.

Echanis maintained that, “Hacienda Luisita was acquired by the Cojuangcos using government money, defied the conditionality of the loans from Central Bank and the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) that the lands will be distributed after 10 years, and continued to exploit farm workers up to
now. In fact, the Cojuangcos still owe billions of pesos to farm workers.” #
______________________________________________________________________________
Partylist ng masa... ANAKPAWIS
56 K-9 Street, West Kamias, Quezon City 1102
email: anakpawis2003@yahoo.com, anakpawis@gmail.com

visit our website http://anakpawis.net/

 

           

 

Five crucial problems in the SC decision on Hacienda Luisita
by Renato Reyes, BAYAN Secretary General

While the nation welcomed the decision of the Supreme Court ordering the actual land distribution of Hacienda Luisita, the SC decision presents several problems and challenges for farmers and advocates of land reform. The decision highlights the limitations and problems with government’s land reform program CARPER.

The SC decision ordered the compensation of the owners of Hacienda Luisita. By “owners”, we mean them Cojuangco-Aquino family. They will be compensated for the 4, 335 hectares that will be distributed to the farmers. If each hectare is valued at 100,000, the Cojuangco’s will receive P4.3 billion. The government will advance a certain amount, and the farmers will have to pay the entire amount through an amortization scheme. No less than President Benigno Aquino III stressed the importance of “just compensation” for the landowners. He also invoked CARPER as the basis for this “just compensation”. What is unjust in this scheme is that the vast estate was unjustly acquired by the Cojuangco’s through a government loan from the GSIS. In short, public funds were used to acquire the estate with the condition that land would eventually be distributed to the farmers. Furthermore, the farm workers have paid for the value of the land through their sweat and blood, working on the estate for several decades without receiving any of the supposed fruits of their labor. Over the years, the Cojuangco’s got richer and the farm workers were mired deeper in destitution. There is therefore nothing just in paying the Cojuangco’s P4.335 billion which will come from public funds and the pockets of the long-exploited farm workers. The farmers demand that the land be distributed for free.


The SC decision did not rule that the Stock Distribution Option scheme was unconstitutional. Only Chief Justice Renato Corona supported this opinion. It would have been a landmark victory for thousands of other farmers nationwide if the SDO itself, this loophole in the agrarian reform program of the first Aquino regime, was altogether junked. The SDO has been abused by big landlords who wanted to evade land reform and actual land distribution. Instead of actual land distribution, farmers are swindled through shares of stock.
 

The SC decision exempted the 500 hectare land purchased by RCBC. This is controversial because RCBC knew that the land in question was the subject of an agrarian dispute, yet it entered into a transaction with the Luisita management to acquire the land. They claimed that they were “innocent purchasers” but facts will reveal that RCBC , Luisita Industrial Park Corporation (a subsidiary of HLI) and Centennary Holdings had interlocking directors or officials. There is also the land conversion order which reclassified this supposedly agricultural land. The HLI management of course earned a hefty sum from this sale.
 

The SC decision exempted more than 1,000 hectares of land from the coverage of land reform. Farmers and their lawyers have challenged the basis of this exemption and have pushed that land reform cover at least 6,443 hectares.
 

The P1.3 billion payment by management to the farmers from the earnings of land sale (RCBC, SCTEX) will still be subjected to a lot of accounting wizardry. This amount can still go down if HLI shows that it spent the money for legitimate corporate expenses and taxes.
 

This is not a victory for CARPER. Quite the opposite, what happens in the next few months will show that CARPER will make genuine land reform even more difficult, nay impossible.

It is now the collective struggle of the farmers which will ensure that their legal victory (land distribution) will truly be beneficial for all farmer beneficiaries.

 


 

           

 

This is your landlord speaking….”
by Renato Reyes, Jr.

President Benigno Aquino III finally commented on the Supreme Court decision ordering the distribution of Hacienda Luisita to farmers. While careful not to comment on the actual merits of the decision for he has not read the 57-page ruling, Aquino did say two things that struck me.

First he said that “Sa agrarian reform, ang hinahabol ay dalawang bagay: number one, i-empower mo ung magsasaka upang magkaroon siya ng sariling lupang sasakahin. Okay yung parteng iyon, Ang pangalawang bagay ay: ‘wag natin ubusin ang capital. Ibig sabihin, meron ding just compensation para naman yung dating nagmamay-ari ng lupa ay hindi mo inaagawan ng lupa, bayaran mo ng tama,”

Spoken like a true hacendero.

The proposition that the big landlords of Luisita should be justly compensated is patently unjust. Just look at the history of how the Cojuangco’s acquired the land through a government loan on condition that the land will eventually be distributed to the farmers. Look at how the Luisita landowners evaded land reform by foisting on the farmers the deceptive “stock distribution option” instead of actual land distribution. Just look at how the farm workers toiled on the land under the SDO while the owners reaped the gains and the farmers took home P9.50/day.

“Sana ma-meet yung two objectives. Hindi dapat yung may pinapaboran na isang sektor at isasakripisyo ang isa. Kailangan sabay-sabay ang lahat ng sector”, he added.

Well ain’t that sheer demagoguery?

To say that the interests of landlords are being sacrificed is like saying Gloria Arroyo is kawawa for being unjustly persecuted. For decades, there was only the interest of the landlord that was advanced. You can see that quite clearly in the economic state of the farm workers versus the affluent living of the majority stockholders of HLI.
 

Now that farmers have a chance to get a small measure of social justice, the president is concerned that landlord interests are not getting the proper consideration that they deserve, that these interests would be sacrificed.

 

The farmers have earned the right to own the land, for free. The land has been paid for through decades of uncompensated hard work. In the first place, the acquisition of the land by the Cojuangco’s has been assailed as being anomalous.

The second thing he said that struck me was “I don’t think I am competent to comment, I haven’t read the decision… and there are other pressing matters before my table.”

The biggest agrarian dispute in years has been “resolved” by the SC and the president says he has “other pressing matters” before him. This statement should be taken as a sign by all that land reform is not a pressing concern for this administration. Never was, never will be. I pity the DAR and Sol-Gen who also appealed the decision of the SC along with the farmers. Seems they’re not getting much support from their Chief Executive. The least Aquino could have done was to publicly congratulate his own people, but then that would mean turning his back on his class.

Today we heard Benigno Aquino III speak not as president representing the people, but as a member of the landlord class. We are hardly surprised.

Just compensation? Try telling that to 80-year old Virginia Paligutan whose son died a red fighter in 2005, six years before the SC ruling. Or to the families of the massacre victims and martyrs of Luisita.

 

           

 

Celebrate legal victory, brace for greater struggles for the free distribution of land
 

Message to the peasants and farm workers of Hacienda Luisita

Communist Party of the Philippines
November 25, 2011

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) joins the broad masses of peasants and farm workers of Hacienda Luisita in their celebration of the Supreme Court's November 22 decision revoking the stock distribution option (SDO) scheme of Cojuangco-owned Hacienda Luisita Inc. and paving the way for the distribution of HLI's remaining 4,900-hectare plantation. At the same time, the CPP calls on the peasants and farm workers to further strengthen their unity and brace for bigger struggles.

The Supreme Court decision which was made public yesterday marks a turning point in the legal struggle of the peasants and farm workers of Hacienda Luisita against the SDO, a scheme used by the Cojuangcos since the late 1980s to evade land reform. Besides revoking the SDO, the SC also compelled HLI to pay the peasants and farm workers the amount of P1.3 billion, corresponding to the area of land sold by HLI in the past years, including those which have been turned into a residential enclave and a portion of the Subic-Clark Expressway. While ordering the distribution of land, the SC also recognized the HLI's "entitlement to just compensation."

The peasants and farm workers of Hacienda Luisita celebrate the SC decision because it boosts their century-long struggle to put an end to the land-monopoly ownership and achieve justice for the long decades of exploitation, oppression and fascist brutality by the Cojuangco landlord rule. They are, however, also fully aware that their struggle is far from over.

There is a keen observation that the decision of the Supreme Court is a counter-punch by the Arroyo camp against the Aquino regime for having filed criminal charges against former president Gloria Arroyo and effecting her arrest last week. This view is based on the fact that majority of the officals of the SC were appointed by Arroyo and are seen to be sympathetic to her. Indeed, there are deep fissures within the ruling classes, with Supreme Court decisions often reflecting the contradictions and accomodations among them and the power plays and political manueverings between those in and out of power.

However true, they do not diminish the significance of this latest legal victory of the peasants and farm workers of Hacienda Luisita. The peasants and farm workers have long demonstrated the justness of their legal and moral position against the SDO and for the distribution of the Hacienda Luisita lands. As a result, they have won widespread support from various sectors, from workers and students, lawyers and religious people. They have won this latest round in their legal battle not only through the sheer correctness of their opposition to the SDO, but also by having consistently demonstrated courage and determination to advance the cause of agrarian reform and fight for social justice.

We anticipate the peasants and farm workers of Hacienda Luisita to press for the immediate implementation of the SC decision. While their struggle has taken a significant turn, they are bound to encounter more obstacles along the way. After several decades of intransingence and opposition to land distribution, the Aquino and Cojuangco clans are not expected to easily give up their claim to the Hacienda Luisita land. HLI is expected to put up one legal fight after another in the Supreme Court and beyond.

With their scion in Malacañang, the Cojuangcos can still bring their machinations to the Department of Agrarian Reform, the agency tasked to carry out the distribution of land. The recognition of the HLI's entitlement to "just compensation" for the agricultural land to be transferred to the DAR goes against the social justice aspect of agrarian reform which demand the expropriation of land which have been acquired through feudal oppression, corruption, deception and brutality by big landowners such as those of the Cojuangcos. It reduces land reform to a real estate transaction between the state and the big landlords.

This CARP provision for "just compensation" reaffirmed by the SC decision has often been used in the past by big landlords in collusion with the DAR to overburden the peasants with so-called land amortization payments, making them easy prey to landlord-backed usurers and merchants. They are eventually unable to hold on to their land titles. In not a few cases, peasants have been forced to sell their land back to the landlords or to corporations owned by these landlords.

Learning lessons from the past, the peasants and farm workers of Hacienda Luisita can achieve bigger victories in their struggle for land reform. They stand on a moral highground in their demand for the immediate and free distribution of land. They should vigorously oppose any scheme to compel them to amortize the land which had been unjustly taken away from them. They must oppose any scheme to "compensate" the Cojuangcos for the land which they have unjustly expropriated from the peasant masses.

They must also continue to stand united and pursue their campaign to collectively administer and till the land. In the past several months, they have harvested the fruits of their Bungkalan campaign, where the work of tilling the land, planting and harvesting is shared among the peasants and farm workers. Through their campaign, the Hacienda Luisita peasants and farm workers have succeeded in collectively producing vegetables and other food crops resulting in increased incomes and a better quality of life.

The struggle of the peasants and farm workers in Hacienda Luisita underscore the continuing widespread struggle of the Filipino peasant masses for genuine agrarian reform. Twenty-three years since the enactment of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL), landlord power continues to prevail and dominate the countryside and national politics. The poor peasants and farm workers continue to be subjected to various forms of feudal and semifeudal exploitation and oppression. Landlords and big corporations continue to grab and expropriate land resulting in the widespread displacement of peasants and minority peoples, poverty, hunger and social unrest. The revolutionary armed struggle continue to rage in the countryside precisely because it addresses the peasants democratic outcry for land reform.

The struggle and recent victories of the peasants and farm workers in Hacienda Luisita inspire the peasant masses across the country to more vigorously pursue their struggle for land reform. While the blaze of agrarian struggles spread across the countryside, the peasants and farm workers of Hacienda Luisita are further emboldened to hold on firmly to their principles and demands, and together with the rest of the Filipino people, march along the path of social and national liberation.

 

 

Press Statement
24 Nobyembre 2011

Ipinagbubunyi ng mga manggagawa ang maka-magsasakang desisyon ng Korte Suprema sa Hacienda Luisita

Kaisa ng masang magsasaka at anakpawis sa buong bansa, nagagalak ang Kilusang Mayo Uno at masang manggagawa sa pasya ng Korte Suprema na ipamahagi na ang halos limang hektarya ng Hacienda Luisita sa mga magbubukid doon.

Tama ang Korte Suprema sa pagsasabing hindi kailanman magkakaroon ng kontrol sa lupa ang mga magbubukid sa ilalim ng Stock Distribution Option na itinutulak ng manedsment ng Hacienda Luisita Incorporated.

Higit pa diyan, matagal nang dapat ipinamahagi ang lupa ng Hacienda Luisita sa mga magbubukid dahil ito ang isinasaad sa kondisyon ng utang na ginamit pambili ng hacienda at dahil matagal nang nabayaran ng mga magbubukid ang lupa sa pamamagitan ng kanilang pagsasaka.

Magiging napakahalaga ng desisyong ito, lalo na’t ang botohan ay 14 sa 15 hukom, sa kasaysayan ng kaso sa Hacienda Luisita, gayundin ng iba pang katulad na kaso sa bansa. Sikapin man ng mga Cojuangco-Aquino at maging ni Pang. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III na paatrasin ang naturang desisyon – at tiyak na gagawin nila iyan – hindi na mabubura ang ganitong pagtindig ng Korte Suprema.

Nakasisiguro kami, gayunman, na hindi ito ang katapusan ng laban para sa tunay na reporma sa lupa sa Hacienda Luisita. Tiyak, kikilos ang pamilyang Cojuangco-Aquino at maging si Pang. Aquino para paatrasin ang desisyon ng Korte Suprema.

Sa malayong tanaw, ambag lamang ang desisyong ito ng Korte Suprema sa pakikibaka para sa lupa at katarungan sa Hacienda Luisita. Pero nakasisiguro kaming magpapatuloy at magpapatuloy pa ang naturang pakikibaka.

Kaya nananawagan kami sa mga magbubukid ng Hacienda Luisita: Pahigpitin ang inyong pagkakaisa. Palakasin ang inyong paglaban para sa lupa at katarungan. Nasa inyo, hindi sa anumang korte, ang tagumpay ng pakikibaka. Higit sa Korte Suprema, kaisa ninyo ang mga manggagawa at buong sambayanan sa inyong makatarungang paglaban.

Reference: Roger Soluta, KMU secretary-general, 0928-7215313For Immediate Release
November 24, 2011
SC ruling on Luisita is victory for farmers -Anakbayan

DAVAO CITY – Militant youth group Anakbayan welcomes the Supreme Court decision ordering the distribution of about 5,000 hectares of Hacienda Luisita Incorporated (HLI) plantation to over 6,000 registered farm-workers beneficiaries (FWBs). The massive sugarcane plantation is owned by President Benigno Aquino III’s family in Tarlac.

“It must be remembered that seven years ago hundreds of farmers fought for the land of the Hacienda Luisita wherein many of them were hurt during the dispersion carried out by police and military and seven were killed by government troops. This justice that the farmers deserve is long overdue,” said Cherry Orendain, Anakbayan regional spokesperson.

The decision was unanimous where 14 out of 15 magistrates voted for the decision of land distribution. It explained that the decision is in accordance with Agrarian Reform which promised to give agricultural lands to the farmers. The stock distribution plan implemented before by the management, as stated in the High Court ruling, will never provide FWBs the control of the land that they tilled for decades.

The SC also reiterated its ruling in July ordering HLI to pay the farmers a total of P1.33 billion broken down as follows:
P500 million HLI received from Luisita Realty Inc. for the sale of 200 hectares of land in 1996;
P750 million for the sale of the Luisita Industrial Park; and,
P80, 511,500 for the sale of the 80.51-hectare lot for the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) road network.
“We demand President Aquino to immediately order the Department of Agrarian Reform to the start the actual distribution of the land to the farm workers” Orendain said.

“We congratulate and salute the farm workers of Hacienda Luisita. They could not reach this stage of struggle without their militant, collective and unwavering stand” Orendain said.

“The victory of Hacienda Luisita farm workers is also the victory of the entire Filipino masses. This will serve as an inspiration for us youth to continue the fight for the liberation of the people against the oppressive landlords and capitalists,” she said.

For reference:

Cherry Orendain
Regional Spokesperson
Anakbayan
09091378792

 

           
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