The farmer group Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luson (AMGL, Farmers’ Alliance in Central Luzon) and Alyansa ng Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita (Ambala, Farmworkers’ Alliance in Hacienda Luisita) said that another massacre of farmworkers is very much like to happen as the Cojuangco-Aquino and Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC) continue its effort to disperse the farmworkers’ camp-out by putting up fences around the 184-hectares of agricultural land located at Brgy. Balete, Tarlac City.
“Security guards of the Cojuangco-Aquinos and RCBC have fired on us last February 20, that is meant to scare us off, but actually we are already used to the sound of gunshots and we already have nothing to lose as president Aquino’s family has snatched the future of our many generations by putting our families into deep poverty and misery,” said Felix Nacpil, Jr., Ambala Chairperson.
Ambala reported that yesterday, two truckloads of soldiers have arrived at Brgy. Balete that they believe would be used to restrain our resistance to the fencing operations of the Cojuangco-Aquinos and RCBC, and totally demolish the farmworkers’ camp-out.
“We already have nothing to turn to as the Dept. of Agrarian Reform, the courts, the police and military, every government agency is under the disposal of the Cojuangco-Aquinos. All we have is our warm bodies, our bolos, our farm implements, our bare arms afront the deadly firearms of the security guards, police and military. We would die fighting for our rights to land as we did during the Hacienda Luisita massacre on November 16, 2004. We want everybody to remember our struggle as an illustration of the poor farmers’ struggle against the powerful and influential Cojuangco-Aquino landlord family,” Nacpil said.
Ambala and AMGL said that the Hacienda Luisita struggle is an appropriate model for all the farmers’ struggle in the country. AMGL is the regional organization of Ambala.
“We are witnessing the social unrest where the landlord family employs the president and its power for their vested interest, on the other hand, the organized and socially educated farmworkers fighting resolutely for their rights to land, genuine land reform and social justice in the country,” said Joseph Canlas, AMGL Chairperson.
“The Aquino government would be doomed to hell if another farmworker is killed in Hacienda Luisita. This would be the indisputable truth that Aquino is nothing but a landlord instrument to serve his family’s interest over the land. He is useless for the interest of the poor farmers and other sectors in our country,” Canlas added.
The groups said that the legitimate claim of the farmworkers over the land is incontestable and the whole country, even the world is aware of how the Cojuangcos have gained control over the 6,453-hectares.
“Farmers, workers, urban poor, youth-students, women, church people, professionals are supporting the Hacienda Luisita farmworkers’ struggle. The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines has also supported their struggle for social justice,” Canlas said.
Moreover, the groups said that the disputed land is subject by a petition pending at the Department of Agrarian Reform, particularly the cancellation of the conversion order issued in 1995.
“The Cojuangco-Aquinos and RCBC have no right to displace the farmworkers as its conversion order should be long ago cancelled as there was no development within 5 years after its issuance. We believe that DAR is not seriously working on the petition and tolerating the actions of the Cojuangco-Aquinos and RCBC,” Canlas said.
“We demand that DAR finally cancel that conversion order so that the harassment on the farmworkers would be prevented. Otherwise, the consequence would be their responsibility,” he added.
AMGL also belied the claim of Col. Arnulfo Burgos Jr., spokesperson of the 7th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army under the Northern Luzon Command (Nolcom) based in Tarlac City.
“We don’t know if Col. Burgos is a pathological liar or plainly stupid. The military never left Hacienda Luisita even after the massacre, 10 barangays have been deployed with military detachment that served as an instrument to repress the farmworkers’ resistance against the Cojuangco-Aquinos. If he continues to declare that there is no military in the hacienda, then we would immediately kick out those who base at the barangay hall of Brgy. Balete as they are deemed impostors,” Canlas said.
Ambala members claimed that the soldiers were with the security guards with some wearing civilian clothes.
“We call on other sectors to visit the farmworkers’ camp-out and see for themselves how the family of president Aquino coerce the people of Hacienda Luisita. This is a perfect replica of the our society with the ruling class exploiting the masses. The very presence of other sectors at the camp-out is a deterrent against the Cojuangco-Aquinos fascist tactics,” called Canlas. #