inside Hacienda Luisita. (Photo by LUPPA)
“Who else to blame on this matter? The Cojuangco-Aquinos’ expertise to oppress farmworkers have been proven since the day we began struggling for our rights to land,” Felix Nacpil Jr., Chairperson, Ambala.
“RCBC is the new landlord of 184 hectares in Brgy. Balete and they would only be successful when all our blood has been shed on this land. We would make history that they could only acquire this land by killing us. If they do so, they are only making their blood debt against us and the people,” said Nacpil.
“RCBC is also at the same time a victim of the Cojuangco-Aquinos. They have been paid intentionally with lands under dispute. This is only a consequence of the Cojuangco-Aquinos’ preservation of their control over the hacienda,” Nacpil said.
“Actually, we firmly believe that all this problem is caused by the Cojuangco-Aquinos’ effort to ‘divide’ the residents of Hacienda Balete as we witnessed they took advantage of the farmworkers’ poverty. The RCBC guards have been accompanied by about 200 residents of Brgy. Balete who were paid P300 daily to attack us. They were the ones were at the front of the armed guards. This is a classic Cojuangco-Aquino tactic since the time they controlled the hacienda,” Nacpil added.
“For days, the tension between farmworkers and RCBC security guards continues. The paid residents of Brgy. Balete and other barangays outside Hacienda Luisita to throw stones to us while blocking their workers to put up fences inside the vicinity of 184 hectares of land”, Nacpil said.
“The Cojuangco-Aquinos want us farmworkers to fight with each other. The Cojuangco-Aquinos have merely mastered this maneuver and want us to surrender our rights to the 184 hectares in Brgy. Balete, as well as the aggregate 4,915 hectares agricultural lands in the hacienda,” Nacpil said.
Ambala and AMGL said that the RCBC and Cojuangco-Aquinos effort to displace farmworkers have started last year and continued up to now. They attempted to displace farmworkers and demolish their camp-out located in Brgy. Balete last October 28, 2011 and February 20, 2012 deploying 100 security guards, elements of Tarlac provincial police and elements of Philippine Army who escorted the fencing of the said land. On February 20, the team of security guards, police and military fired shots eight times to more than 300 farmworkers.
Aside from that, they filed cases of grave coercion and occupation of real property to 22 farmworkers and their supporters when farmworkers cultivated and developed the said land that started last July 15, 2011. Also, another 15 leaders and members of Ambala were charged with malicious mischief, grave coercion and robbery when the February 20 incident happened.
Ambala and AMGL also condemned the Aquino government’s inaction, as the disputed land in Brgy. Balete is a subject of a pending petition at the Dept. of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to revocate the conversion order issued in 1995. Farmworkers affirm that RCBC has no right to construct fences as the case is also pending at the Supreme Court.
“The Cojuangco-Aquinos are invoking that the Supreme Court decision is not yet final when it is ordering the lands should be distributed to the farmworkers, but they and RCBC are carrying out the construction of fences,” said Joseph Canlas, AMGL chairperson.
“We are presently witnessing a consequence of president Aquino’s ‘noynoying’ as DAR is ‘mind bogglingly slow’ on acting on the petition. It is either that they are really that incompetent or Aquino is directly jamming their supposed mandate,” Canlas said.
“The country should learn from the Hacienda Luisita issue as the Aquino government is directly involved, his family is the main adversary of fundamental reforms, the police and military are at their disposal and killing farmworkers who struggle for their rights to land is an habitual to the feudal and fascist landlord family,” Canlas said. #