call to distribute Hacienda Luisita. (Photo by AMGL)
“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. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
“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 said.
“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. #