Farmers belonging to Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luson (AMGL, Peasant Alliance in Central Luzon), Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Tarlak (AMT, Peasant Alliance in Tarlac) and Alyansa ng Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita (AMBALA, Farmworkers’ Alliance in Hacienda Luisita) strongly condemned the attempted demolition of their encampment at Brgy. Balete. According to Joseph Canlas, AMGL chair, about 60 elements of Tarlac city police, 2 demolition teams composed of more than 60 men, military intelligence agents and a squad of the Philippine Army threatened to demolish the camp but were barred by more than 150 Hacienda Luisita farmworkers from doing so.
“This is pure harassment by the Cojuangco-Aquinos who consciously sold the problematic hacienda lands to RCBC. Though RCBC filed with trespassing cases, the court has yet to decide thus, demolition has no legal basis whatsoever. If RCBC is truly involved with this, it is playing with fire as farmworkers could easily protest at its main office in Makati for the whole country to see what they are doing in far places such as Hacienda Luisita,” Canlas said.
The groups believe that the Cojuangco-Aquinos are racing through time to consolidate their control over the hacienda lands as the Supreme Court would decide on the case of the stock distribution option (SDO). The Cojuangco-Aquinos firmly know that whatever the high court decides, the primary issue would be their concrete hold of the land against the firm determination of the farmworkers.
“This clealry shows the backward and feudal attitude of the Cojuangco-Aquinos, they are using brute violence to terrorize the farmworkers who are struggling for their rights to land. President Aquino is similarly guilty as primarily involved his family and with state forces being an instrument of oppression,” Canlas said.
The groups said that Aquino has long accepted that he is a guardian of his family’s landlord interests over Hacienda Luisita.
“The only thing that is keeping the Cojuangco-Aquinos from repeating the massacre is the strong determination of the farmworkers and the overwhelming public support. The high court has already felt the feeling of being rammed by the broad public during the ‘Occupy Supreme Court’ mobilization that called for the distribution of the hacienda. President Aquino has also seen the three-day occupation of Mendiola,” Canlas added.
The groups are calling for more support from different sectors as the threat of the farmworkers’ camp-out being demolished is continuing.
“We invite sectors, individuals and groups to visit the camp-out at Hacienda Luisita. The people should see for themselves the oppression and exploitation the Cojuangco-Aquinos have subjected the farmworkers. This period is a turning point to the history of peasant struggle against land monopoly. Every Filipino should see the very foundation of Aquino’s presidency, the hypocrisy that sustains their landlord control over the hacienda,” Canlas said. #