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    Aquino’s Christmas offering in Hacienda Luisita: Bulldozing farmcrops, mauling, illegal arrest of farmworkers

    21 December, 3:30 pm. Two police mobile cars, two vans of SWAT and 30 security guards of Tarlac Development Corporation (TADECO) including a bulldozer went to the hut of Raymund Alcaide in Barangay Balete where farm workers where converged to defend their right to the land.

    During the confrontation, security guards of TADECO told the farm workers that they will continue their bulldozing activities which started on 12 December. The farm workers asked a copy from the court or the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) ordering this. They also showed the police officers and the security guards the notice of land reform coverage of DAR which proves that what the Cojuangcos are land grabbing should be distributed to the farm workers.

    Even Tarlac City Councilor Emmy Ladera who negotiated on behalf of the farmers was not respected by the guards and the police under the leadership of Tarlac City Philippine National Police OIC Chief Bayani Razalan, Provincial Director Alex Sintin, chief of Great Star Security Agency, Mauro dela Cruz and TADECO representative Villamor Lagunero.

    The police officers and guards brushed off the arguments of the farm workers and proceeded with bulldozing the rice fields of the family of Melchor Ramos. Al Martinez operated the bulldozer. While the bulldozing activity was in progress which was protected by police officers, security guards destroyed the newly rebuilt hut of Raymond Alcaide.

    Because the farm workers wanted to stop these, the police ordered their arrest with the support of the security guards. Those who were arrested include Vicente Sambo who was also mauled; Rod and his mother Eufemia Acosta, Ronald Sakay, husband and wife Jose & Elsa Baldiviano, and Manuel and Mamerto Mandigma.

    TADECO started its bulldozing activities on 12 December on the rice fields of the farm workers in Barangay Balete. The Alyansa ng Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita (AMBALA) and the Unyon ng mga Manggagawang Bukid (UMA) came to know also from DAR Assistant Secretary Teofilo Inocencio that it was also the same day when his office forwarded the Notice of Coverage to Peping Cojuangco. These are located in Barangays Balete and Cutcut – which means the lands being coveted by the Cojuangcos is covered or part of land reform and should be distributed to the farm workers. Said notice was also published in the Philippine Star on 17 December as Peping did not receive the notice in his Tarlac and Makati offices.

    Again, the local police forces in Tarlac are under the beck and call of the Cojuangco-Aquino families, even if local officials or even the DAR pointed out to them that said lands do not belong to TADECO. Besides the police and armed security guards, the military through the 3rd Mechanized Battalion also set up its camp in the same place where the rice lands being cultivated by the leaders of AMBALA.

    Land and justice for the farm workers of Hacienda Luisita!

    SUGGESTED ACTION:

    1. Call upon competent authorities to intervene, observe and uphold the rights of the farm workers who were just exercising their rights to the land. This includes  their immediate release.
    2. Hold in contempt TADECO and the police officials for ignoring the Notice of Coverage of DAR and for not securing any court order for the arrests and bulldozing
    3. Guarantee the means for the victims to access their land, rebuild their houses, cultivate crops and raise their livestock without any fear of reprisal
    4. Pull-out of all security guards, the 3rd Mechanized Battalion, and para-military troops in the disputed lands.
    5. Ensure that the police and other state security forces will not intervene in this agrarian dispute

    Kindly SEND LETTERS of Concern TO:

    1. Hon. Benigno Simeon Aquino III
    President of the Republic of the Philippines
    Malacanang Palace
    JP Laurel Street, San Miguel
    Manila 1005 Philippines

    Fax: +63 2 736 1010
    Tel: +63 2 735 6201 / 564 1451 to 80
    Email: corres@op.gov.ph / opnet@ops.gov.ph

    2. Secretary Virgilio R. Delos Reyes
    Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR)
    Elliptical Road, Diliman, Quezon City
    Philippines
    Fax: +63 2 920 0380
    Tel: +63 2 929 3460; 928 7031, Local 401
    e-mail: secretary@dar.gov.ph / gildlr2010@gmail.com

    3. Secretary MAR ROXAS
    Department of Interior and Local Government
    Email:  maia@marroxas.com; mbunico@dilg.gov.ph
    Contact No.: Tel. No. 925-0330 / 925-0331;
    Fax No. 925-0332

    4. Police Director General Alan LA Madrid Purisima
    Chief, Philippine National Police
    Camp General Rafael Crame
    Quezon City, Philippines
    Fax: +63 2 724 8763/ +63 2 723 0401
    Tel: + 63 2 726 4361/4366/8763
    Email: feedback@pnp.gov.ph

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    Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura
    (Agricultural Workers Union)
    Philippines

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