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Justice for Hacienda Luisita massacre, impossible under Aquino government

10th year anniversary of the Hacienda Luisita strike

In commemorating the 10th year anniversary of the start of the historic strike in Hacienda Luisita by farm and mill workers on November 6, 2004, the militant Anakpawis Partylist said in a statement that justice for the victims of the violent dispersal dubbed as “Hacienda Luisita massacre” that took place 10 days later is “impossible” under the administration of president Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III.

“Sa ilalim ni Aquino, kung saan may malaking impluwensya at kontrol ang pamilyang Cojuangco-Aquino sa  mga ahensya at institusyon, makikitang imposibleng mabigyang hustisya ang mga biktima ng masaker sa kanyang termino,”  [Under Aquino, where his family enjoys immense influence and control over  gov’t agencies and institutions, it is apparent that justice would remain elusive under his term,] said Anakpawis Partylist Representative Fernando “Ka Pando” Hicap.

Anakpawis said that the Hacienda Luisita issue had its roots to the centuries-old feudal problem that consequently led to the impoverished state of the farm workers compelling them to wage the strike in 2004.  In 1989, former president Corazon Aquino who promised to distribute the 6,453-hectare sugar lands to the farm workers had instead covered it under the Republic Act 6657 or Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), particularly section 32 or its provision of stock distribution option (sdo).  In more than a decade of being under the sdo scheme, farm worker beneficiaries (fwbs) suffered even worse socio-economic conditions that later pushed them to go on strike in 2004 to demand for land distribution.

“Nagsilbing instrumento ang CARP at sdo ng pamilyang Cojuangco-Aquino upang sila ay kumita nang malaki habang nagtiis sa hirap at gutom ang mga manggagawang bukid tulad ng pag-uwi ng arawang sahod na P9.50,” [CARP and sdo served as instruments to benefit the Cojuangco-Aquino family while farm workers faced poverty and hunger as demonstrated by their daily take-home pay that amounted to P9.50,] said Hicap.

On November 10, 2004, then-labor secretary Patricia Sto. Tomas of the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo gov’t issued an assumption of jurisdiction (aj) which practically served as “license” to violently disperse the picket line. Truckloads of government state forces were immediately deployed and on November 16, striking farm workers were fired upon resulting in the killing of 7, namely Jun David, Jhaivie Basilio, Jesus Laza, Jessie Valdez, Juancho Sanchez, Adriano Caballero Jr. and Jaime Pastidio, and the wounding of more than a hundred.

“Ang kutsabahang pamilyang Cojuangco-Aquino at Arroyo na gumamit ng aj ang nagbigay ng ‘go signal’ para pagbabarilin ang mga nagwewelgang manggagawang bukid, kaya malaki ang kanilang utang na dugo sa pamilya ng mga biktima at hanggang ngayon ay walang hustisyang naigagawad,” [The collusion between the Cojuangco-Aquino family and Arroyo which utilized the aj, gave the “go signal” for the gov’t forces to open fire at the striking farm workers, thus, they have a huge blood debt to the families of the victims and until now justice is yet to be served,] Hicap said.

The farm workers filed criminal charges against then-congressman Aquino and his relatives which were dismissed by the Ombudsman on July 2005.

“Habang busy ang mga alyado ni Aquino sa hacienda Binay, magsasampung taon na ang kawalang hustisya sa kanya mismong hasyenda, wala na tayong maaasahan sa ganitong gubyerno, kaya, ang hustisya ay posible lamang kapag tapos na ang kanyang pagkapangulo,” [While the Aquino’s allies are busy dealing with hacienda Binay, injustice within his own hacienda is nearing a decade-old, we have nothing to hope for this kind of gov’t, hence, justice is only possible when Aquino’s presidency is over,] Hicap said.


Anakpawis Partylist Rep. Fernando Hicap
Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura
(Agricultural Workers Union)

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