“Nine years after the Hacienda Luisita Massacre, the struggle of the farm workers continues. The killings, human rights violations and deceit continue. There has been absolutely no justice attained under the BA Aquino administration,” Cristina Palabay, Karapatan secretary general said.
In November 16, 2004, thirteen Luisita farmworkers were massacred while they were on strike, demanding decent wages and land distribution. The big landlord clans of the Aquinos and Cojuangcos own the more than 5,000-hectare wide Hacienda Luisita.
“The Supreme Court may have decided to distribute the vast lands of Luisita in 2012, but the Aquinos and Cojuangcos, Dept. of Agrarian Reform and Tarlac Development Corporation (TADECO) are using all possible kinds of deception, bribery, state violence to prevent the lands to be actually distributed to all farmworkers,” Palabay said.
In those nine years, eight cases of extra-judicial killings and one enforced disappearance related to the Hacienda Luisita struggle was documented by Karapatan. This includes the murder of Obispo Maximo Alberto Ramento in October 3, 2006, a staunch supporter of the farm workers during and after the strike.
“Nine years after, those responsible to the massacre have not spent one day in prison. Former Dept. Of Labor and Employment secretary Patricia Sto. Tomas, is holding office at the Land Bank of the Philippines. Gen. Ricardo Visaya, head of the Philippine Army deployed in the Hacienda Luisita and a protege of Ret. Maj. Palparan is still sowing terror in the places where he is being deployed,” Palabay cited. Gen. Visaya’s recent stint of terror is the beheading of the village councilor Ely Oguis, justifying that the victim is an NPA tax collector. “Then Senator BS Aquino, whose family’s interests reign in the hacienda, is now the President,” Palabay said.
Meanwhile, Karapatan strongly condemns the latest case of extrajudicial killing in the town that recently suffered bombings by the Philippine Army.
While the whole world was witnessing the tragedy brought by typhoon Yolanda, Juban, Sorsogon in the Bicol Region suffered another case of extra-judicial killing. Wellington Brogada Jr., male, 50 years old was gunned down on morning of November 11, 2013 in front of his house in Brgy. Catanagan, Juban, Sorsogon.
Brogada, a tricycle driver, came from Brgy. Biriran to drop off a passenger. As he was nearing his house, a passenger of the motorcycle coming from the back of Brogada’s tricycle alighted and shot the victim four times. The first bullet came through Brogada’s nape which exited through his left cheek. Three other bullets were fired at his chest. The gun man casually aboarded the motorcycle bearing no plate number. The perpetrators went to the direction of the town center of Juban. Another motorcycle met with the perpetrator to receive the gun used to kill Brogada. It sped to the direction of the Brgy. Rangas where the headquarters of 31st Infantry Battalion Philippine Army is located. According to witnesses, Brogada was already being tailed by the gunman starting from Sitio Madlangaw, Brgy. Tabok.
Brogada is a member of Bayan Muna Sorsogon and was part of the Fact Finding Mission that documented the September 22 incident of bombing and strafing by 31st Infantry Battalion of the Phil. Army in Brgy. Calmayon and Brgy. Maalo, Juban, Sorsogon.
“Dito magaling ang gobyerno ni BS Aquino, ang mambomba ng mga komunidad, pumatay ng mga kritiko,” (This is what BS Aquino’s government good at, bombing communities and kill his critiques.) Palabay said in condemnation. “Yet, in addressing people’s concerns, preparing for disasters such as Yolanda and providing immediate relief to the survivors, we just don’t seem to see the government’s response,” Palabay ended.
PUBLIC INFORMATION DESK
Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights
2nd Floor, Erythrina Building
#1 Maaralin corner Matatag Streets
Central District, Diliman, Quezon City
Telefax: (+63 2) 4354146
KARAPATAN is an alliance of human rights organizations and programs, human rights desks and committees of people’s organizations, and individual advocates committed to the defense and promotion of people’s rights and civil liberties. It monitors and documents cases of human rights violations, assists and defends victims and conducts education, training and campaign.