Not content with its vicious campaign of bulldozing crops, burning of farm huts and fencing off of hundreds of hectares of agricultural lands in Hacienda Luisita, Jose “Peping” Cojuangco’s Tarlac Development Corporation (TADECO) is now circulating a petition peddling the lie that the continued control of the Cojuangco-Aquinos in Hacienda Luisita will bring peace and development to the Luisita farmers.
The petition, deceptively titled “Manifesto of the Residents of Hacienda Luisita,” is being distributed in all ten Luisita barangays together with a newletter published by a shady entity called LAPIS or the Luisita Advocacies, Public Information Service.
Such measures of deceit have long been the trademark style of the Cojuangco-Aquino clan in Hacienda Luisita, complementing its equally-proven propensity to employ violence in the name of its big-landlord interests. The current petition is no different from the so-called referenda pushed by the Cojuangco-Aquinos in 1989 which clinched the approval of the Stock Distribution Option (SDO) which transformed the Luisita estate into a corporation and effectively skirted land distribution. The referenda in 1989 and another in 2010 were classic hacendero exercises in bribery, deception, intense intimidation and harassment.
The Cojuangco-Aquino manifeto is also trying to vilify the Alyansa ng mga Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita (AMBALA) as an isolated group that could only offer gloom and self-serving propaganda that malign the image of Hacienda Luisita. The truth however is that the AMBALA, together with its allied people’s formations like the Unyon ng Manggagawa sa Agrikultura and the Kilusang Magbubukid sa Pilipinas, has been consistently carrying the militant struggle for genuine land reform and justice— the only real hope in fact that the people of Haciend Luisita can ever cling to.
LAPIS on the other hand, states that TADECO’s development of its 358 hectares of land would propel Tarlac’s economy. It added that unfortunately this was scuttled by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) by issuing a Notice of Coverage on said lands. It also denied that there is no militarization on said area.
It failed to state though that the 31st Mechanized Battalion has a detachment right inside in the disputed lands, particularly in Barangay Balete and police including a fully armed SWAT team that were used in an illegal eviction action that TADECO ordered in the said village on December 21st, 2013.
Lately TADECO again with the aid of the police has been trying to bulldoze another 214 hectares of lands in barangays Mapalacsiao and Central. TADECO has still large areas of agricultural lands which DAR has purposely excluded from issuing a Notice of Coverage.
Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura
(Agricultural Workers Union)
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