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TEACHERS’ REPRESENTATIVE CALLS FOR JUSTICE FOR LUISITA VICTIMS, URGE PULL-OUT OF BALIKATAN EXERCISES

3 May 2010 No Comment

(Originally posted on November 16, 2010)

 

 

After six years, justice continues to elude the victims of the Hacienda Luisita massacre. After decades of struggle, genuine land reform remains out of reach for tillers of the vast Cojuangco-Aquino estate.

 

On November 16, 2004, police and military forces fired upon hundreds of striking workers and their supporters in Hacienda Luisita, killing seven and injuring scores. In the months following the massacre, prominent leaders and supporters of the strike, including the sugar central union president Ricardo Ramos, Tarlac City councilor Abel Ladera, and Aglipayan priest Fr. William Tadena, were assassinated, victims of extrajudicial killings by suspected military agents.

 

“Six years after the killings at Luisita, not a single perpetrator has been brought to justice,” lamented ACT Teachers Party-List Representative Antonio Tinio. “It is a sad and brutal reality that in our society, farmers can be massacred with impunity.” He noted that the demands for justice and for genuine land reform at the Hacienda continues to be “the lithmus test of President Noynoy Aquino’s committment to human rights and social justice. As the most powerful and prominent member of the Cojuangco clan, he has a huge personal responsibility in ensuring that justice is served. Luisita will continue to hound his administration for as long as the issues remain unresolved.”

 

Tinio cited the Cojuangcos’ efforts to implement a grossly unequal stock-sharing scheme that would effectively deny farmers their right to own the land as well as reported negotiations to lease the lands to foreign investors, including the Chinese Wahaha group.”Unfortunately, Aquino’s hands-off attitude has allowed his clan to push policies within the Hacienda that have grossly aggravated the repression and landlessness of the farmers.”

 

Tinio likewise condemned plans to conduct thr joint RP-US training exercise known as Balikatan inside the vast sugar estate. “By allowing US troops to operate within the President’s estate, Malacanang is raising the level of militarization and repression on the local population. This is an ill-advised move that can only be interpreted as self- serving on the part of PNoy. The Balikatan should be pulled out of Luisita.”

 

“On the anniversary of the Hacienda Luisita massacre, progreswive teachers and education workers are in solidarity with the farmers of Hacienda Luisita in their search for justice and genuine agrarian reform,” concluded Tinio. ###

 

 

 

 

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