12 years after the massacre, Luisita farmers still clamor for land, justice
Manila, Philippines – The fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) joined various organizations on a 3-day People’s Cultural Caravan for Land, Justice and Peace in Hacienda Luisita to commemorate the 12th anniversary of the bloody massacre against the farm workers which occurred on November 12, 2004.
On November 16, 2004, when the farm workers in Hacienda Luisita launched a massive strike, military and police violently dispersed the protest, killing seven farm workers and injuring more than a hundred others.
The said caravan, dubbed as Remember Luisita was led by the agricultural workers’ organization Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) which started from 14-16 November.
PAMALAKAYA condemned both the past Arroyo and Aquino administration for failing to hold all those involved in the gruesome crime accountable including Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Generals Ricardo Visaya and Gregorio Catapang, who both became top AFP Generals during then-President Aquino’s term.
“Both the Arroyo and Aquino regime have failed to provide justice to the slain farmers of Luisita. Then-President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was one of the responsible in the gruesome carnage against our farmers, same as then-President Aquino who does not even showed any remorse for the farmers who till and enrich their family-owned hacienda.” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.
Despite the Surpeme Court’s decision on 2012 to distribute the six thousand hectares of sugar estate to the farmers, Aquino manipulated the decision and implemented bogus land reforms in order to retain his family’s control over the hacienda.
“12 years after the massacre yet Luisita farmers still clamor for land and justice. Many farmers have already spilled blood and tears yet the sugar estate still remains at the bloody hands of the Cojuangco-Aquinos,”
“The case of Luisita farmers is just one of many cases of landlessness and injustice among the Filipino peasantry. No justice unless all those involved will be held criminally liable and the lands that the farmers have died for are freely distributed to the hands of the tillers. We urge the current administration to bring justice to the Hacienda Luisita martyrs and all Filipino farmers who are victims of human rights abuses and extra judicial killings fueled by the current semi-feudal order,” Hicap ended. ###