Photo by Jes Aznar /

The camera caught the feet of a boy atop a pile of sugarcane stalks at the Hacienda Luisita, a 6,000-hectare plantation owned by the Cojuangco and Aquino clans in Tarlac (120 kms. north of Manila). One look and we can see the contrast between the sweetness of the sugarcane and the difficult life of the child as shown by the scars of his legs. He is among the children of Hacienda Luisita’s many sacadas (seasonal farm workers), who cannot even go to the local school as their parents, lowly-paid, have only five months of work in the plantation. One sees in this picture a symbol of the contradiction between the luxurious lifestyle of the Cojuangcos and Aquinos, and the bitter lives of those whose sweat brings them their vast riches.

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