Carol Pagaduan-Araullo | Pretender

Satur himself prevailed on HLI farm workers picketing the Aquino residence to allow Mrs. Aquino to leave her house the day that she was to announce in a press conference that she would lead a march to Congress to press for Mrs. Arroyo’s impeachment.  The HLI issue could give way that day to help build the broad united front against the anti-people Arroyo regime.

But the HLI issue cannot be set aside, minimized or papered over today vis a vis candidate Noynoy Aquino.  Land reform is a defining issue for the Left precisely because it is the basic demand of the peasantry and it impacts heavily on the entire Filipino people. 

Decades of land monopoly by a few constitutes stark social injustice that cries out for resolution.  It is fuelling agrarian unrest and armed revolution in the countryside; the series of bloody counter-insurgency programs of all postwar governments including that of President Cory have failed to bring these to an end. 

Landlessness is also the major cause of the poverty and backwardness that has bound millions of peasant families to a life of endless, backbreaking toil and relegated the Philippines to little more than a semi-feudal, semi-colonial backwater with no jobs, no livelihood, nothing but a bleak future for the vast majority.  Is it a wonder Filipinos are leaving by droves to find better-paying jobs and a chance at a better life anywhere outside their homeland?

Noynoy must answer whether, when and how he plans to deal with the land dispute on his clan’s landholdings because that will set the pattern by which the land problem will be faced by his presidency.

Noynoy at first echoed his mother’s lame excuse: their family is a minor stockholder and has little say in the running of the corporation.  That cop-out was unconvincing so next he said something about debts to be paid and not wanting to saddle the farm workers with the problem of an insolvent company. The workers said, thanks but no thanks.  Just get the HLI management to withdraw its Supreme Court petition for an injunction on the current government decision to grant the land to the hacienda tenants.

Noynoy Aquino has displayed nothing but disdain for the national democrats and unabashed anti-communism to the point that he would not even agree in the beginning to engage in any kind of talks with the Satur/Liza camp.  There was never for a moment any opening given by Noynoy to probe possibilities for an alliance with the Left in the 2010 elections. 

Noynoy’s attitude towards the Left has endeared him to the rabid anti-communists and militarists inside government and out.  It also serves to assure US imperialism and other foreign monopoly capitalists and their Filipino partners that the Left will not be allowed any space in Noynoy’s presidency, enough to endanger their unmitigated plunder of the country and the oppression of its people.  But it bodes ill for ending the legacy of human rights abuse and impunity that has gone hand-in-glove with failed counter-insurgency programs of all previous regimes without exception. (

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