November 16, 2010
What rights have you to crush my people by grinding the faces of the poor into the dust!”(Is 3:14 – 15)
The 16th November 2010 marks 6 years since 7 farm workers were massacred by the military and PNP as they held a peaceful picket at Gate 1 of Hacienda Luisita. Their poverty had become too much, often receiving only 9 pesos per day for their work at Hacienda Luisita. Slave wages and the Stock Distribution Option had done nothing to relieve their suffering. If anything, the years have taught them that there would be no freedom, no justice and no escape from poverty unless they became the owners of the Hacienda, as was the condition of the original government loan to the Cojuangco’s. The farm workers decided to hold a picket in order to bring their plight to the attention of the public and the government, and hopefully, move the conscience of the Cojuangco family. The response was the massacre of 16 November 2004.
For this we cry out with Isaiah – “What rights have you to crush my people?” The faces of the farmers of Hacienda Luisita continue to be ground in the dust. The Department of Agrarian Reform awarded the land to the farmers. However, a Temporary Restraining Order has been in effect for 4 years. The Supreme Court to date has been ineffective in defending their rights. The Cojuangco family continues to convert the land of the farmers to industrial uses and now even plan to sell the land to a Hong Kong corporation. Until now no one has been punished for the massacre, or the victims’ families compensated.
We, as Christians, join our voices with the farmers in their cry for justice. They have suffered enough. We demand justice for the victims of the Hacienda Luisita massacre. Let the land be awarded immediately to the farmers. We will continue to raise our voices like Isaiah until justice is done for our brothers and sisters of Hacienda Luisita.
Religious Discernment Group Convenors
Fr. Wilfredo Dulay,MJ Sr. Angelita Navarro,ICM
Fr. Quirico Pedregosa, Jr., OP Sr. Patricia Fox, NDS
Fr. Tito Maratas, MSC Sr. Ailyn Binco, RGS
Fr. Gregorio Obejas, OSM Sr. Rebecca Pacete, MMS
Fr. Joselito Sarabia, CM