Don’t bring Luisita case back to square one, group said

June 14, 2011

MANILA — The regional farmers’ alliance Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luson (AMGL, Peasant Alliance in Central Luzon) urged the Supreme Court to decide firmly on the Hacienda Luisita case and favorably to the farmworkers, particularly the lifting of the temporary restraining order (TRO) against the Stock Distribution Option (SDO) scheme as decided by the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC) in 2005. More than a hundred farmworkers under the Alyansa ng Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita (AMBALA) protested at the Supreme Court in Manila to demand the lifting of the TRO against SDO revocation.

“We remind the high court that they have to decide on the legality of the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council’s (PARC) decision to revoke SDO in 2005, not to invent new schemes just to please the Cojuangco-Aquinos and essentially putting the case to square one. We encourage the justices to be decisive in favor of the farmworkers, for fundamental reforms,” said Joseph Canlas, AMGL Chairperson during the protest.

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“The decision of the high court could be one of the most historical as the involved TRO would be one of the longest, aging 5 years at present, focused on one of the most controversial and popular feudal estate involving the family of a ruling class and exposed the immoral and wicked means of how they acquired the 6,453-hectares in Tarlac province. This is a chance for the Supreme Court to decide on one of the fundamental issue beleaguering our society that is feudalism or the monopoly control over vast lands of the landlord class,” Canlas said.

The group said that farmworkers have been longing for fundamental reforms and for the SC to decide in favor of the Cojuangco-Aquinos is putting fuel on the growing fire of social unrest in Hacienda Luisita and affirming the feudal control of the latter.

“We know that the high court is faced with a very grave issue that involves the very core of our society’s problem. But as the historical and legal basis totally illustrated the injustice committed by the Cojuangcos, the rationale of land distribution and genuine land reform to benefit the farmworkers, the court is duty-bound to lift the TRO and favor the farmworkers, otherwise they would be sending a wrong message that oppression and exploitation are affirmed in the high court,” Canlas said.

“Whatever SC decision comes out, the struggle of the farmworkers would continue as the present government under president Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino III pose as the biggest opposition to genuine land reform,” he added.

AMGL said that the Aquino government should expect more peasant protests as he totally ignored the land reform issue since his inauguration and promoted the Public-Private Partnership program that simply means landgrabbing, displacement and land use conversion in the countryside.

“Noynoy Aquino is a hopeless case. The hope for genuine land reform to be implemented by Aquino is taboo and his promise of ‘matuwid na daan’ all rubbish, reform lies on the action of the Filipino farmers and exploited sectors,” said Canlas.

“At this early stage, we encourage all sectors to support the farmworkers’ ‘bungkalan’ (cultivation) in Hacienda Luisita, as whatever the SC decides on, the Cojuangco-Aquino’s would continue to scheme to keep their feudal control over the estate,” he called. #

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