Arrest of Hacienda Luisita workers a display of BS Aquino’s power trip

Karapatan calls for the immediate pullout of all State military forces, led by the 3rd Mechanized Battalion, paramilitary troops, police, and company guards in Hacienda Luisita “for they are used by BS Aquino to defy Supreme Court decision and the Department of Agrarian Reform’s Notice of Coverage to redistribute the lands to the farmer-workers of Hacienda Luisita.”

On December 21, eight farm workers were arrested because they tried to stop the Tarlac Development Corporation (TADECO) from bulldozing the rice fields of farm workers in Brgy. Balete in Hacienda Luisita. Those arrested were: Vicente Sambo, who was also mauled; Rod Acosta and his mother Eufemia Acosta; Ronald Sakay; husband and wife Jose and Elsa Baldiviano; and, Manuel and Mamerto Mandigma. The two women were later released, while six others are still detained at the Philippine National Police in Camp Macabulos, Tarlac.

“We demand the immediate release of the six farmworkers victimized by BS Aquino’s ultimate power trip to protect the interests of the Cojuangco-Aquino family. The BS Aquino government should stop using the military and other state forces to resolve the long-standing agrarian dispute in HLI, or elsewhere in the country where such conflict is widespread,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay.  

The police and armed TADECO guards, the military through the 3rd Mechanized Battalion set up a camp in the areas where the farmers have started cultivating and planting rice as an assertion of their ownership to the lands inside the HLI. 

On December 12, TADECO started bulldozing the rice fields in Brgy. Balete. These areas, as contained in the DAR’s Notice of Coverage are up for distribution. 

The distribution of the HLI lands to the workers-farmers has long been stalled as the “Cojuangcos and Aquinos continue to resist court orders, and instead, resorts to the use of force; flaunting their arrogance because a member of the clan is now the Commander in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.”

Palabay noted, “This is not the first time that such arrests and other gross human rights violations happened. We have not forgotten the series of killings of farmers and leaders of AMBALA and ULWU, and the massacre that were committed against the rightful owners, the worker-farmers, of Hacienda Luisita.” 

“This same scenario is happening in many parts of the country. This is how blood-stained the hands of the BS Aquino government are. And, the people are keeping tabs,” Palabay ended. ###