Hacienda Luisita

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Date Submitted: 03/09/2012 06:14 PM

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Farm workers condemn latest attacks, call for land distribution in Hacienda Luisita.

“It is a testament to how the President’s family mobilizes state security forces to suppress the just and legitimate assertion of the farm workers over the lands.” – KMPMANILA – Eight gunshots failed to break the resolve of farm workers of Hacienda Luisita in defending their right to cultivate the 300-hectare land being claimed by the Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC).

On February 20, 100 security guards, ten elements of the Tarlac provincial police and 15 members of the Philippine Army escorted the fencing of agricultural lands at Balete village, the very site of the cultivation campaign of the farm workers.

More than 300 members of Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Asyenda Luisita (Ambala) blocked the putting up of fences. The security guards, police and military fired shots eight times..

They thought we would be cowed by the gunfire. We had it when we were massacred on November 16, 2004. But we stayed put and continued to block the fencing. It is a triumphant defense of our rights to the land,” said Felix Nacpil Jr., Ambala chairman, referring to the massacre that claimed seven lives and wounded hundreds.

Nacpil said the RCBC, in collusion with the Cojuangco-Aquinos, wants to harass leaders and members of Ambala.

The RCBC also filed charges of grave coercion and illegal occupation of real property against 23 leaders and members of Ambala.

Farm workers started cultivating the land after the Supreme Court issued a decision in July 2011, stating, among others, that the farm workers must be given the option to choose between owning land or stocks. In a decision in November 2011, the high court unanimously ordered the distribution of more than 4,000 hectares of land to farm worker beneficiaries but also upheld that the RCBC is a “buyer in good faith.” According to Jobert Pahilga, lawyer of the Ambala and executive director of the Sentro para sa Tunay na Repormang Agraryo...