Restless Luisita workers to confront Aquino on Monday's SONA

Restless Luisita workers to confront Aquino on Monday's SONA

Tarlac : Philippines | Jul 23, 2011 at 5:05 AM PDT
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By Jayjay Jaiho in Tarlac City and Gerry Albert Corpuz in Manila

Tarlac City- Hundreds of Hacienda Luisita farm workers will join the protest action on Monday, on the occasion of the second State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Benigno Simeon Aquino III.

Luisita based groups Unyon ng Mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura, Alyansa ng mga Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita and the United Luisita Workers Union (ULWU) announced that around 500 farm workers will stage a Manila camp-out for three days beginning tomorrow (Thursday) to pressure the Aquino government to give up his family's illegal and immoral control of the 6,453-hectare sugar estate inTarlac province.

UMA secretary general Rodel Mesa said Monday's SONA where around 500 Luisita farm workers are expected to join the big rally to be staged by the umbrella alliance Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) will signal the start of more politically explosive battle between the farm workers and the Cojuangco-Aquino clan.

"This is going to be one of the biggest class battle of the millennium. The Hacienda Luisita farm workers say enough of Cojuangco's 57 years of lies, deception and exploitation. We will declare on Monday's SONA that Hacienda Luisita will never be controlled by the Cojuangcos for another generation and succeeding generation. We will claim what is ours, and that is Luisita," Mesa asserted.

Last week, Hacienda Luisita farmworkers filed a motion for reconsideration to challenge the Supreme Court decision instructing the Department of Agrarian Reform to conduct a referendum to finally seal the fate of the sugar estate.

In a 76-page motion for reconsideration filed on Wednesday, leaders of Ambala and their legal counsel Atty. Jobert Pahilga of Sentro Para sa Tunay na Repormang Agraryo (Sentra) urged the high tribunal to overturn its decision and instead order the agrarian reform department to effect free land distribution and not another referendum.

Mesa adds “His daang matuwid, a catchphrase he used to make the people believed that his government is different from his predecessor but after his one year stint, he never did a better act to woo the people’s confidence our case is one example”.

“He never did divest himself from the Hacienda Luisita case affair, since day one when the high court was forced to tackle the case due to pressure from the farm workers and their supporters. Aquino is hands on making a diabolical scheme in partnership with the Supreme Court to swindle the farm workers for land”. The UMA leader said

Mesa who also the spokesperson of the Hacienda Luisita based AMBALA follows “He had a year to redeem his family’s sins to the farm workers by respecting the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council’s decision revoking the SDO and distribute Hacienda Luisita to the farm worker beneficiaries. Clearly as the saying goes the blood is thicker than water, putting the interest of his relatives rather than the people.”

“Aquino’s one year gave us a clear look of what’s coming for his next remaining years in power. Its unimpressive, devoted to the interest of his class and definitely will continue to deny us our right to land in Hacienda Luisita. On the other hand we will not succumb on these as long as we pose unity among our ranks so much we unlike and defy his whims”. Mesa concluded.


A group of fisherfolk activist who will participate in Monday's protest against the second State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Benigno Simeon Aquino III said the denial of Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista, Department of Public Safety and Order Chief ElmoSan Diego and Chief Supt. George Regis of the Quezon City Police District to have their protest stage near Batasan Road is unfair, illegal and totally reprehensible.

"In vain attempt to please the ruling gangland in Malacanang led by President Benigno Simeon Aquino III, the unholy alliance of Mayor Bautista, San Diego and Regis violated the rights of the people to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly.

Yet, they allowed the "hakot crowd" of rabid pro-Aquino politicians and supporters to conduct their own counter rally near Batasan. Where is their sense of fairness? This is very, very unfair," the militant fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) said in a press statement.

Pamalakaya national chairperson Fernando Hicap said the militants under the umbrella alliance Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayaqn) applied for a rally permit from the city government to allow them to hold their rally on Batasan Road.

However, the Quezon City government only allowed them to stage their rally ar the Quezon City Memorial Circle. In response ot the denial, the militant groups led by Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes jr. filed a petition on Friday for the issuance of of a 72-hour temporary restraining order to allow them to hold their rally on Batasan Road.

5.5 kilometers

"QCMC is 5.5 kilometers away from Batasan Road. It is tantamount to denying the voice of the people to reach the halls of Congress. Mr. Aquino and his rabid allies in Congress are really afraid to hear the real state of the nation to be revealed by Bayan and other patriotic forces," noted Hicap.

The Pamalakaya leader said his group will also present their own version of SONA billed as State of the Fisherfolk Address (SOFA) as counter point to Aquino's SONA on Monday.

Hicap said its SOFA narrated the chronicles of disorders and destruction under the administration of President Benigno Simeon Aquino III.

Hicap said the fisherfolk SONA parades the crimes of the Aquino administration to the Filipino public. The fisherfolk leader narrated the Top 10 crimes of the Aquino administration to more than 7 million people directly and indirectly dependent on fishing for their livelihood and realization of social justice.

“It will dispute whatever hypocrisy, lies and grand standing the President will do on Monday’s SONA. It is going to be a battle for truth, social justice and true democracy with the people bringing in the truth and the promise of justice and liberation at the parliament of the streets,” Hicap said.


The 10 ten crimes of the Aquino administration are as follows:

1. The nationwide sell out of fishery and marine resources to transnational clients of Malacanang that include the privatization and conversion of communal fishing areas , the reclamation for lease or disposal of Manila Bay, Laguna Lake, Panglao (Bohol), Boracay (Aklan) and Cordova (Cebu), the bidding out of 15 offshore mining contracts off Palawan seas, the massive black sand mining in Zambales, Eastern Visayas and Bicol regions and the ambitious Aurora PacificEconomic and Free Port Zone (Apeco).

2. The failure of President Aquino to prosecute former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on the P 455-million ice-making scam, which was done to generate funds for the May 2010 elections for Arroyo’s favored bets including former agriculture secretary and now Bohol Rep. Arthur Yap.

3. The refusal of the Aquino regime to provide oil production subsidy to 1 million poor fisherfolk affected by the perpetual increases in the prices of petroleum products.

4. The proposal of Aquino dominated Congress to allow big commercial fishing vessels to operate in the 15-kilometer municipal fishing waters despite heavy resistance from marginalized fishermen.

5. The lukewarm tantamount to rejection stand of the Aquino administration to have the 1998 Fisheries Code of 1998 repealed by Congress and have it replaced by another law that is progressive and responsive to the situation and sorry plight of Filipino fisherfolk.

6. The failure of the administration to effectively address the fish kills all over the country that took its toll on marginalized fishermen. The Aquino regime failed to get at the bottom of fish kills all over the country that include the fish kills in Bulacan and Pampanga, in the towns of Dagupan, Anda and Bani in Pangasinan and the long-running fish skills in Taal Lake.

7. The flat refusal of the government to stop oil price hikes, its resistance to repeal the Oil Deregulation Law and the removal of the 12 percent expanded value added tax levied on oil remove. The Aquino government is pro-denationalization and anti-nationalization of the oil industry.

8. While Aquino has shelved the P 18.7 B Laguna Lake Dredging project, it is pursuing the 100-kilometer dike project that would push the eviction of 100,000 fishing and urban poor families in the lake.

9. Aquino’s dream to make the country a premiere tourist destination in Asia has further agitated foreign investors and private groups to convert coastal areas into beach resorts and other eco-tourism hubs. This pitch for tourism led to life-threatening demolitions of coastal communities.

10. Aquino’s Public-Private Partnership (PPP) project usually targets fishing communities as host to development projects that attack livelihood and community rights of marginalized fishing areas.

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Benigno Aquino listens to a question during a press conference in Tarlac City
Benigno Aquino listens to a question during a press conference in Tarlac City
GerryAlbert is based in Manila, National Capital Region, Philippines, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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