CPP condemns use of armed soldiers to push Aquino-Cojuangco's Hacienda Luisita scheme

Information Bureau
Communist Party of the Philippines
June 09, 2013

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) today condemned the deployment of soldiers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) inside Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac in an effort to intimidate the peasants to accept the so-called sugar block farms, a plantation scheme being pushed by the Aquino-Cojuangco landlord families to maintain their monopoly control of sugar cane production in the hacienda.

Last June 5, a convoy of soldiers, police and agents of the National Bureau of Investigation arrived at Barangay Asturias inside Hacienda Luisita. The following day, two truckloads of armed soldiers belonging to the 31st Infantry Battalion arrived at the same barangay.

The armed agents were looking for Lito Bais and other leaders of Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid ng Hacienda Luisita (Ambala), an organization of peasant workers inside the hacienda. They went around the homes of Ambala members and dug up their backyards, allegedly looking for buried firearms.

"This is a clear case of harassment and intimidation against the peasants and farm workers of Hacienda Luisita who have long been demanding and struggling for the distribution of the hacienda land."

"The presence of armed soldiers inside Hacienda Luisita brings to mind the bloody massacre on November 16, 2004 of 14 peasants and their supporters when AFP soldiers opened fire against the striking workers," added the CPP. "Not one of the perpetrators of the massacre has been punished for the crime."

"Since the ascension to power of Benigno S. Aquino III, a scion of the Aquino-Cojuangco landlord clan, the Cojuangcos have wielded their power over the entire bureaucracy in order to prevent the full distribution of the hacienda land in accordance with the November 2011 decision of the Supreme Court," pointed out the CPP.

"Through its influence over the Land Bank of the Philippines and the Department of Agrarian Reform, the Cojuangcos have succeeded in overvaluating the hacienda lands, thus imposing on the so-called beneficiaries the heavy burden of paying high rates of amortization of up to P68,000 per hectare."

"Meanwhile, the farm workers on the estate are being pressured by Hacienda Luisita Inc. and the Department of Agrarian Reform to accept the sugar block farms scheme, which is no different from the so-called agrarian reform communities organized by the DAR to facilitate the entry of big plantation owners to control production and force the peasants to plant cash crops for export."

"It is just for the Hacienda Luisita peasants and farm workers to firmly reject the sugar block farms scheme that will merely subject them to the continuing dominance and monopoly control of the Aquinos and Cojuangcos over the hacienda land and sugar cane production," added the CPP.

"The peasants and farm workers of Hacienda Luisita must continue to assert their demand for free distribution of land and build independent organizations and cooperatives to collectively determine the crops to be planted both for their own consumption and supplying the market," said the CPP. "They must resolutely and courageously stand firm against the harassment and intimidation by armed agents of the state and demand the immediate pullout of armed troops from their communities."

"The Filipino peasantry and people must extend full support to the peasants and farm workers of Hacienda Luisita in their struggle for genuine land reform and against the various anti-land reform schemes of the landlord Aquino regime."