Justice for Hacienda Luisita Massacre can be attained through people's war

Communist Party of the Philippines
November 14, 2014

The CPP joins the Filipino peasantry and people in commemorating the 10th year of the Hacienda Luisita massacre on November 16, 2014.

Ten years ago, workers of Hacienda Luisita went on strike demanding higher wages. They were joined by thousands of peasants and farm workers clamoring for the distribution of 6,000 hectares of land taken from them by the Aquinos and the Cojuangco landlords. On November 16, several thousand people joined a demonstration in front of the main gates of Hacienda Luisita.

In connivance with the Arroyo regime, the despotic feudal lords and big compradors of Hacienda Luisita unleashed the forces of the Northern Luzon Command to suppress the strike. From the vantage point of the hacienda gates, soldiers fired randomly at the demonstrators. Thirteen farmworkers and supporters were killed while scores were hurt.

In the succeeding months following the massacre, the Aquino-Cojuangco clan unleashed further violence against the farm workers and their supporters. Armed agents of the state and the Cojuangcos carried out the killing of Obispo Maximo Alberto Ramento, Tarlac City Councilor Abel Ladera, Fr.  William Tadena, United Luisita Workers Union leader Tirso Cruz and peasant leader Victor “Tatang Ben” Concepcion.

Not one of the perpetrators of the Hacienda Luisita massacre has been meted justice. Criminal charges filed against then Rep. Benigno Aquino III (now president) were summarily dismissed by the Ombudsman. Then labor officials now sit in appointive positions in government offices. Gen. Ricardo Visaya, then head of the Philippine Army unit behind the massacre, now heads the AFP's Southern Luzon Command.

Worse, the demand for genuine land reform and higher wages remain unheeded. The peasants and farm workers who have long demanded the return of their land remain landless. The so-called land distribution carried out in Hacienda Luisita since 2012 is a big hoax.

Scores of long-time tillers have been removed from the list of "beneficiaries" while loyal subalterns have been rewarded with parcels of land. Small peasants were given "certificates" to be amortized. Meanwhile, the Cojuangcos, through their agents, managed to wrest back the land through such schemes as debt-for-land, taking advantage of the peasant masses' desperation or forcing them to surrender their certificates through social pressure or threats.

Peasant tillers of several score hectares of productive land are being driven away from their homes and land being claimed by the Cojuangco-owned Tarlac Development Corporation (Tadeco). Tadeco has employed armed force supported by the local police in uprooting the vegetables and other food crops planted by the peasant tillers. High fences are being erected around the land.

The families and friends of the victims and survivors of the Hacienda Luisita Massacre of 2004 and the workers, peasants and farm workers of Hacienda Luisita continue to desire justice. They tirelessly organize their ranks and wage relentless mass struggles to demand genuine land reform and the return of Hacienda Luisita to the peasants tillers.

The CPP fully supports the struggle of the workers, peasants and farm workers of Hacienda Luisita for justice and genuine land reform.

The peasants of Hacienda Luisita and other vast feudal landholdings and large plantations in Central Luzon and across the Philippines have long been waging revolutionary struggle to advance the national and democratic aspirations of the Filipino people. Their best sons and daughters continue to line up to join the New People's Army (NPA) to advance people's war.

The revolutionary program for land reform continues to be carried out nationwide under the auspices of the peasant associations and the organs of political power. Where the revolutionary program for land reform takes root, the peasant masses benefit in the form of a reduction in, or the elimination of, land rent, higher farm gate prices for their agricultural produce, lower prices of agricultural inputs and basic goods, the elimination of usury, establishment of work collectives and other forms of cooperation, increased income through side occupations and so on.

The CPP enjoins the workers, peasants and farm workers of Hacienda Luisita to continue to wage revolutionary struggle. Genuine justice can only be attained by waging people's war.