karl #MarcosMamamatayTao

karl #MarcosMamamatayTao

25-03-2022

09:14

Supporters of the Marcos-Duterte tandem are twisting the history of the farmers’ struggle for land and justice in Hacienda Luisita to whitewash Marcos-era crimes. We should confront the question. Who killed the farmers of Hacienda Luisita on November 16, 2004? They did. [THREAD]

This isn’t to say that the Aquino-Cojuangco clan is innocent at all. Later in this thread, I shall discuss the roles of Don Peping Cojuangco and former presidents Cory and Noynoy Aquino — from controlling the hacienda to the Luisita killings itself — in the Hacienda Luisita saga.

It all started on November 6. More than 5,000 sugar farm and sugar mill workers launched a ten-day strike in Hacienda Luisita to protest the Cojuangcos’ Stock Distribution Option scheme, land use conversion, and the lay-off of 327 workers under the United Luisita Workers’ Union.

In the words of @kmp_phl’s Danilo Ramos, “9.50 isang araw [ang sahod ng mga manggagawa sa Luisita] habang P38 milyon ang halaga ng isang kabayo ni Mikee Cojuangco. P13 milyon ang kita ng Central Azucarera de Tarlac […]samantalang gutom at hirap ang tinatamasa ng mga manggagawa.”

Members of both the United Luisita Workers Union and the Central Azucarera de Tarlac Labor Union (CATLU) launched the strike on November 6, sharing the same disgust over the Aquino-Cojuangco clan’s oppressive hold over the expansive 6,453-hectare sugar plantation that is Luisita.

The two unions formed human barricades around picket lines in Luisita’s Gates 1 and 2. On November 10, 2004, four days after the strike kicked off, Gloria Arroyo’s Labor (DOLE) Secretary, Patricia Sto Tomas, issued an Assumption of Jurisdiction (AJ) over Luisita workers’ strike.

What Assumption of Jurisdiction means in ANY labor dispute: using the powers of DOLE, the Labor Secretary can intervene to prevent a workers’ strike, or terminate an ongoing strike, which — in DOLE’s opinion — is an obstruction of an “industry indispensable to national interest.”

In other words, Sto. Tomas’ AJ order during the Luisita strike is a go-signal from the Arroyo regime to stop the Luisita strike by “clearing and remov[ing] obstruction to and from” Hacienda Luisita’s premises. Her AJ order included the deployment of soldiers and police to do so.

Worse: to allow Luisita’s operations to continue within 24 hours, the order had “to be executed by all means.” This placed striking workers and farmers of Luisita in high alert since November 13, or a week after the strike had started, to defend the picket line from a dispersal.

The toiling of church bells heralded to Luisita’s striking workers, farmers, and supporters to come in droves to prevent Arroyo’s police and military from dispersing them and dismantling their barricades. On November 6 alone, the police tear-gassed the strikers to disperse them.

By November 15, the tension reached its apex: the 6,000 strikers were joined by 9,000 residents of Luisita’s 10 barangays in Gate 1 as an act of solidarity. They faced a phalanx of 300 policemen with orders to disperse them. But the police was outnumbered—forcing them to retreat.

But the police’s didn’t retreat without violence: scores of workers, including CATLU president Ricardo Ramos, were hurt during the scuffle. On November 16, along with former @BayanMuna Representative Satur Ocampo, three Luisita worker-leaders went to Makati City for a dialogue.

In an apparent attempt to diffuse the situation, Don Jose “Peping” Cojuangco, Jr. faced Satur and CATLU leaders. But he only talked with Satur. When Peping discussed Secretary Sto. Tomas’ AJ order, the leaders sensed that something is wrong. They all went back to Tarlac hastily.

Their fear was not unfounded. During their meeting with Don Peping, 300 soldiers slipped through Luisita’s east gate. It was their “final dispersal try” after more than a week. Along with the policemen and soldiers, fire trucks and armored personnel carriers faced the strikers.

The police and military reinforcements in Luisita came from Camp Servillano Aquino, which stood only across the highway from Luisita. Some of Arroyo’s officers involved in Hacienda Luisita massacre included: •Northern Luzon Command commanding officer Maj. Gen. Romeo Dominguez;

• PNP-Tarlac provincial director Angelo Sunglao; • PNP-Region 3 director Police Chief Supt. Quirino dela Torre; • Lt. Gen. Ricardo Visaya, chief of the Army’s 69th Infantry Battalion; • Lt. Gen. Gregorio “Pio” Catapang Jr Visaya, Catapang, and Sunglao were ground commanders.

Around 3:10 PM, the police started to hose down strikers using fire trucks. When it didn’t work, they started throwing more than 200 tear gas canisters. The strikers were hell-bent on defending the picketlines. One of the APCs rolled in. It still failed. Then, gunshots rang out.

Karapatan-Tarlac coordinator Emil Paragas, who was in Luisita back then, recalled that soldiers holding long rifles positioned “on the open field at the right side of the sugar mill” and at the gate’s left side. Other soldiers also shot strikers from the sugar mill’s left side.

Two minutes was all that it took for Arroyo’s military and police forces to kill 7 striking workers and residents (and injure 122 other strikers). Remember their names: Jun David. Jhaivie Basilio. Jesus Laza. Jessie Valdez. Juancho Sanchez. Adriano Caballero Jr. Jaime Pastidio.

According to a @bulatlat report a few days after the massacre, 7 other unidentified victims were killed during the Luisita carnage — but “their bodies have yet to be found.” One woman sugar farmworker said: “Nakita ko yung mama […] Binaril siya. Hindi namin alam nasaan na siya.”

One of the victims, Juancho Sanchez, was still alive when he was rushed to the hospital. His feet ran over by the APC, a soldier hit him on the face. He lost a lot of blood, leading to his death. After killing strikers, the police still arrested 111 other strikers and residents.

[TW: extreme violence] Another account recalled that soldiers “strangled and hanged in the barbed wire of Gate 1” Basilio, also one of Luisita’s martyrs, before he was murdered. When Arroyo’s police & military launched the massacre, the thousands of Luisita strikers were unarmed.

Former Anakpawis Rep @KapsMariano talked with NOLCOM’s Col. Romeo Reyes, who admitted that more than 271 state forces were in Luisita at 2:00 PM of November 16, along with two APCs. There were all signs of deliberate intention to kill the strikers with Mrs. Arroyo’s FULL CONSENT.

A few days after the massacre, Arroyo’s Executive Secretary, Eduardo Ermita, insinuated that the New People’s Army was involved in the Luisita massacre. Much worse: Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III,then a Tarlac solon, echoed that communist rebels “may have infiltrated” the strikers.

On the night following the Luisita Massacre, 80 striking workers returned to the picket line. Calls for Sto. Tomas’ resignation from DOLE intensified. On November 21, 2004, 6,000 mourners joined the funeral march for Luisita’s martyrs—on which they vowed to continue the struggle.

However, the killings of Hacienda Luisita’s advocates and allies continued after the massacre. On December 8, 2004, Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Tarlac chairperson Marcelino Beltran was shot dead in his home. Before his breath snuffed out, he told his family: soldiers shot him.

On March 3, 2005, almost four months after the massacre, Tarlac City councilor Abelardo Ladera was killed by unidentified men. He was about to expose certain details about the Aquino-Cojuangco-Arroyo’s land use conversion in Luisita, among other things. He also kept documents.

On March 13, 2005, Iglesia Filipina Independiente’s Fr. William Tadena—also an active supporter of Hacienda Luisita strike—was killed in an ambush by two unidentified men after officiating mass in La Paz, Tarlac. His suspected killers were bodyguards of then Rep. Noynoy Aquino.

Two days after, on March 15, 2005, peasant leader Victor “Tatang Ben” Concepcion was murdered in his daughter’s house in Angeles City, Pampanga. As the provincial coordinator of Anakpawis Party-list in Pampanga, Tatang Ben also staunchly supported the Hacienda Luisita strike.

Between ten days (October 15-25, 2005), two other Luisita advocates were killed: Bayan Muna-Tarlac’s Florante Collantes and CATLU president Ricardo Ramos. A military officer killed Ramos. Around this time, Arroyo’s favorite general, Jovito Palparan, was already in Central Luzon.

In 2006, two more Luisita advocates were murdered. On March 17, “bungkalan” martyr Tirso Cruz was killed. By October 3, Bishop Alberto Ramento was stabbed to death. Cruz opposed the construction of the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expway (SCTEX). Bishop Ramento supported Luisita strikers.

Bishop Ramento was the 753rd victim of extrajudicial killings under the Arroyo regime. Collantes, Ramos, and Cruz were murdered when Palparan was Central Luzon’s butcher. The 15 to 22 killings of Hacienda Luisita’s strikers and advocates all happened under Arroyo’s bloody watch.

The Aquino-Cojuangco clan are still involved in Hacienda Luisita’s oppression and violence. The Cory Aquino regime’s Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program pushed for Stock Distribution Option to circumvent the farmers’ calls for agrarian reform.

PNoy was also overshadowed by his involvement in Luisita’s woes. His bodyguards killed Fr. Tadena. His administration allegedly orchestrated former Chief Justice Renato Corona’s ouster because the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Luisita farmers. He defended the Luisita msssacre.

But what is diabolical about the Hacienda Luisita discourse is how the Marcos-Arroyo-Duterte alliance are twisting its history to justify the crimes of both the Marcos and Duterte dictatorships. Little does the public know—the Duterte regime is complicit in the Luisita impunity.

In 2016, despite pleas and protests from farmers and peasant advocates, Duterte appointed Hacienda Luisita’s ground commander, Maj. Gen. Ricardo Visaya, to be his first military chief of staff. He appointed him into Nat’l Irrigation Authority a year after.

In 2016, Duterte released Gloria Arroyo from prison and enabled her political revival. His daughter, the vice president of Marcos Jr, helped Arroyo snatch away the House speakership—the same Arroyo who ordered the massacre of 7 farmers in Luisita. Arroyo brokered the Unithieves.

The story of Hacienda Luisita, as well as the struggle of our farmers for land and justice, persists to this day. With two Aquino-Cojuangco presidents dead, and Arroyo pushing the Marcos-Duterte tandem for her conceited interests, it is vital for us to properly #RememberLuisita.



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