CITY OF SAN FERNANDO – Farmers who listened to Pres. Aquino’s State-of-the-Nation Address kept track of the President’s use of the word “wang wang” as against those they associated with their welfare.
The tally: 18 times for “wang wang” and zero each for “reporma sa lupa” or land reform, “magsasaka” or farmer, and Hacienda Luisita.
The word count done by the Alyansang Magbubukid ng Gitnang Luson (AMGL) also noted that the SONA also never mentioned “kapayapaan” or peace and “demokrasya” or democracy,
It noted that the President mentioned “karapatang pantao” or human rights and “kahirapan” only once each.
“This is the latest insult of Aquino to the Filipino farmers. As if we are not significant, like insects, not worthy to be mentioned in the SONA.
Aquino is fulfilling his role as an anti-peasant president, a landlord icon and defender of the Cojuangco-Aquino interest in Hacienda Luisita,” said Joseph Canlas, AMGL chairperson.
AMGL joined the people’s protest along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City as the President delivered his second SONA last Monday. It is the umbrella organization of the Alyansa ng mga Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita (Ambala).
“When we were listening to Aquino’s speech, we simply thought that it was not ‘edible,’ he is talking Gloria-like about facts and figures that poor Filipinos have no use of,” Canlas said.
He said “Aquino talked about land but he was not referring to land reform, poverty but to the conditional cash transfer (CCT).
He mentioned agriculture in relation to his development program copied from former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, he cited human rights only with reference to Bishop Palma of the CBCP, and mentioned freedom with reference to local government units (LGU),” Canlas said.
“He never mentioned us farmers, the majority among us Filipinos, especially Hacienda Luisita farmworkers, he has accepted that he is indeed an enemy of the Filipino farmers. House helpers are luckier than us as he promised them just wages and benefits,” he added.
The group also noted that Aquino did not committed to prosecute former president Arroyo “especially in regard to the P728-million fertilizer scam and other corruption cases involving the agriculture department.”
He said Aquino also failed to mention human rights abuses that resulted from Arroyo’s counter-insurgency program under Oplan Bantay Laya.
“As we are totally disregarded by the Aquino government, we would take the lead to uphold our rights to land and we are doing this now in Hacienda Luisita,” Canlas said.
He said that since last July 15, members of Ambala have already been occupying and tilling some 500 hectares of land sold by the Cojuangcos to the Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC) at Barangay Balete and Texas within the hacienda.
“We are now in the process of parceling the lands to be awarded to deserving beneficiaries. We are prioritizing the families of the victims of rights abuses, those who persistently struggled for their land rights and the most impoverished,” Canlas said.