Luisita barangays set peace caravan

    CLARK FREEPORT – Hundreds of folk from 12 barangays in Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac are expected to show up this Saturday, July 29, for a “peace caravan” as a “call for peace, unity and an ultimate end to violence within the area.”

    An invitation sent to media by the Association of Barangay Councils (ABC) of Hacienda Luisita said the peace caravan in the estate would be joined by farmers, students, and other sectors residing in the hacienda which used to be wholly owned by the politically powerful Cojuangco clan, but subjected to the land reform program.

    Scores of hacienda farmers and their supporters had been killed over the years in their struggle for land reform in the estate. Conflict between the farm workers and the management continued even after the Supreme Court ordered in 2012 land distribution in the hacienda.

    The hacienda ABC invitation said “over 1,000 people from 12 barangays within Hacienda Luisita will be staging the Hacienda Luisita Peace Caravan as a call for peace, unity, and an ultimate end to violence within the area.

    “The marchers, composed of farmers, residents, NGO’s and barangay officials, will converge at the Calumpang intersection at 6 a.m. and march towards Hacienda Luisita football field where they will meet with Hacienda Luisita administrators and employees,” the invitation said.

    It said that at the football field, a program would be held consisting of prayers and messages from Tarlac City Mayor Cristy Angeles and other officials from barangays within the hacienda. No one from the hacienda management was listed as speaker during the program. It also said the activities would end in snacks for the participants.

    The program also did not include representatives from the Alyansang Manggagawang Bukid ng Asyenda Luisita (Ambala) which has been at the forefront of fighting for land reform and the rights of beneficiaries in the estate.

    Ambala had questioned the “tambiolo” system of distributing lands to the farm workers and the lease-back schemes allegedly being resorted to by the Cojuangco family to gain back control over hacienda lands. It has also been demanding land reform in hundreds of hectares already sold by the Cojuangcos to third parties before land distribution verdict of the Supreme Court.


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