ANGELES CITY – With land reform finally implemented this year in Hacienda Luisita, tension is still far from over
between the farmworker beneficiaries and Pres. Aquino’s family who used to own the entire estate in Tarlac..
The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) has again blamed the President’s family for the recent arrest of eight farmworkers and the bulldozing of their crops and a house within a 500-hectare area which the Cojuangco-owned Tarlac Development Corp. (Tadeco) insisted was not covered by land reform. The area is located in Barangays Balete and Cutcut within the hacienda.
“The recent illegal arrest of eight Hacienda Luisita farmers concretely shows the continuing resistance and defiance of the Cojuangco-Aquinos to the distribution of the lands,” said KMP Chairperson Rafael Mariano.
KMP reported that last December 21, two police mobile cars, two vans of a SWAT team led by Tarlac provincial
police head Senior Supt. Bayani Razalan and 30 security guards of Tadeco arrived with a bulldozer in Barangay
Balete where farmworkers had converged to assert their rights to the 500-hectare area where some of their crops were already bulldozed earlier on Dec. 12.
KMP said the farmworkers showed the police team a document indicating that the 500-hectare has initially been
confi rmed by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) as covered by land reform. Despite this, the police
team started to bulldoze more of the crops planted by the family of farmworker Melchor Ramos and that even the newly rebuilt house of one Raymond Alcaide was bulldozed, the KMP said..
Mariano said that some of the farmworkers who tried to block the bulldozing were arrested and detained by the police. Those arrested included Vicente Sambo who was also allegedly mauled, Rod and his mother Eufemia Acosta, Ronald Sakay, husband and wife Jose and Elsa Baldiviano, and Manuel and Mamerto Mandigma.
Only two of them have been released so far, but only after being detained for four hours, he noted. “We demand the Aquino government to immediately release the Hacienda Luisita farmers now,” the KMP said in a statement.