Posts Tagged ‘noynoy aquino’

  Revilla Roxas Aquino
 Did a meeting take place? “Inimbitahan ako ni DILG Secretary Mar Roxas sa kanilang bahay sa Cubao…Ipinatanggal niya ang kanyang plaka, pinaupo niya ako sa likuran at pagkatapos noon ay umalis na kami patungo sa Malacañang.” “Sa isyu naman ng pagpupulong nila ni Pangulong P-Noy, natural sa Pangulo na humarap sa matataas na opisyal ng bayan.” “I was just confirming reports that there were a lot of sectors exerting a lot of pressure on the senators during the trial.” 
What was the meeting about? “Aaminin ko sa inyo, ako ay nabigla dahil tila dinidiktahan ako ng Pangulo (kaugnay ng impeachment).” “Dati kaming magkasama ni Senator Bong sa Senado kaya nang iparating niya na mayroon siyang gustong i-take-up sa Pangulo kasama ang Cityhood ng Bacoor at ang kanyang pagiging Pangulo ng Partido Lakas, gumawa ako ng paraan para magkausap sila. “We were trying to lessen the pressure on all of them (senator-judges).
What happened during the meeting? “Habang nag-aalmusal kami ng pan de sal, kesong puti, itlog, hamon, tapa, sinangag, at mga prutas, bumangka si Secretary Mar tungkol sa mga dahilan kung bakit dapat ma-impeach si dating Chief Justice Corona. Bago kami magtapos, nagulat ako nang sinabi sa akin ng Presidente… “Pare, parang awa mo na, Ibalato mo na sa akin ito. Kailangan siya ma-impeach.” Sabay sunod naman ni Secretary Butch Abad, “Magtulungan tayo Senator.”   “What I was trying to do was basically ensure that they decide on the merits of the (impeachment) case rather than any other outside factor.”
Anything else you want to say? “Sya ang nag-imbita sa akin, si Boy Pick-up…Tamaan ng kidlat kung sino ang nagisinungaling.”
“Hindi solusyon sa problema niya ang paglilihis ng isyu, pagbaluktot sa katotohanan at panloloko ng tao.” So was it right for me to just step aside while all these sectors were really threatening, pressuring and doing things to our senators?” (Aquino also admits to meeting with other senators during this period.)

What is clear is that a meeting did take place. All three confirm this.

With the exception of Mar Roxas, both Revilla and Aquino admit that the agenda of the meeting was the impeachment trial. Mar says it is the cityhood of Bacoor and Revilla’s chairmanship of Lakas. No one believes Mar.

Aquino says he was merely trying to lessen the pressure on the senator-judges… by exerting presidential pressure on one of them. Amazing, right? The President believes people are actually stupid enough to believe this shiz.

In fact, when the President was asked who were these sectors purportedly exerting “a lot of pressure” on the senator-judges, he replied… “Do I have audiotapes? Do we have affidavits? I have none,” he said, except “intelligence reports.”

Ah ganun. 

What makes the meeting troubling is that there are indications that the President attempted to bribe Revilla. There is no clearer indication of this than the presence of Budget Secretary Butch Abad. Why did the president need Abad to be there? Because Abad is the chief architect of the Disbursement Acceleration Program or DAP, that special fund considered part of the presidential pork that was believed to be used as reward money for the conviction of Corona, among others. “Magtulungan tayo,” says Abad. That’s like a talking to a guy with a sackful of money asking you to do something for him. What else could “magtulungan tayo” mean? If that’s not an attempt at bribery, I don’t know what is.

That’s an impeachable offense and once again raises questions about Aquino’s fitness to lead the nation. 



“Senator Noynoy” seemed more at ease trading quips with his running mate or reminiscing about his parents than in describing his policy views, which he delineated more in negative terms”

“Where Senator Aquino was most comfortable was in talking about the past – parents and family, the 1987 coup attempt, the bloody HUK rebellion”.

Kristie Kenney on her meeting with then presidential candidate Benigno Aquino III

“Estrada remains popular with a meaningfully large segment of the electorate despite well-known personal vices, a prior conviction for plunder, and widespread suspicion of culpability in a double murder now under investigation.  An Estrada victory — which we currently view as highly unlikely — could complicate U.S.-Philippine relations, given the former President’s connection to an American convicted of espionage.  Most politically astute Filipinos believe the Supreme Court will eliminate Estrada from the race on constitutional grounds”.

“Most in Manila’s elite circles dread any prospect of Estrada’s return to the presidential palace.  Stories of Estrada’s debauchery, corruption, and mismanagement abounded during his presidency.  Widely thought of as a womanizer, gambler, and alcoholic, Estrada was convicted by the Philippine anti-graft court of plunder.”

Kenney on Erap’s decision to again run for president in 2010

“While the ARMM elections were not perfect, COMELEC demonstrated that it can run an efficient and, for the most part, clean automated election that required sophisticated management capabilities and extensive training of election workers, volunteers, and voting machine technicians”.

Kenney’s assessment of the 2008 ARMM elections where Zaldy Ampatuan garnered 93% of total votes

“Critics of the U.S.-Philippine Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) turned out in force for an August 27 oversight hearing chaired by one of the Philippines most strident and thorny politicians, Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago”.

“Philippine Senator Miriam Santiago, one of the Philippines’ most vociferous and domineering politicians, was among the leading skeptics”.

Kenney on the hearing of the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee on the VFA

“On the government’s fight against the communist and Muslim insurgencies, Teodoro is a hawk.”

Kenney describing DND secretary Gilbert Teodoro

“While his term as SND will be fairly brief, it has the potential to be problematic.  In the past we have found Gonzalez to be inconsistent and prone to shooting from the hip”.

Kenney on the appointment of Norberto Gonzales as DND Secretary

“It is clearly not in the Philippines’ best interests to allow tensions in the South China Sea to escalate to the level of armed confrontations”.

Kenney on the Spratly’s dispute

 “A key figure in the Arroyo administration, General (Avelino) Razon has been a close and trusted interlocutor to the Embassy”.

“The burst of activity surrounding LCpl Smith in the past few weeks validates once again this Mission’s — and the U.S. government’s — intensive focus over the past three years on this highly fraught controversy, which has serious consequences not only for LCpl Smith, but the most crucial elements of our diplomatic and military ties with the Philippines”.

Kenney on the Subic rape case

“Her moral leadership, while coming at an important time for the Philippines, never fully compensated for her weak leadership style.  Her presidency was marked by numerous coup attempts and allegations of corruption.  Following her tenure, her antipathy toward President Arroyo led her to ally with more dubious political figures such as former President Estrada, blemishing her reputation as a moral crusader”.

Kenney on former president Corazon Aquino

The first 100 days of the Aquino government was marked by the continuation of many of the policies of previous governments, the continuing deterioration of the human rights situation and the failure to make any headway in the prosecution of former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

In his Ulat sa Bayan, President Benigno Aquino III again did not address crucial issues such as human rights violations, the prosecution of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and her cohorts, land reform, migrants welfare and the plight of other marginalized sectors. The 20-minute speech was big on rhetoric but falls short of actual meaningful results.

Aquino’s superficial efforts to make himself appear different from Arroyo cannot cover-up the lack of any meaningful reforms in his government. He gets failing marks in many key areas of governance such as justice, human rights, economic reform and foreign policy.

The Aquino government finds comfort in survey results which it believes are unusually high.  History however has shown that even the most optimistic survey results are fleeting if there are no fundamental changes in place. Former presidents Fidel Ramos and Joseph Estrada during their first 100 days had higher scores than Aquino but both ended up as very unpopular regimes.

The president’s first 100 days saw the following developments:

  1. The failure to hold Arroyo and her cohorts accountable for gross corruption, human rights violations, and sell-out of national interests. Despite the formation of the so-called Truth Commission, no charges have been filed by the Aquino government against the former president. The TC in fact has slowed down the process of accountability. Even the Department of Justice cannot conduct its own investigations because it will have to defer to the TC. Aquino has gone after some tax-evaders and over-paid officials of the past government, but it has miserable failed to make any headway against GMA.
  2. Human rights violations continue with impunity throughout the country. There are now 16 activists who have become victims of extrajudicial killings during Aquino’s first 100 days. There are continuing reports of harassment, abductions, illegal arrests, trumped up charges and torture aimed at critics of government. There have been no charges filed against the known human rights violators of the Arroyo regime. The Aquino government, despite the abuses of the past, has continued the bloody counter-insurgency policy of its predecessor.
  3. Aquino has continued the failed neo-liberal economic policies of past governments. Like his predecessors, Aquino has relied on foreign investments, foreign loans and OFW remittances to prop up the ailing economy. He has not shown any plan for genuine land reform and national industrialization as basic requirements for national development.  Aquino has slashed the budget for social services (education, health) and plans to impose added burdens on the people such as the MRT fare hike. He has made “conditional cash transfer” (read: dole-out) as the centerpiece program in addressing, nay covering up poverty.
  4. The current government has remained subservient to foreign dictates. It has not delivered on its promise of reviewing the VFA. It has expressed unqualified support for the US war on terror and US intervention in Southeast Asia. It has not protested the indefinite stay of US troops in Mindanao.
  5. The Aquino government is wracked by internal squabbles and intensifying rifts between different reactionary factions. These warring factions out to corner the spoils of power  have severely hampered the functions of government. Aquino remains indecisive in addressing this reality as evidenced by his stubborn refusal to fire his friend and shooting-buddy DILG Undersecretary Rico Puno.

With the current state of affairs, the people must rely on their own strengths, initiatives and struggles in working for justice and meaningful change. Ika nga, ‘wag masyadong masilaw sa dilaw na ilaw.’ ###

(Based on THE CONTINUING SAGA OF THE FARMWORKERS OF HACIENDA LUISITA by Atty. Jobert Ilarde‐Pahilga, executive director, Sentro Para sa Tunay na Repormang Agraryo (Sentra) and campaign officer of National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL)

1957 – Jose Cojuangco Sr., buys majority shares of the Central Azucarera de Tarlac (CAT), including the 6,453‐hectare Hacienda Luisita from the Spanish company Compania General de Tabacos de Filipinas (Tabacalera) through a loan from the Central Bank. The CAT and hacienda are transferred to Cojuangco’s

Tarlac Development Corporation (TADECO), an agricultural corporation.

May 7, 1980 – Marcos government files a case against TADECO before the RTC of Manila for

specific performance to compel defendants TADECO, and the heirs of the late Jose Cojuangco, Sr. to turn over “Hacienda Luisita” to the Ministry of Agrarian Reform for the purpose of subdivision and sale at cost to “small farmers” or “tenants”.

December 2, 1985 – Manila RTC renders a decision that orders the Cojuangcos to transfer control of Hacienda Luisita to the Ministry of Agrarian Reform, which will distribute the land to small farmers after compensating the landowners P3.988 million

March 17, 1988 – the Cojuangcos elevate the case to the Court of Appeals which was docketed as CA G.R. 08634. The Solicitor General, CB governor and the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) file a motion to dismiss the civil case against the Cojuangcos pending before the Court of Appeals on the ground that Hacienda Luisita would be covered by agrarian reform.

May 18, 1988 – Court dismisses the case against the Cojuangcos

May 9, 1989 – The landowners, along with then DAR Secretary Philip Juico, Tarlac governor and the mayors of Tarlac City, Concepcion, and La Paz, the three municipalities covering the hacienda, hold referendum among Luisita farm workers to present the SDO. Thereafter, Juico, Tadeco and HLI sign Memorandum of Agreement on the SDO.

May 11, 1989 – HLI is designated as the SECOND PARTY to which the TADECO has transferred and conveyed the agricultural portions of Hacienda Luisita and other farm‐related properties in exchange for shares of stock of the farm workers

September 1, 1995 – the Sangguniang Bayan ng Tarlac reclassifies 3,290 hectares of Hacienda Luisita from agricultural to commercial, industrial and residential purposes

August 14, 1996 – DAR approves the conversion of 500 hectares of the 3,290 hectares of reclassified Luisita land and has already been converted into the Luisita Industrial Park

September 28, 2003 – Elections for farm workers’ and supervisors’ representatives to the HLI Board of Directors only 15.26% of the shares voted thereof. Around 95% of the farm workers boycotted the elections as a protest to the SDO and because the four board seats were useless against seven management seats.

October 14, 2003 – the Supervisory Group of Hacienda Luisita, Inc. files petition before the DAR to revoke SDO, saying the HLI was not giving them dividends, their  1% share in gross sales and 33% share in the proceeds from the conversion of 500 hectares of land. They likewise cite other violations by the HLI of the MOA and that their lives have not improved contrary to the promise and the rationale for the adoption of the SDO.

October 7, 2003 – More than a thousand farm workers gather to protest the SDO, land‐use conversion, joblessness at the hacienda

December 4, 2003 – Around 80% of the 5,339 farm workers at the hacienda through their organization, AMBALA, file a petition to DAR to nullify and rescind the SDO and to stop land‐use conversion at the hacienda

October 1, 2004 – Illegal dismissal of 327 farm workers belonging to ULWU

November 6, 2004 – Members of the Central Azucarera de Tarlac Labor Union (CATLU) and members of the United Luisita Workers’ Union (ULWU) simultaneously stag a strike and block the mill’s Gate1 and Gate 2. The strike arose from the deadlock in the negotiations for a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between CATLU and HLI (HLI).

November 16, 2004 – Violent dispersal of striking workers leave seven (7) dead, scores were injured. This has been known as the infamous Hacienda Luisita Massacre

November 22, 2004 – the DAR issues Special Order No. 789 which called for the strengthening of the Task Force Stock Distribution Option through the PARC Secretariat

November 25, 2004 – The DAR task force stock distribution, later renamed Task Force Luisita, convenes for the first time to discuss the petitions by Luisita supervisors and farm workers. Prior thereto, HLI filed with the DAR its answer to the petition/protest filed by the supervisory group.

March 15, 2005 – DAR deploys 10 teams to 10 barangays within the hacienda to conduct focus group discussions with 453 farmers concerning their understanding of SDO, the supposed benefits thereof, the home lots and other provisions of the agreement, their recommendations on the SDO, and to determine whether there is truth to the allegations of the farm workers that they have been pushed deeper into the quagmire of poverty by the SDO and MOA.

July 2005 – Task Force Luisita submits its report on findings and recommendations to DAR Secretary Nasser C. Pangandaman especially as regards the investigation conducted on March 15, 2005

August 2005 – Pangandaman creates a special legal team to review the legal issues in the task force’s report

September 23, 2005 – DAR special legal team submits its terminal report on the two petitions, recommending the revocation of the 16‐year‐old SDO agreement in Hacienda Luisita

December 23, 2005 – PARC issues Resolution No. 2005‐32‐01 which recalled/revoked the SDO plan of TADECO/HLI and placed the lands subject SDO plan under the compulsory coverage scheme of the CARP

January 3, 2006 – HLI files its motion for reconsideration of the said resolution

February 2006 – Despite the pendency of the Motion for Reconsideration it has filed, HLI files a petition for certiorari and prohibition against the PARC et al., before the Supreme Court

May 3, 2006 – PARC denies the motion for reconsideration of HLI

June 2006 – Supreme Court issues a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) which enjoins PARC and DAR to implement/execute the resolution revoking the SDO

July 2010 – Supreme Court sets case for oral arguments

August 3, 2010 – SC moves oral arguments to Aug. 18

August 6, 2010 – HLI and unauthorized representatives of AMBALA and ULWU sign compromise agreement

August 11, 2010 – HLI submits compromise agreement to Supreme Court for its approval

Inihanda ng Bagong Alyansang Makabayan

13 Agosto 2010

Ilang araw bago ang oral arguments sa Korte Suprema kung saan pag-uusapan at pagdesisyunan ang usapin ng Stock Distribution Option  (SDO) sa Hacienda Luisita, naghain ng “compromise agreement” ang Hacienda Luisita Inc. (HLI) management para lutasin diumano ang matagal nang sigalot sa hacienda.

Sa ilalim kasi ng SDO, stocks sa halip na lupa ang ipinamahagi sa mga magbubukid. Makakatanggap lamang sila ng dibidendo o kita depende sa dami ng hawak nilang stocks. Ang dami ng stocks ay nakabatay sa dami ng “man-days” o trabahong nagagawa ng isang magbubukid sa isang taon. Sa pagliit ng bilang ng “man-days” ay halos walang nakukuhang benepisyo ang mga magbubukid; isang dahilan ng pagputok ng welga noong 2004.

Taong 2003 nang magsampa ang mga magbubukid ng HLI ng petisyon sa Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) para ibasura ang SDO. Matapos ang 2004 welga, sa bisa ng pakikibaka ng mga magbubukid at manggagawa, pinawalang bisa ng DAR at ng Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC) ang SDO ng Luisita noong Disyembre 2005. Ibig sabihin ay kailangang tuwirang ipamahagi na ang lupa sa mga magbubukid sa ilaim ng Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP). Kinuwestyon naman ito ng HLI sa Korte Suprema noong Pebrero 2006 at nakakuha sila ng Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) laban sa PARC noong Hunyo 2006. Matapos ang apat na taon, didinggin na sa wakas ng Korte Suprema ang kasong ito.

Pero bago pa man mangyari ito, lumitaw na ang tinaguriang “compromise agreement”.  Pinapipili ang mga magsasaka at manggagawang bukid sa pagitan ng pananatili bilang stock-holder sa ilalim ng SDO o pamamahagi ng lupa.

Matapos ang “referendum,” karamihan sa mahigit 10,000 magsasaka at manggagawang bukid ang pumili sa pananatili ng SDO. Noong ika-11 ng Agosto ay ipinasa ng HLI management ang nasabing kasunduan sa Korte Suprema upang hilingin na ito na lamang ang pagdesisyunan sa halip na ang ligalidad at kawastuhan ng SDO ng HLI.

Ano ang nilalaman ng Compromise Agreement?

Pinapapili sa compromise agreement ang mga magsasaka at manggagawang bukid sa pagitan ng lupa o pagpapatuloy ng SDO. Kung lupa ang pipiliin ng mga magsasaka, ipamamahagi ng HLI management ang bahagi ng lupa mula sa 4,201 ektarya ng lupain na nakalaan sa agrikultura. Tinatayang 33% lang nito o 1,300 ha ang nakalaan sa “pamamahagi”. Ang laki ng lupang matatanggap ay batay sa laki ng hawak na shares ng magbubukid. Tinatayang 139 magsasaka pa lamang ang sumuporta dito. Sa kabilang banda, ang pagpili naman ng SDO ay ang pananatili ng dati nang kaayusan sa loob ng Hacienda Luisita: ang “no work, no stock policy,” ang P9.50 neto sa arawang sahod, land-use conversion at iba pang di makatarungang patakaran.

Kalakip ng pagpapapirma sa compromise agreement ay ang pangakong suportang pinansyal na aabot sa P150 milyon. Ayon sa mga magsasaka, nangako ang management na maaari silang makatanggap nang hanggang sa P150,000 kung pipirma sila sa kasunduan. Subalit ayon sa mga ulat, sa unang bahagi ng pamamahagi ng financial assistance package na nagkakahalaga ng P20 milyon, may nakatanggap lamang ng pagitan ng P1 hanggang P500. Ang isang nagtrabaho ng 20 taon sa hacienda ay nakakuha lamang ng P2,000. Sa mga ulat sa media, pinakamalaki nang natangap ang P9,000. Ang laki ng matatanggap na “tulong” ay nakabatay din sa laki ng shares of stock na hawak ng mga magbubukid sa ilalim ng SDO. Ang natitirang P130 milyon ay sinasabing ipapamahagi kapag naaprubahan ng Korte Suprema ang compromise agreement.

Sinu-sino ang mga pumirma sa Compromise Agreement? Nagkaroon ba ng tamang representasyon ang mga magsasaka at manggagawang bukid sa pagpapatibay nito?

Hindi mga tunay na lider at kinatawan ng mga organisasyon ng magbubukid ang pumirma sa kasunduan: Noel Mallari para sa Alyansa ng mga Mangagagawang Bukid ng Hacienda Luisita (AMBALA); Edilfonso Pingol para sa United Luisita Workers Union (ULWU).

Walang otoridad mula sa mga magsasaka at manggagawang bukid ang mga nabanggit upang sila ay irepresenta at makipagkasundo sa Hacienda Luisita management.

Si Mallari, halimbawa, ay hindi kailanman naging tagapangulo ng AMBALA. Siya ay naging pangalawang pangulo noong panahon ni Rene Galang bilang tagapangulo. Tinanggal siya bilang miyembro ng AMBALA dahil sa mga lihim na pakikipag-usap at pakikipagkasundo nya sa Hacienda Luisita management. Muling lumitaw si Mallari matapos ang HLI massacre, bilang presidente ng FARM Luisita. Sa akwtal na petisyon sa Korte Suprema, si Mallari ay kinatawan ng FARM hindi ng AMBALA. Pero lumalabas ngayon na maging ang FARM ay hindi rin sang-ayon sa Compromise Agreement.

Si Felix Nacpil ang kasalukuyang tagapangulo ng AMBALA.

Dating pangalawang pangulo ng ULWU si Pingol, subalit hindi siya binigyan ng basbas ng mga miyembro ng unyon na pumirma sa kasunduan para sa ULWU. Ang tumatayong pangulo sa kasalukuyan ay si Lito Bais. Si Pingol ay matagal nang nakipagsabwatan sa management.

Bakit huwad na kasuduan ang Compromise Agreement?

Mapanlinlang ang compromise agreement na inihain ng HLI management. Naka-disensyo ito para ma-pwersa ang mga magbubukid na piliin ang SDO. Gamit ang mapanlinlang na “financial assitance”, pangako ng empleyo kasama na ang intimidasyon, nakuhang papirmahin ng management ang mayorya ng magbubukid para sa SDO. Iilan lang ang pumili ng pamamahagi ng lupa. Ginamit ng management ang manipulasyon ng kahirapan ng mga magbubukid.

Ang lawak ng lupaing ipapamahagi ay 33% ng lupaing agrikultural, o 1,300 ektarya ng 4,102 ektraya na tinatanman ng tubo. Kakarampot na bahagi lamang ito ng 6,453 ektrarya ng lupa na saklaw ng reporma sa lupa. Kapag pinili ng magsasaka ang lupa, walang katiyakan kung gaano ito kalaki o kung saan ang lokasyon nito.

Ang laki ng lupa na matatanggap ng isang magsasaka ay katumbas ng kanilang hawak na shares of stock. Ang isang magsasakang may limang shares of stock, halimbawa, kung pipiliin ang lupa, ay baka tumanggap lamang ng lupa sa paso.

Nalantad din ang kahungkagan ng tinatawag ng “financial assistance” nang makatanggap ng kakarampot na “tulong” ang karamihan sa mga pumirma sa huwad na kasunduan.

Ang pananatili ng SDO ay nangangahulugan ng pananatili ng mga di makatarungang pagtrato sa mga magsasaka ng Hacienda Luisita.

Ipinapatupad sa ilalim ng SDO ang “No work, no stock!,” na nangangahulugan na ang shares of stock na matatanggap ng isang manggagawang bukid ang naaayon sa bilang ng araw ng kanyang pagtatabaho o ang tinatawag na “man days”. Ang magtatakda ng man days ay ang HLI Management. Sa kasalukuyan, kadalasang tatlong araw lamang kada linggo ang binibigay na trabaho sa karamihan sa mga nasa hacienda. Ang mga manggagawang bukid na umalis o tinanggal sa trabaho ay hindi na makakatanggap pa ng shares of stock. May mga seasonal na manggagawang bukid naman na binigyan ng tig-isang stock para lamang matawag silang stockholder bagama’t walang kwenta ang hawak nilang stock.

Ayon sa mga tala, mahigit piso lamang ang halaga ng bawat isang stock.

Labag din sa batas ang land-use conversion na ginagawa ngayon sa malaking bahagi ng lupain ng Hacienda Luisita. Maging sa ilalim huwad na CARP, ang mga lupa na nasa ilalim ng repormang agraryo ay maaari lamang gamitin para sa agrikultura. Tinatayang daang ektraya ng lupain ng hacienda ang pinaplanong i-convert para sa residential, commercial at industrial na gamit.

Mapanlinlang at mapagsamantala din ang ilan sa mga probisyon ng compromise agreement, kabilang ang waiver sa mga kasong isinampa laban sa HLI management sa paglabag nito sa 1989 SDO. Nakasulat din sa kasunduan na hindi na maaring maghabol o makapagsasampa ng kaso ang mga magsasaka maging sa maaaring paglabag ng HLI management sa kasunduan sa hinaharap.

Hindi na rin maaaring habulin ang mga lupaing napasailalim sa land use conversion, katulad ng 500 ektarya ng lupa ng RCBC na  ibinenta sa halagang P750 milyon subalit hindi nabahagian ang mga magsasaka.

Sa ilalim din ng kasunduan ay may “right of first refusal” o ang karapatang magdesisyon ng HLI management para sa mga magsasaka kaugnay ng mga transaksyon papasukan nito. Kung magdesisyon ang magbubukid na ibenta sa lupa, ang HLI ang unang may karapatan sa pagbili nito. Maaaring humantong ito sa rekonsentrasyon ng lupa sa kamay ng HLI management.

Maliban sa hindi pagiging patas at mapanlinlang ng compromise agreement, gumamit ang HLI ng malawakang militarisasyon para sagkaan ang pagkilos ng mga magbubukid at takutin sila para pumirma.

Ano ang magiging epekto ng compromise agreement sa gaganaping oral arguments sa Agosto 18?

Dinisenyo ang compromise agreement upang sapilitang panigan ng mga magsasaka ang SDO. Sinasamantala nito ang naghihikahos na kalagayan ng mga magsasaka para pangunahan ang magiging desisyon ng Korte Suprema ukol sa ligalidad ng SDO at pigilan ang nararapat na pamamahagi ng lupa sa mga magsasaka.

Noong Disyembre 2006, naglabas ng desisyon ang Presidential Agrarian Reform Council na nagbabasura a SDO ng HLI matapos nitong makita na hindi sumunod sa batas ang Hacienda Luisita management sa pagpapatupad ng CARP at bagkus ay lumabag pa sa maraming probisyon nito, na naging sanhi na labis na paglala ng hirap nang kalagayan ng mga magsasaka.

Sa kabila ng higit dalawang dekadang pagpapatupad ng SDO, hindi pa rin nagagarantiyahan ang tatlong porsyentong bahagi ng magsasaka sa kita sa produksyon (gross sales from the production) kada taon ng hacienda, at ang profit share na katumabas sa 10% ng net profit after tax na mga benepisyo ng mga magsasaka bilang stockholders. Hindi rin binibigay ang mga dibidendo mula sa kita ng Hacienda Luisita Inc., na dapat ibigay sa mga magsasakang may hawak ng stocks.

Suportahan ang magsasaka ng Hacienda Luisita! Ibasura ang Compromise Agreement!

Kung kikilalanin ng Korte Suprema ang kasunduan, mababalewala ang desisyon ng Department of Agrarian Reform at ng Presidential Agrarian Reform Council na sumasang-ayon na ipamahagi ang 6,453 ektaryang lupain ng Hacienda Luisita  sa mga magsasaka. Gagawin din nitong legal ang SDO bilang iskema ng repormang agraryo, sa kabila pagiging maanomalya at hindi makatarungan nito.

Magpapatuloy rin ang mga pagsasamantala na naranasan ng mga magsasaka at manggagawang bukid tulad ng mababang sahod na umaabot lamang sa P9.50 kada araw na siyang naging dahilan ng malawakang protesta noong 2004, na nauwi sa pagkamatay ng pitong tao sa tinaguriang Hacienda Luisita massacre.

Tuluyan na nitong hahadlangan ang adhikain para sa tunay na reporma sa lupa, hindi lamang ng mga magsasaka at manggagawang bukid sa Hacienda Luisita kundi maging sa 11 iba pang lupain na nasasailalim sa SDO sa buong bansa.

Malaking hamon at pagsubok sa bagong gobyernong Aquino ang isyu na ito dahil ang HLI ang simbolo ng kabiguan ng reporma sa lupa sa bansa. Una nang nakalusot nag HLI sa repormang agraryo noong panahon ni Pangulong Corazon Aquino. Nanganganib na makalusot muli ito sa ilalim ng rehimen ni Benigno Simeon Aquino III. Ang kanyang kawalan ng positibong aksyon sa isyu, lalo’t mga kamag-anak nya ang sangkot, ay pumapabor sa mga galaw ng HLI management.

Ang ugat ng sigalot sa Luisita ay ang monopolyo sa lupa ng pamilya Conjuangco-Aquino. Anumang bihis ang gawin ng management, tulad ng SDO, ito pa rin monopolyo sa lupa at pyudal na pagsasamantala.

Suportahan natin ang pakikibaka ng mga magsasaka at manggagawang bukid ng Hacienda Luisita. Ipanawagan natin ang mga sumusunod mula sa Korte Suprema at sa rehimeng Aquino:

Ibasura ang Compromise Agreement!

Ibasura ang Stock Distribution Option!

Ipamahagi sa magsasaka ang lupa ng Hacienda Luisita!

Itigil ang militarisasyon sa Hacienda Luisita!

Hustisya para sa magsasaka ng Hacienda Luisita!

Ipaglaban ang tunay na reporma sa lupa!

Click on link to view PDF file

Matrix of controversial GMA midnight appointments

Six years hence:  Unmasking the legacy of failure of GMA’s 10-point agenda

by the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan)

June 9, 2010

At the tail end of her nine-year rule, Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s propaganda offensive has focused on the supposed “legacy” of her administration. The recently reported growth in first quarter gross domestic product (GDP) of 7.3 percent, for instance, has been hyped as a “great note to end” the so-called “glorious” years under Arroyo. And as if placing an exclamation point on an oft-repeated message, Malacañang will showcase the supposed achievements of the administration through a P10-million Freedom Day parade on June 12. The  costly display of the supposed milestones under the outgoing administration will reportedly feature 10 floats to represent Mrs. Arroyo’s 10-point agenda.

Mrs. Arroyo first unveiled her 10-point agenda during her inaugural speech in 2004. She had just clinched a six-year term in what was considered as the most fraudulent presidential elections in Philippine history. The following discussion scrutinizes the supposed achievements of Mrs. Arroyo vis-à-vis her 10-point agenda. The italicized paragraphs are direct quotes lifted from Mrs. Arroyo’s inaugural speech.

“Let me speak plainly. When I step down six years from now this will be my 10-point legacy. I shall have created more than 6 million jobs, perhaps, even 10 million jobs. Mahigit anim na milyong trabaho, kung maaari sampung milyong trabaho. I shall have supported 3 million entrepreneurs by giving them loans and helping them become good managers. That way, we shall be establishing a deep foundation for a broad middle class”.

The nine years of the Arroyo administration is considered as the worst period for the Filipino workers. Instead of an additional 6-10 million new jobs as promised by Arroyo, unemployment in the country turned from bad to worse. From 2001 to 2009, the country posted its most awful jobless record in more than half a century, with the annual unemployment rate averaging an all-time high of more than 11 percent. A simple comparison of the total number of jobless between the January 2001 and January 2010  government’s Labor Force Survey (LFS) shows an increase of more than 620,000 unemployed workers.[1] Such increase only captures a portion of how job scarcity has actually deteriorated as it does not yet account for the quality of jobs available in the domestic labor market. As it is, the absolute number of unemployed under Arroyo, pegged at about 4 million a year, is significantly higher than during the time of Erap (3.17 million); Ramos (2.58 million); and Cory (2.28 million).

“I shall have developed 1 million hectares, if possible 2 million of agribusiness land by making them productive and transporting their products to the markets efficiently”.

According to the 2009 SONA Technical Report, government has developed 1.48 million hectares of new/idle lands for agribusiness from first quarter 2005 to first quarter 2009 that supposedly generated an estimated total of 2.19 million jobs. However, in the context of lack of genuine land reform, agribusiness development in the country has meant the physical and economic displacement of peasants and farm workers. The net increase in the number of unemployed in the country under the Arroyo administration is a clear indicator that whatever claims of jobs creation by the government’s agribusiness development plan has failed to reverse the worsening condition of employment in the country .

“Everyone of school age will be in school in an uncrowded classroom, in surroundings conducive to learning. Hangad kong makapasok sa eskuwela ang bawat bata. Mayroong sapat na lugar sa silid-aralan at may computer sa bawat aralan”.

Free primary and secondary education is a right guaranteed by the 1987 Constitution and thus every administration is mandated to carry out this task. To ensure this, sufficient resources are needed (at least at 5 percent of the GDP, based on international standards) to fund the growing needs of public education in the country. Public spending for education under Arroyo averaged only 2.7 percent of the GDP as compared with 3.7 percent under Erap; Ramos, 3.1 percent; and Cory, 2.7 percent. In the 2010 national budget, per capita allocation for education was pegged at P2,502 while debt servicing was at P7,944. Due to lack of government support amid worsening joblessness and poverty, net enrollment rate for elementary schools declined from 87.11 percent in School Year (SY) 2004-05 to 85.12 percent in SY 2008-09. The environment conducive to learning remains elusive including overcrowded  classrooms. The teacher-student ratio for public elementary school remains unchanged at 1:36 ( SY 2004-05 and 2008-09); for public high school, there was no significant improvement . i.e. from 1:41 to 1:39.

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers has said that for the incoming school year 2010-2011, there will be a shortage of 54,060 teachers, 4,538 principals, and 6,473 head teachers; 61,343 classrooms, 816,291 seats, and 113,051 water and sanitation facilities.

“I shall have balanced the budget by collecting the right revenues and spending on the right things. The network of transport and digital infrastructure on which my government embarked in the last 3 years will have linked the entire country”.

The full-year budget deficit in 2009 reached P298.5 billion, an all-time high in absolute terms. From 2001 to 2009, the average national budget deficit was pegged at P148.37 billion while the average deficit as a percentage of the GDP was 2.93 percent, both historic highs. Far from collecting the right revenues, the Arroyo administration milked the people dry through onerous taxes such as the 12 percent value added tax (VAT), includingon items as basic as oil, power, water, food, and medicine among others.

Meanwhile, big companies including transnational corporations (TNCs) were spared from paying taxes through liberalization. Total collections from tariffs on imported goods and services under Arroyo accounted for only about 2.8 percent of total revenues and GDP, compared to around 4.5 percent for most of the 1990s. Mrs. Arroyo was the biggest spender on debt servicing but  had the lowest spendingfor social services among all Philippine presidents. Every year since 2001, the amount of debt servicing has been equivalent to 42.7 percent of annual government expenditures and 67.4 percent of annual revenues. Meanwhile, combined government spending for education, social security, health, land distribution, and housing did not even account for half of what the Arroyo administration was spending for interest and principal payments on foreign debt, not to mention spending for the armed forces and the police.

“Power and water will be regularly provided to all barangays. Kuryente at tubig para sa lahat ng barangay”.

According to the 2007 Annual Poverty Indicator Survey (APIS) of the NSO, 17.1 percent of all families in the country do not have access to safe drinking water and are forced to get water from unsafe sources such as unprotected well (5.7 percent); developed spring (4.8 percent); undeveloped spring (1.9 percent); river, stream, pond, lake or dam (1.1 percent); rainwater (0.4 percent); tanker truck or peddler (2.3 percent); and other sources (0.8 percent). Access to water is expectedly lower for poor families as the same NSO survey show that 30 percent of the poorest 30 percent of Filipino families do not have access to safe water supply. Continued implementation of privatization has further made access to water a privilege for the affluent – water rates in Metro Manila, for instance, increased by 314 to 643 percent between 2001 and 2009.

Meanwhile, government claims that it has already energized 100 percent of all municipalities/cities and 99 percent of all barangays, yet there are still 30,181 sitios or around 30 percent of the total that do not have electricity. Overall, 27 percent of the country’s potential connections remain unconnected. In the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), the country’s poorest region, a huge 62 percent of the total sitios are not energized while 74 percent are unconnected. Power rates increased astronomically due to privatization and deregulation of the power sector under Arroyo’s pet program the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (Epira) of 2001.

“Metro Manila will be decongested with economic activity growing and spreading to new centers of government business and community in Luzon, in the Visayas and in Mindanao. The Subic-Clark corridor will be the most competitive international service and logistic center in the Southeast Asian Region”.

The idea of decongesting Metro Manila by promoting various growth areas in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao was detailed by Mrs. Arroyo in her 2006 State of the Nation Address (SONA) when she presented her so-called super-regions concept. This divided the country into four mega-regions – North Luzon Agribusiness Quadrangle, Metro Luzon Urban Beltway, Central Philippines, and Mindanao plus the so-called Cyber Corridor. The basic strategy, however, did not differ from the old, flawed development strategy of attracting foreign investmentl and catering to the world market by aggressively promoting the country’s rich natural resources and cheap labor. The program was  heavy on infrastructure development mainly funded by foreign debt, adding up to the country’s debt burden. But most importantly, it failed to spread out economic activity, much less development, to other regions of the country. Metro Manila, for instance, accounted for 30.9 percent of the GDP in 2000; in 2008 (latest available data), its share even increased to 33.01 percent. On the other hand, the share to GDP of the ARMM, the country’s poorest region remained unchanged at less than 1 percent during the same period. In addition, while overall poverty worsened under Arroyo, the deterioration is more felt in the poorer regions. For instance, poverty incidence in Metro Manila increased by 3.2 percentage points between 2003 and 2006 (survey years for poverty); in ARMM, the increase was 8.5 percentage points.

“Elections will no longer raise a single doubt about their integrity. The electoral process will be completely computerized. Tama na ang manu-manong pagsusuma ng boto”.

The first attempt of the Arroyo administration to implement the automation of the elections in the country was marred by a multibillion-peso corruption scandal. In 2004, the Supreme Court (SC) voided the anomalous P1.2-billion deal between the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and Mega Pacific citing “reckless disregard of bidding rules and procedure” among other reasons. Poll automation finally pushed through in the May 2010 national elections but with major problems ranging from  serious technical glitches and major vulnerabilities and loopholes in the system that cast doubt on the accuracy and intergirty of the resutls. Traditional forms of fraud (vote-buying, harasment) also persisted despite the automated system.

“And long before that, peace will have come to Mindanao. All insurgence shall have turned their swords into plowshares. They will have become so absorbed into one society that the struggles of the past will be just a stuff of legend”.

A just peace in Mindanao and throughout the country is as elusive as ever. The promised final peace agreement between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) at the end of Arroyo’s term did not materialize. Earlier, the Arroyo administration worsened the conflict by negotiating in bad faith  — pretending to push, then later withdrawing its support — for the contentious Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) in 2008. This  triggered fresh skirmishes between government troops and MILF fighters that displaced more than 600,000 people, mostly Moros.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Arroyo has totally abandoned the peace process with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines. Instead, it aggressively implemented the murderous Oplan Bantay Laya (OBL) military campaign which escalated urban and rural militaraizaton displacing tens of thousands of civilians and targeted  activists and other progressives the regime branded as “communist” for extra-judicial killing, enforced disappearance or illegal arrest and detention.

Since 2001, more than 1,000 people have been assassinated, more than 200 have been abducted and remain missing, and hundreds have been illegally arrested and detained such as the Morong 43. Furthermore, the prevailingimpunity for  violations of human rights and international humanitarian law carried out by state forces has emboldened political allies of Mrs. Arroyo to commit gruesome crimes such as the Ampatuan massacre in November last year. The deteriorating social conditions brought about by wrong economic policies combined with  political repression, abuses, and corruption of the Arroyo administration have only fueled the intensifying armed conflicts in the country.

“The divisive issues generated by EDSA I, II and III will also be just memories shared by friends from every side in those upheavals. Only the lessons of unity, courage and a just closure left alive in their hearts. Dapat wakasan na sa makatarungang paraan ang hidwaang bunsod ng EDSA I, II at III. Higit ang nagbubuklod kaysa naghahati sa atin bilang isang bansa”.

In her nine years as President, Mrs. Arroyo committed serious misdeeds that have isolated her not only from the political groups and forces associated with People Power but more importantly, from ordinary Filipinos. She has heightened the political conflict by repeatedly committing grave abuses; aggressively and blatantly using her vast presidential powers to shun accountability (i.e. derailing four impeachment tries, issuing Executive Order 464 and invoking “executive privilege”, etc.) and get back at her opponents and critics (declaring a state of emergency and imposing Presidential Proclamation 1017, etc.); and constantly maneuvering to consolidate and even prolong her rule (promoting Charter change, declaring Martial Law in Maguindanao, etc.). Up to the very end of her regime, and in an obvious effort to gain political leverage against the incoming  administration of President-elect Benigno Aquino III, she continued to stoke conflict through midnight appointments including the Supreme Court Chief Justice. The only just closure to this still raging political conflict is for Mrs. Arroyo to be held accountable for the 2004 Hello Garci electoral fraud that made her clinch the presidency, the numerous corruption issues involving her and her family including the NBN-ZTE scandal and the gross human rights violations committed under her regime.

Sources and references:

  1. Bayan, The Philippine economic situation: worsening permanent crisis amid the global crunch, November 2008
  2. Bayan, On the national situation, draft, October 2009
  3. Office of the President, Inaugural day speech of President Arroyo, June 30, 2004
  4. Presidential Management Staff (PMS), SONA 2009 Technical Report
  5. National Statistics Office (NSO), Labor Force Survey (LFS), various rounds
  6. Department of Education (DepEd), Fact Sheet, Basic Education Statistics
  7. Department of Budget and Management (DBM)
  8. Department of Finance (DOF), National government fiscal position
  9. NSO, Annual Poverty Indicator Survey 2007
  10. Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) – Regulatory Office
  11. National Electrification Administration (NEA), Status of electrification as of March 31, 2010
  12. Bureau of the Treasury (BTr), National government outstanding debt 2000 – 2009
  13. National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB), Gross regional domestic product 2001 and 2008
  14. NSCB, Philippine poverty statistics
  15. MILF website
  16. Karapatan Alliance for the Advancement of Human Rights

[1] Note that since its April 2005 LFS, the National Statistics Office (NSO) started to use a new definition of unemployment, which excluded discouraged workers and those not willing or available for work from the labor force. The redefinition had a net effect of “statistically” reducing the number of unemployed.

1. Q: Is the demand for justice in Hacienda Luisita that is being articulated by militant groups mere “leftist propaganda” and part of politicking during election season? Are militant groups merely sour-graping for not getting a senatorial seat in Noynoy Aquino’s Liberal Party?

A: The unrest in Luisita is real, as real as the 7 strikers who were killed on November 14, 2004. The demands of the farmers and workers for land and justice are legitimate and are not part of some election spin against Aquino’s presidential bid. The conflict has its roots in the failure of the Aquino land reform law way back in 1989. The land dispute and ensuing labor problem has its roots in the stock-distribution option which makes farmers nominal stockholders but who end up receiving nothing for their labor. Instead of direct land distribution, farmers got shares from the Luisita corporation controlled by the Cojuangcos. The SDO has failed to eradicate poverty in the hacienda. The strike in 2004 was the result of unfair and inhumane labor conditions in the hacienda and the management’s refusal to address the demands of the farmer workers which included an increase in wages, medical and other benefits. The management responded with the illegal dismissal of the workers and the union leaders, thus forcing the sugar mill and farm workers to go on strike.  The strike ended a year later, but the hacienda remained under the control of the Cojuangco-Aquino family.

While the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council has revoked the SDO of the Hacienda in 2005, a case remains pending before the Supreme Court because the Luisita management blocked the order of the PARC.
This only means that the issue in Luisita is yet unresolved. The question of land distribution remains hanging as the management refuses to give up the SDO. Senator Noynoy Aquino, in an interview with the Inquirer which appeared on November 10 invoked the “inviolability of contracts” with the farm workers as the basis of upholding the SDO. What he didn’t say though is that it was the hacienda management which violated the SDO provisions in the first place, as seen from the report of the PARC. The failure of the SDO, including the violations of its provisions, was the basis of the strike in 2004.

2. Q: Sen. Noynoy Aquino is only a minority stockholder in the hacienda, having only 4% of the shares. Why is he being asked to speak up on the issue when he is in no position to influence management decisions?

A: Sen. Aquino is being asked to make his stand clear on the issue of Luisita not just because he’s an individual shareholder in the corporation but because he is seeking the highest office in the land. People want to know how he will handle an agrarian reform conflict involving his close relatives. It is a legitimate test of his leadership and stand on issues. The position of president carries the legal and moral responsibility of ensuring that social justice is achieved, especially for the most oppressed. Will Sen. Aquino’s relations with the owners of HLI stand in the way of that mandate? If Sen. Aquino succeeds in becoming president, will he implement genuine agrarian reform (and not SDO) or will HLI be spared from land distribution for another six years?

To hide behind the mantle of “minority shareholder” is to totally miss the gravity of the land reform problem that has confronted all previous governments.

Even if Sen. Aquino does divest of all his holdings in HLI, that will not address the farmers’ demand for land. He would just be washing his hands of any involvement in the land conflict. Selling Luisita to another investor will also not address the demand for land. Ownership will merely change hands from one landlord to another.

We must add that other presidential bets must also make clear their stand on Luisita. This is not just a problem of Sen. Aquino, though he apparently carries the greater burden of explaining his position. We also want to know, are the other presidential aspirants willing to implement genuine land reform and bring to justice the perpetrators of the extrajudicial killings?

3. Q: Weren’t the farmers themselves who entered into the Stock Distribution Option in 1989? They wanted this arrangement in the first place. The management is merely trying to preserve this “contract”.

A: The passage of the SDO in 1989 was chockfull of deception and coercion. And if the farmers were indeed happy with the arrangement, there would not have been unrest leading up to the November 2004 strike. The strike was clear proof that the SDO did not uplift the situation of the farm workers.

Historical data will show, particularly the pay-slips of the farm workers, how oppressive the stock-distribution option has been the past two decades. Under this scheme, farmers are made to believe that they are stockholders in a corporation where management control still resides with the Cojuangco-Aquino family. To get their “share “of the profits, they are required to work a certain number of man-days a year. Over time, mechanization and other schemes gradually reduced the man-days allowed the farm workers. They will not only NOT GET their share in the profits but will also be reduced to abject indebtedness to the Cojuangco estate.

It is this oppressive situation which makes workers receive only P9.50/day because of all the deductions that are made to pay for the daily needs of the workers (which are supplied by management itself). The stock distribution option merely gave a new face to semi-feudal exploitation. The pay slips will bear this out.

While on the topic of the “contract”, it bears mentioning that the HLI management was the first to violate the SDO agreement. Atty. Jobert Pahilga of SENTRA writes “On October 14, 2003, the Supervisory Group of Hacienda Luisita, Inc. filed a petition before the DAR to revoke the SDO, saying the HLI was not giving them dividends, their one percent (1%) share in gross sales and thirty percent (33%) share in the proceeds from the conversion of 500 hectares of land. They likewise cited other violations by the HLI of the MOA and that their lives have not improved contrary to the promise and the rationale for the adoption of the SDO”.

These and other violations by management prompted the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council to revoke the SDO of Luisita. This should have paved the way for land distribution to the farmers. However, the HLI management filed for a TRO before the Supreme Court. The “status quo” prior to the PARC order is now being observed.

4. Q:  Isn’t it inappropriate for Sen. Aquino to comment on the land dispute at this point when a case is pending before the Supreme Court? He is leaving the issue to management which is directly involved in the case.

A: It is not inappropriate for Sen. Aquino to speak out. In fact now is the best time for him to speak out on the issue because he has the whole nation’s attention, being the front-runner in the presidential derby.

So far Sen. Aquino has defended the SDO, saying that all was well before the 2004 strike. From 1958 to 2004, residents and workers had jobs. From 2004 to 2009, they had no jobs. My focus is how to get them back to their jobs, how to get them jobs,” he said.

“I really would not want to engage in a never-ending debate as far as the details and issues [are concerned]. It’s the companies and beneficiaries who are in a better position to answer questions.”

Surely, all was not well before 2004 which is why there was a strike. The “never-ending debate” exists because of the never-ending efforts of the management to block genuine land distribution to the farmers. If Sen. Aquino wants to give the farmers and residents jobs, the best way to do this is through genuine agrarian reform, that of giving land to the tillers. Continuing with the SDO means depriving the farmers and residents jobs, land and dignity. As long as the Cojuangco-Aquinos have a monopoly control of land, there will never be social justice in Luisita.

Instead of evading the issue, Sen. Aquino must engage it head on. Will he stand for the farmers and workers? Will he support the junking of the Stock Distribution Option? Will he support land distribution? Will he help bring to justice those involved in the massacre and other cases of extrajudicial killings?

The response should be sooner than later . November 16 is the 5th anniversary of the Luisita Massacre. Incidentally, on the same day, the Liberal Party will hold its convention to formally endorse Aquino’s presidential bid.  ###

The following is a piece written by Inquirer columnist Conrado de Quiros, which appeared on November 22, 2004 in the Inquirer, six days after the Luisita Massacre. (de Quiros is now a staunch supporter of Aquino’s presidential bid)

There’s The Rub: Broke
By Conrado de Quiros
Inquirer News Service

Note: Published on page A14 of the November 22, 2004 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer

“HERE is a land in which a few are spectacularly rich while the masses remain abjectly poor. Gleaming suburbia clashes with the squalor of the slums. Here is a land consecrated to democracy but run by an entrenched plutocracy. Here, too, are a people whose ambitions run high, but whose fulfillment is low and mainly restricted to the self-perpetuating elite. Here is a land of privilege and rank-a republic dedicated to equality but mired in an archaic system of caste.”

The one who said this was not Ka Paeng or Ka Pepe, it was Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino. He said this in an article in 1968 in the US journal Foreign Affairs. This was typical of what politicians and radicals alike were saying before martial law, particularly to warn that the country was a “social volcano” all set to explode. Aquino himself suggested the way by which the explosion might be averted: “The wealth that the oligarchy rapaciously covets and hoards must get down to the masses in the form of roads, bridges and schools; these are what the tao understands as good or bad government.”

I remarked in the book “Dead Aim”: “Caught in the rapture of his eloquence, Aquino forgot that his in-laws owned a hacienda that stretched as far as the eye could see. And one that would remain untouched by land reform two decades later.”

The past comes back to haunt. As indeed do Cory’s own words, when she promised during the “snap elections” that the first thing she would do was subject Hacienda Luisita to land reform. What a difference a month makes, which was all the time it took from the “snap elections” to Cory replacing Marcos, which turned out to be a sea change not just in the political landscape of the nation but in the moral outlook of the new governors. That was all the time it took for Cory to forget her vow.

Hacienda Luisita will always be a festering sore. It will always be the symbol of the failure of Edsa to move the country from tyranny to democracy, if by democracy is also meant-as Ninoy argued-the pushing back of oligarchic rule. You can’t have a more oligarchic rule than feudal rule, which takes place in Hacienda Luisita notwithstanding its seemingly capitalist conversion into an industrial enclave. All the conversion shows is that, as in the days of the feudal manor, serfs are owned by their landlords body and soul. They can be told to do anything, including to agree to “stock option.” Their well-being is a matter of manorial beneficence. They have no more power to determine the future of Hacienda Luisita, or their share of its profits, than beggars have the power to determine the amount of alms they can get from prospective donors.

Noynoy Aquino says leftists goaded the workers in Hacienda Luisita, who have been complaining about their lot, to strike. Well, so what? At the very least, try goading workers who have no deep-seated grievance to strike and see how far you’ll get-these days, particularly, when work is harder to come by than honesty in GMA’s government. May be leftists goaded the workers in Hacienda Luisita to strike-I can believe it-but they could not have succeeded if the workers were not ripe for the goading.

At the very most, workers have a right to strike. One would imagine congressmen would know that. A strike is neither illegal nor immoral, it is sanctioned by the Constitution and enshrined in the tradition of the workers’ movement. Only Lucio Tan and now Ninoy’s namesake think it is not.

While at this, if leftists had not goaded workers, farmers, students and other sectors to mount national strikes, or “welgang bayan,” during martial law, the Aquinos would not be there. It was the efforts of the leftists to goad Filipinos to fight sleep in the early years of martial law that assured they would be awake to react to the murder of Ninoy much later.

Cory cannot understand why the workers refuse to accept her offer of sympathy and prayers for the dead? Well, if I recall right, Cesar Virata had to scurry away from Sto. Domingo Church after conveying to her the sympathy and prayers of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos for the death of her husband. He feared being torn limb from limb. The sympathy and prayers of the one who caused you grief are never welcome. The life of Ninoy is not more important than the lives of the 14 workers who died in the blaze of gunfire from goons in the uniforms of cops and soldiers last Tuesday. Other than in oligarchic reckoning, which deems the lives of serfs as nothing compared to that of the lord of the manor.

“If it ain’t broke,” says Department of Agrarian Reform chief Rene Villa, “why fix it?” That is his reaction to calls for a review of the “stock option” plan.

What, the corpses of 14 workers strewn over a dusty road in Hacienda Luisita are not a sign something is broke? Again, maybe it’s true leftists goaded the workers to strike. But as I wrote a long time ago, when Isidro Cariño, then the education secretary, said the same thing about the 3,000 public school teachers who went on strike against him, and vowed to hunt the goaders down, the words of leftists are nothing compared to the flailing of hunger. And hunger has no address.

But the 14 corpses lying on the ground point to something broke that’s even bigger than that Hacienda Luisita hasn’t been land-reformed. That is, that the foundations of democracy in this country are crumbling. No, more than that, that is, that the moral foundations of this country are crashing. Power has made people forget what it means to lose a loved one to tyranny.

Ninoy Aquino might have been talking of today when he said: “Here is a land consecrated to democracy but run by an entrenched plutocracy. Here is a land of privilege and rank-a republic dedicated to equality but mired in an archaic system of caste.”

If that ain’t broke, what is?

Draft Primer hinggil sa Luisita massacre na sinulat ni Lisa Ito apat na taon na ang nakaraan
(di ko na mahanap yung Final PDF file nito eh)

Para sa mga manggagawang bukid ng Hacienda Luisita, take-home pay na P9.50* kada linggo ang kapalit ng daantaong pagbubungkal nila at ng kanilang mga ninuno sa lupaing inangkin ng mga Cojuangco. Para naman sa amo nilang ganid sa tubo, tila P9.50 lang rin ang halaga ng buhay na nilagas ng bala noong ika-16 ng Nobyembre 2004 — halagang ‘di sasapat upang makabili ng isang lata ng sardinas, o kaha ng sigarilyong Fortune.

Ano nga ba ang tunay na halaga ng paggawa, lupa at karapatang-pantao? Timbangin natin kung bakit makatarungan ang pag-aaklas ang masang anakpawis sa halip na magtiis sa buhay-barya.


Nobyembre 6, 2004 nang simulan ang welga sa Central Azucarera de Tarlac (CAT), ang pinakamalaking pagawaan ng asukal sa buong Luzon. Bunsod ito ng umiiral na kalagayan sa asyenda kung saan matutunghayan ang karangyaan ng iilan samantalang kasalatan naman sa kabuhayan ng nakararami.

Ang mga sumusunod ay napapaloob sa 6,453 ektaryang asyenda na pag-aari ng angkan ng Cojuangco-Aquino, isa sa pinakamakapangyarihang pamilya sa ekonomiya at pulitika sa Pilipinas:
• 4,915.75 ektaryang lupaing agrikultural
• Ang CAT, kung saan pinoproseso ang tubo upang gawing asukal matapos ang kabyawan (anihan)
• Mga istruktura tulad ng Mall, 70-ektaryang Golf Course,at 500-ektaryang Industrial Park
• ‘Di bababa sa limang malalaking kompanya na humahawak sa iba’t ibang negosyo sa asyenda

Sa mga ito kumakamal ng sagad-sagarang tubo ang mga Cojuangco. Ngunit nananatiling maralita ang masang tagalikha ng yamang kanilang tinatamasa: mga manggagawa at manggagawang-bukid na walang lupa.

• Ang mga manggagawang-bukid na bumubuo sa kalakhan ng lakas-paggawa ng asyenda ay sumasahod ng P194 lamang kada araw, at pinahihintulutang magtrabaho nang isa hanggang dalawang araw lamang kada linggo. Dahil sa pagkakabaon sa utang, madalas ay P9.50 na lamang ang aktwal na naiuuwing sahod.


‘Di-makataong pasahod, kawalan ng benepisyo, at pagsupil ng awtoridad ang tumatahi sa pinagsanib na laban ng dalawang unyon sa asyenda. Magkasunod na nag-welga ang ULWU o United Luisita Workers Union (unyon ng mga manggagawang-bukid) at ang CATLU o Central Azucarera de Tarlac Labor Union (unyon ng mga manggagawa ng azucarera) dahil sa union-busting at pagmamatigas ng management ng Hacienda Luisita Incorporated (HLI) sa negosasyon para sa isang makabuluhang Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).

Ang mga makatarungang HILING ng mga unyon mula sa management:

• P100 across-the-board wage increase
• Signing Bonus
• Gratuity Pay

• Pagtaas sa sahod
• Libreng serbisyo mula sa St. Martin de Porres Hospital ng CAT
• Mga benepisyong tulad ng Christmas at Service bonus

Ang TUGON ng pamilya Cojuangco at ng mga kasabwat nila:

• Tuso at sapilitang pagtanggal ng management sa 327 manggagawang-bukid, kasama ang mga lider ng ULWU at pakikipagsabwatan sa iilang bayarang indibidwal sa CAT.

• “Assumption of Jurisdiction” order na nagpapatunay na kasangkot ang Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), sa pangunguna ni Sec. Patricia Sto. Tomas na buwagin ang welga at dahasin ang mga manggagawa.

• Panghihimasok ng Northern Luzon Command ng AFP sa usaping sibilyan

• Masaker ng mga manggagawang-bukid – Ang nabigong limang beses na tangkang pagbuwag ng mga pulis at militar sa piketlayn gamit ang water cannon, tear gas, truncheon, at baril. Humantong ito sa pagkakapaslang ng pitong welgista noong hapon ng Nobyembre 16, 2004. Nagpapatuloy ang pandarahas at pamamaslang sa pangunguna ng mga militar at mga bayarang goons. Disyembre 8, pinaslang ang Tagapangulo ng Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Tarlac, si Ka Marcing na susing testigo sa naganap na masaker.

ANO ANG MGA UMIIRAL NA KALAGAYAN NA NAGBUNSOD NG PAG-AAKLAS SA HACIENDA LUISITA? KAWALAN NG LUPAAng mga magbubukid na daantaong nagbungkal ng lupain ng Compania General de Tabacos de Filipinas (TABACALERA) — ang mga ninuno ng mga manggagawang-bukid ng Hacienda Luisita — ang tunay na may-ari ng lupa sa asyenda.


Ngunit ang lupain ng asyenda ay patuloy na inaangkin ng mga Cojuangco sa pamamagitan ng mga sumusunod:


Noong 1957, binili ni Jose Cojuangco, Sr. ang CAT at ang Hacienda Luisita mula sa TABACALERA gamit ang pera ng mamamayan bilang puhunan: utang mula sa Government Service Insurance System at Manufacturers’ Trust Company sa New York. Ang huli ay ginarantiya ng international reserve ng bansa na inaprubahan ng Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas sa kondisyong ipapamahagi ito sa maliliit na magsasaka. Lumipas ang ilang dekada ngunit hindi tinupad ang napagkasunduang pamamahagi ng lupa sa mga magbubukid.Nang maging Pangulo si Corazon Cojuangco Aquino noong 1986, nakaiwas ang kanyang pamilya na ipatupad ang repormang agraryo alinsunod sa desisyon ng Manila-Regional Trial Court noong 1985. Isa sa mga inkorporador ng Tarlac Development Corporation (TADECO), ipinagtibay ni Aquino ang pag-angkin ng kanyang angkan sa asyenda sa pamamagitan ng Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL) noong 1988. 2. STOCK DISTRIBUTION OPTION (SDO)


• Ano ang SDO?
Niligalisa ng CARL ang iba’t ibang anyo ng huwad na repormang agraryo katulad ng “stock transfer scheme”, kung saan sapi (shares) ang ibinibigay ng panginoong-maylupa sa halip na aktwal na pamamahagi ng lupa. Ipinatupad ang “stock transfer scheme” sa Hacienda Luisita sa ngalang SDO.
• Paano ito ipinatupad?
Itinatag ang HLI bilang spin-off corporation ng TADECO na magpapamahagi ng capital stock sa mga benepisyaryong manggagawang-bukid (“co-owners”) ayon sa stock distribution plan. Sa SDO, inalisan ang mga manggagawang-bukid ng kanilang istorikal na karapatang ariin ang lupaing binubungkal. Napilitan ang mga magbubukid na sumang-ayon sa SDO dahil sa pinagsamang panlilinlang, pananakot at pandarahas ng mga Cojuangco.
• Ano ang epekto nito?
Walang naganap na makabuluhang pagbabago sa salat na kabuhayan ng mamamayan sa 14 taong pag-iral ng SDO. Lalo silang naghirap dahil binawasan ang mandays (takdang araw ng paggawa) mula 4-5 araw hanggang 1-2 araw kada linggo mula 1990. Ito ay dulot ng patakarang land conversion at mekanisasyon. Kasabay na lumiit ang sapi nila dahil nakabatay ‘shares of stock’ sa dami ng mandays. 3. LAND CONVERSION Unti-unti ring nagpapalit-gamit ng lupain ang asyenda upang gawing golf course, industrial park, at iba pa. Simula 1995, nireklasipika para sa kumbersyon ang 3,290 ektarya ng kabuuang 4,915 ektaryang lupaing agrikultural. Naibenta na ang 500 ektarya sa mga korporasyong Hapon. May lupaing nakalaan para sa Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway Project na nakatakdang gawin mula 2003-2005.


Itinutulak ng mga Cojuangco ang land conversion dahil malaki ang kikitain nila mula rito. Mahigpit naman itong tinututulan ng mamamayan dahil katumbas nito ang malawakan at permanenteng pagpapatalsik ng mga magbubukid at manggagawang-bukid sa kanilang sariling lupa.

Ang kasaysayan ng Hacienda Luisita ay patunay sa PAG-IRAL NG MONOPOLYONG KONTROL SA LUPA.


Kinikilala sa Konstitusyon ang karapatang magwelga ng mga manggagawa. Ngunit ito’y nilalapastangan
ng mga malaking namumuhunan sa tulong ng kanilang mga abugado at ng DOLE sa paggamit ng “Assumption of Jurisdiction” (AJ) na nakasaad sa Artikulo 263 (g) ng Labor Code at mga kontra-welgang batas-paggawa. Ginamit ang AJ mula pa noong panahon ng diktaduryang Marcos hanggang ngayon upang supilin ang mga makatarungang welga ng mga manggagawa, gaya ng nangyari sa welga ng manggagawa sa Nestle, Jac Liner at SM.

Hatol na kamatayan ang katumbas ng pagbaba ni DOLE Secretary Patricia Sto. Tomas ng AJ order sa mga welgista noong Nobyembre 10, 2004. Sa pamamagitan nito at ng walang-basehang deklarasyon na ”iligal” ang welga, mistulang ipinagtanggol ni Sto. Tomas ang mga pumaslang sa mga manggagawang-bukid.



Matagal nang militarisado ang malawak na lupain ng asyenda. Ang Yellow Army na nagmula pa noong panahon ni Aquino at ang 69th Infantry Battalion ay ginamit upang maghasik ng takot sa lahat ng tumututol sa umiiral na kaayusan dito.

Kasuklam-suklam na krimen ang mga naganap na pamamaslang ng tropang militar. Pito ang namatay, mahigit 40 ang nasugatan, 114 ang iligal na inaresto, at marami pa ang nawawala hanggang ngayon. Ang di-makatwirang paggamit ng tropang militar sa pagbuwag ng welga ay nagpapakita ng sabwatan sa pagitan ng pamilya Cojuangco at ng mga opisyal ng estado. Ang Pangulo ng bansa – si Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo bilang Commander in Chief ng AFP –ang may kapangyarihang magpahintulot sa militar upang manghimasok sa asyenda.

Hindi natapos sa masaker noong Nobyembre 16 ang karahasan. Noong Disyembre 8, pinatay ng mga sundalo si Marcelino Beltran, Jr., Pangulo ng Alyansa ng Magbubukid ng Tarlac, provincial vice-chairperson ng Anakpawis, at susing testigo sa masaker. Marami pa ang naitalang kaso ng pandarahas at pananakot sa mga welgista hanggang ngayon.

Sinasalamin ng masaker sa Hacienda Luisita ang PAG-IRAL NG PASISMO AT MILITARISASYON SA KANAYUNAN.



• Ang AFP at PNP
• Ang pamilya Cojuangco-Aquino
• DOLE Secretary Patricia Sto. Tomas
• Pang. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo


• Katarungan para sa mga biktima ng masaker sa Hacienda Luisita! Papanagutin ang mga pumaslang kina Jhaivie Basilio, Adriano Caballero, Jhune David, Jesus Laza, Jaime Pastidio, Juancho Sanchez, Jessie Valdez at Ka Marcelino Beltran!

• Singilin ang pahirap na rehimeng Arroyo, ang angkang Cojuangco-Aquino, si DOLE Secretary Patricia Sto. Tomas at ang mga kasangkot nila sa PNP at AFP!
• Ipagtagumpay ang welga sa Hacienda Luisita! Suportahan ang pakikibaka ng mga manggagawa at manggagawang-bukid para sa lupa, sahod, trabaho, at karapatan. Ibalik sa trabaho ang 327 na tinanggal na manggagawang-bukid at opisyales ng ULWU! Ipaglaban at kamtin ang makatarungang CBA!
• Ibasura ang mga mapanupil na batas-paggawa at mga patakaran ng huwad na reporma sa lupa! Ipasawalang-bisa ang “Assumption of Jurisdiction” sa Labor Code at Stock Distribution Option. Itigil ang militarisasyon sa welga at kriminalisasyon sa mga pakikibakang unyon! Itigil ang pagpapalit-gamit sa lupa!
• Ipatupad ang tunay na repormang agraryo at pambansang industriyalisasyon!
yellow ribbon