THE LUISITA FARMERS ARE NOT THE LEAST INCLINED TO BELIEVE THE DEPARTMENT of Agrarian Reform’s latest announcements that land distribution has already been completed in Hacienda Luisita. Not when, lately, some of them have had to stand vigil in their fields, trying to tend to both crops and barricades amid the threat of gun-toting guards and bulldozers. Not when the Cojuangco-Aquino-owned Tarlac Development Corporation, with increasing impunity, can order the arrest and mauling of any hapless one of them who, ironically, are called fondly by the DAR as land reform beneficiaries.
Indeed, renewed agrarian unrest is escalating in Hacienda Luisita. If real land distribution is not carried out and if terror continues to reign in the area, we just might see a situation not unlike the period which led to the tragic Hacienda Luisita Massacre of 2004. Hence the need for the current struggle in this vast and historic Tarlac estate to reach a greater public, gain wider support and thus effectively oblige concerned state institutions to decisively resolve the decades-old Luisita question.
The challenge for various sectors to carry the cause of social justice and human rights for the thousands of Luisita farm worker families becomes even more compelling given persistent assumptions that the present administration, led by a Cojuangco-Aquino himself, is in fact being grossly complicit with the Cojuangco-Aquino clan’s aggressive efforts to maintain control of Hacienda Luisita.
It is in this very challenging context that the initiative to launch LUISITA WATCH is being pursued.