THE YEAR 2014 MARKS THE TENTH ANNIVERSARY OF THE INFAMOUS HACIENDA LUISITA Massacre. In November 16, 2004, seven farmworkers were killed while hundreds of others were injured and unlawfully arrested after police and military personnel opened fire on thousands of striking sugar workers near the gate of the Central Azucarera de Tarlac (CAT) mill in Hacienda Luisita – the controversial 6,453-hectare estate controlled for nearly five decades by one of the Philippines’ most powerful landlord families, the Cojuangco-Aquino clan. The current Philippine President, Benigno Simeon Cojuangco Aquino III is a fifth generation scion of the Cojuangcos.
Survivors and kin of the victims filed criminal and admistrative complaints against massacre perpetrators before the Office of the Ombudsman in 2005, but all complaints have since been dismissed. Until now, NOBODY has been held liable for the massacre. Today, despite a landmark Supreme Court ruling on land distribution, thousands of farmworkers still struggle with landlessness, poverty, hunger and impunity. Gross human rights violations related to land grabbing and the Cojuangco-Aquinos’ aggressive bid to retain control of the estate continue unabated.
Luisita Watch, the Hacienda Luisita Peasant Supporters Network, with people’s organizations AMBALA (Hacienda Luisita Farmworkers Alliance) and the national farmworkers federation Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA), and human rights group KARAPATAN – will lead the campaign to commemorate the 10th year of the Hacienda Luisita Massacre (HLMX) by advancing the struggle for genuine land reform and actively seeking justice for all victims of human rights violations and impunity in Hacienda Luisita.
Sept 3 – 40th day mass and Tribute to Leticia “Apong Let” Lapuz (November 30, 1945- July 25, 2014), Hacienda Luisita farm worker, unionist, activist and poet
Sept 14 – Launching of People’s Initiative Against Pork Barrel in Hacienda Luisita
Sept 16 – Special Book Launch of “Mga Tula” (Poems) by renowned poet Gelacio Guillermo (born 1940 in Hacienda Luisita) 6 pm at the Handuraw Sikatuna, Anonas Extension, Quezon City
Oct 16 – Tribute to Luisita Martyrs – Commemoration of the death anniversaries of Bishop Alberto Ramento (killed Oct 3, 2006), Bayan-Muna Central Luzon Secgen Florante Collantes (killed Oct 15, 2005), Central Azucarera de Tarlac Labor Union President Ricardo Ramos (killed Oct. 25, 2005) and AMBALA bungkalan leader Dennis dela Cruz (killed October 31, 2013)
Oct 17-18 – Peasant Women International Fact-Finding Mission at Hacienda Luisita spearheaded by Amihan and UMA.
Nov 15- 16 – HLMX: Commemoration of the 10th year of the Hacienda Luisita Massacre