Luisita farmers have this to say to the Fil-Am activists who confronted President Noynoy Aquino in Columbia, “You’ll always have a home in Hacienda Luisita, and in the hearts of the Filipino people.”
In a statement, Florida Sibayan, chairperson of the Alyansa ng mga Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita (AMBALA) said that Luisita farmworkers “salute the young activists of Anakbayan New Jersey, the New York Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (NYCHRP), Gabriela USA and BAYAN USA for militantly exposing BS Noynoy Aquino during his speaking engagement at Columbia University.”
“We applaud the courage of comrade Joelle Lingat of Anakbayan New Jersey, and all our valiant youth activists,” said Sibayan. Lingat and other US-based activists interrupted BS Aquino while answering questions from the audience of the World Leader’s Forum at Columbia University.
Joelle Lingat, who joined Anakbayan’s exposure trips to Hacienda Luisita and Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan)-affected areas in the Philippines a few months ago, boldly told Aquino: “ Now I see the reality of what your family has done. I have been to Hacienda Luisita.”
Lingat said: “I have seen first hand the continuing plight of the farmworkers, the families of the laborers of those who were massacred for wanting to earn more than 9 pesos a day. It’s unbelievable that this can happen in the piece of property owned by the President’s family.”
Lingat unfurled a banner reading “END IMPUNITY!” and chanted “No Justice! No Peace! Stop the Killings in the Philippines!”
Sibayan said that “BS Noynoy Aquino’s so-called “tuwid-na-daan” (straight path) led the Filipino people into an abyss of impunity, human rights abuses, rampant corruption, and bogus land reform.”
“Land reform implementation in Hacienda Luisita is a sham. Instead of (land) distribution, farmers’ huts are burned, food crops ready for harvesting are destroyed, and concrete walls with elevated sentry posts are at every corner of vast agricultural lands,” Sibayan also drew attention to the continuing reign of injustice and impunity in Hacienda Luisita. Human rights violations and harassments of farmers continue.
“A decade after the infamous Hacienda Luisita Massacre, none of the perpetrators including the President and his family, government and military officials linked to the killings, have been made accountable.”
Seven farmworkers died, scores sustained injuries from gunshot wounds and mauling, and more than a hundred were illegally arrested and detained by police in the violent dispersal of striking sugar workers in Luisita ten years ago.
Luisita farmers are preparing international solidarity activities in the weeks leading to the tenth year commemoration of the Hacienda Luisita massacre (HLMX) on November 16, 2014.