#SONA2015 | Hacienda Luisita Under Aquino

FACT SHEET ICONPuro Panloloko, Pandarahas at Pangangamkam (full of deception, violence and landgrabbing) – this is how Hacienda Luisita farmworkers under the Alyansa ng mga Manggagawang-Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita (AMBALA), the local affiliate of the national agriworkers federation Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) characterize the State of Hacienda Luisita under President BS Aquino. The president’s  Cojuangco-Aquino clan still controls the 6,453 hectare sugar estate.

Like his mother Corazon Cojuangco Aquino, President BS Aquino promised social justice and land reform in Hacienda Luisita as part of his electoral campaign. But Aquino’s actions speak differently. The Luisita Watch network was formed in 2014 to document government’s sham land distribution and the worsening human rights situation in Hacienda Luisita. Will these be mentioned in Aquino’s last State of the Nation Address on July 27?

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THE LANDMARK SUPREME COURT DECISION

After years of struggle, Hacienda Luisita farmers were favoured finally by the Supreme Court with its November 2011 landmark decision for total land distribution and revocation of the Stock Distribution Option (SDO) scheme, which was subsequently affirmed in a final and executory ruling on April 24, 2012.

This hard-earned victory of the farmers was met with active opposition and maneuvering from the Aquino-Cojuangco camp led by President Aquino himself. Only a few months into his presidency, in 2010, during the Supreme Court’s oral arguments, the Aquino-Cojuangcos pushed for a compromise deal, to make it appear that farmers still wanted the oppressive SDO scheme in place. Aquino only gave a token statement that he was divesting his shares in the estate, and did nothing to stop his relatives from coercing and deceiving the farmers.

President BS Aquino’s hyped “anti-corruption” crusade to have former Chief Justice Renato Corona impeached and convicted is now widely seen as Aquino’s “first step” to retain control of Hacienda Luisita. Corona was the principal proponent of the 2012 SC decision to distribute Hacienda Luisita. Aquino boasts of the Corona conviction as a major accomplishment of his “Daang Matuwid,” but the trial later appeared as an ugly act of reprisal involving millions of taxpayers’ money coursed through the illegal Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) purportedly used by Aquino to bribe Senator judges for an assured guilty verdict.

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SHAM LAND REFORM

The implementation of the landmark Supreme Court decision is marred with much violence, anomaly and controversy. AMBALA and UMA claim that land distribution in Hacienda Luisita is a sham for the following reasons:

  • Lot allocation through lottery drum (tambiolo) complemented reconcentration of land back to the landlords. Physical land distribution superseded by the illicit and rampant lease and purchase deals led by Aquino-Cojuangco dummies and other land speculators through disinformation, deception and coercion. Ex-LTO Chief Virginia Torres, a close Aquino ally, is one of the major “aryendadors” with hundreds of hectares of land from supposed beneficiaries.
  • The imposition of compulsory signing of promissory notes (Application to Purchase and Farmers Undertaking) to ensure amortization payments. Luisita farmers are clamoring for free land distribution, a just demand given the history of the estate.

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  • The inept facilitation of the audit of P1.33 billion in assets that HLI and Centenary Holdings acquired from the sale of agricultural land and the inaction on farm workers’ appeal for the revocation of a conversion order covering 500 hectares. A solar power public-private partnership (PPP) project is now in place between the Department of Energy and PetroGreen, a firm also owned by the Yuchengcos of RCBC, HLI’s successor-in-interest in the disputed 500-hectare property.
  • The deceit and coercion of beneficiaries through false statements and excessive use of armed state forces during the so-called distribution process.

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  • The exclusion of hundreds of hectares of agricultural land from distribution, thus causing confusion and dispute among beneficiaries, and dislocation, too. The exclusion of other lands for distribution, such as what Tarlac Development Corp. (Tadeco), Luisita Realty Corporation (LRC), Central Azucarera de Tarlac (CAT) and many other corporate avatars of the Cojuangco-Aquinos is grabbing at present even though the DAR, under its mandate, should subject other agricultural lands in the area to agrarian reform.
  • The purported sale of the sugar mill, Central Azucarera de Tarlac to businessman Martin Lorenzo in 2014 is seen as a push to further evade land distribution and scrutiny of the Aquino-Cojuangcos’ sullied assets. The Aquino-Cojuangcos, through Don Pedro Cojuangco’s son, Fernando, remain major stockholders of CAT and a new holding company, the CAT Resource and Assets Holdings, Inc (CRAHI). After widespread retrenchment of workers in the sugar mill “under new management,” Luisita residents fear that land use conversion and the unhampered entry of “development projects” will lead to dislocation of the farming community.

 10 YEARS, NO JUSTICE FOR VICTIMS OF THE HACIENDA LUISITA MASSACRE

The Hacienda Luisita massacre case filed before the Office of the Ombudsman, by more than 50 survivors and relatives in January 2005, was “murdered” twice under Aquino. President BS Aquino, a congressman and active administrator of the estate during the November 2004 massacre, is one of the respondents in the case. Aquino and other civilian respondents were immediately cleared of charges in July 2005.

The case against police and military respondents, however, was “silently” junked by the Ombudsman only a few months into Aquino’s presidency. The Ombudsman’s Military and Law Enforcement Offices (MOLEO) dismissed all charges against police and military respondents in December 2010, based solely on NBI reports and without any other effort to conduct a more thorough investigation. Copies of the resolutions did not reach most of the complainants and their lawyers. On August 4, 2014, survivors and relatives of the victims filed a motion to reopen the case. The motion was junked only a few months later in October 2014. A copy of the controversial NBI report, which explicitly states that there is cause to file charges against armed state officers on the scene, was only made public after the Ombudsman junked the appeal to reopen the case.

Instead of prosecution, military officials involved in the Hacienda Luisita massacre were given juicy promotions by BS Aquino. Recently retired AFP Chief, Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang, was one of the ground commanders during the violent dispersal, along with Gen. Ricardo Visaya who now holds the reins in the AFP Southern Luzon Command.

IMPUNITY IN HACIENDA LUISITA

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Rights violations in Hacienda Luisita peaked during the sham land distribution process from 2013  to 2014. Farmers filed hundreds of counter-charges before the DOJ against the Aquino-Cojuangcos and their minions in January, March and October 2014 but the DOJ has yet to act on any of the complaints until now.

Recent human rights violations in Hacienda Luisita were presented by the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) during the recently concluded International People’s Tribunal (IPT) held in Washington DC from July 16-19. President BS Aquino was found GUILTY of gross and systematic violations of human rights.

Violations (2010-2015) # Incident # Victims Details
Extra-judicial killing (EJK) 1 1 Dennis dela Cruz, AMBALA, killed October 31, 2013
Frustrated EJK 3 6 March 2012 (RCBC), 2 incidents in March 2014 (Brgy. Cutcut)
Torture / Mauling 9 30+
Illegal Arrest and Detention 9 28
Trumped-up Charges 22 189
Destruction of Crops/Property Bulldozing of crops / destruction of huts / looting of produce, farm tools & animals

2013 – October – December – Bgy Balete (260 hectares)

2014 – Jan;  Feb 8; Mar 27; June 25; August 5 – Bgys. Balete,Cutcut, Mapalacsiao, Asturias

Burning of huts – Feb 8, 2014 (BS Aquino’s birthday) – Bgy. Balete

Theft/ Violation of of Domicile
Arson
Threat, Harassment, Intimidation too many AMBALA leaders, members, whole communities (10 barangays) before 2012 SC decision & during militarized land distribution activities in 2013

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The state of farmworkers in Hacienda Luisita reflects the situation of the Philippine peasantry under Aquino. Landlessness and impunity is the reason why organized farmers reject another extension of the flawed Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) and call for the passage of the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB or House Bill 252).  Despite the odds, farmers in Hacienda Luisita strive to pursue their land cultivation campaign bungkalan.  For the farmers, Hacienda Luisita alone is one glaring and compelling argument for President Aquino’s ouster.

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Hacienda Luisita news in “Ang UMA” 2015 issue

“Ang UMA” is the official publication of the Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA Pilipinas – Federation of Agricultural Workers), one of the main convenors of the Luisita Watch network.

#HLMX Music Video Tribute to Hacienda Luisita Martyrs

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Tribute music videos of songs from 5 Year Plan (“Pagbawi”),  Goons N’ Guns (“Luisita’s Cry), and Gazera  (“Kung Puntod na ang Bukirin”) launched during the November 7 solidarity activity at UP, were screened at the Luisita Watch Kapihan held last Saturday, February 21, at the Taumbayan Cafe, Kamuning.
The videos, directed by Cinemalaya X Best Editor Gerone Centeno, follow decades of Hacienda Luisita’s history through the eyes of Luisa, a 10-year old peasant girl. Luisa is played by Angela Tubiera of Hacienda Luisita, the youngest “spokesperson” of the farmworkers’ land and justice campaign. The videos, produced by Luisita Watch and Molotov, may now be viewed on Youtube.
Pagbawi by 5 Year Plan

 

Luisita’s Cry by Goons N’ Guns

 

Kung Puntod na ang Bukirin by Gazera

 

HLMX Trilogy [2015]

Produced by Luisita Watch (https://luisitawatch.wordpress.com) and Molotov, these music videos of songs from 5 Year Plan (“Pagbawi”), Goons N’ Guns (“Luisita’s Cry), and Gazera (“Kung Puntod na ang Bukirin”) pay tribute to the martyrs of Hacienda Luisita.

Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac province is a 6,453-hectare sugar estate controlled for decades by the Cojuangco-Aquinos, one of the most powerful landlord families to ever hold state power in the Philippines.

In 2004, seven farmworkers were killed and hundreds of others were injured in the infamous Hacienda Luisita massacre. Political killings and gross human rights violations continue under the current Philippine President, Benigno Aquino III, a scion of the Cojuangco-Aquinos.

The videos, directed by Cinemalaya X Best Editor Gerone Centeno, follow decades of Hacienda Luisita’s history through the eyes of Luisa, a 10-year old peasant girl. Luisa is played by Angela Tubiera of Hacienda Luisita, the youngest “spokesperson” of the farmworkers’ land and justice campaign.

THE MARTYRS OF HACIENDA LUISITA

November 16, 2004 Hacienda Luisita Massacre —

Jhaivie Basilio / Jhune David / Juancho Sanchez / Jaime Fastidio / Adriano Caballero, Jr. / Jesus Laza / Jessie Valdez / and the nameless sakadas of Hacienda Luisita /

Hacienda Luisita Political Killings —

Marcelino Beltran (December 8, 2004) / Abelardo Ladera (March 3, 2005) / Father William Tadena (March 13, 2005) / Victor “Tatang Ben” Concepcion (March 17, 2005) / Florante Collantes (October 15, 2005) / Ricardo Ramos (October 25, 2005) / Tirso Cruz (March 17, 2006) / Bishop Alberto Ramento (October 3, 2006) / Dennis dela Cruz (November 1, 2013)

To the memory of Isidro “Edong” Batan (d.October 31, 2014)

PRODUCTION TEAM

Gerone Centeno / AJ Metrio / Paolo Lorenzo / Sinag De Jesus / Angelo Jamilano / El Lorenzo / Kerima Tariman / Ericson Acosta / Onin Tagaro / Kirk Sanchez / Owen Berico / Joanne Cesario / Robert Sarmiento / MC Sacay / Joyce Cesario / Francis Diaz /

CAST

Angela Tubiera (Luisa) / Michelle Smith (Luisa’s mother) / Jimmy (Luisa’s father) / Merto (farmer) / Gerone Centeno (despotic landlord) / Sinag de Jesus (goons) / Ronald (Jhaivie Basilio) / Paolo Lorenzo (farmworker) / mga kambing //

MUSIC

// “Pagbawi” by 5 Year Plan // Rosler Esturco (vocals) / Neil Ambion (guitar) / Edsa Manlapaz (bass) / Michael Beltran (drums) /

// “Luisita’s Cry” by Goons N’ Guns // Luisita’s Cry” original song by Pink Cow // Lanseta (vocals / BLKD (vocals) / Thomas (vocals) / Pitz (guitar) / Dolpho Mapagmahal (bass) / Bryan Dela Vega (horns) / Lon Caacbay (drums) /

// “Kung Puntod na ang Bukirin” by Gazera // based on the poem “Kung Puntod na ang Bukirin” by Axel Pinpin / original song by Karit – NNARA-Youth // Lanseta (vocals) / Gold Villar (vocals) / Jonathan Mangulabnan (guitar) / Jomar Mangulabnan (guitar) / Jharem Bituya (bass) / Pigo Caig (drums)

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Creative and logistical contributions from

The people of Hacienda Luisita —

Florida Sibayan / Mila and Lando Capit / Capit-Tubiera family / Mandigma family / Christopher Garcia / Rudy Corpuz / Renato Mendoza / Michael Garcia / Ofelia Ocampo / Ocampo family / Violeta Basillio / Sabel Garcia / Emily Ladera and Boy Facunla / Versola-Sibayan family / Ramos-Intal family / Fastidio family / Beth Cruz / Pastor Gabby Sanchez & family / Marietta Dumaual / Pineda family / Gerry and Dina Catalan / Batan family / SAKDAL and AMBALA members in Barangays Balete, Mapalacsiao, Cutcut, Bantog, Asturias, Pando & Motrico //

Additional footage —

“Sa Ngalan ng Tubo” (2004, Tudla / Mayday / Eiler) / Aklasan (2004, Sipat) / AMBALA-UMA / Kiri Dalena / Dexter Aserdano / Tudla / Youtube //

Location, props, costumes, equipment other technical support —

Antares Gomez Bartolome / Vencer Crisostomo / Silay Lumbera-Crisostomo / Prof. Bien Lumbera / Prof. Shayne Lumbera / Rose Bucud (Linangan/KMU) / Jun Resureccion (Mayday) / Sarah Jane Biton / Roland Tolentino / Elwin Zalamea / Jedd Dumaguina / Marco Silvano (Sinagbayan) / Nick Sangil (Tambol Bayan) / Marie Mercado / Kristine Razo Malagueno / Rowena Bayon / Sarah Maramag / Angge Santos / Tom Estrera III / KARAPATAN / Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) / Linangan / One Dash Zero Cinetools / Blue Room Studio / Redverb Studio / e.g.Yolk Productions / UP CMC / UP CMC Student Council / All-UP Workers Union //

Luisita Watch network & HLMX campaign participants —

Jes Aznar / Frances Abrigo / Buen Abrigo / Rai Cruz / Leeroy New / Ness Roque-Lumbres / Vlad Maro / Sofia Guillermo / Bomen Guillermo / Gelacio Guillermo / Alice Guillermo / Andres Crisostomo / Ilena Saturay / Roselle Pineda / Sarah Raymundo / Prof. Cynthia Zayas / Brian Barrios / Gary Rojas Santiago / Renato Reyes Jr. / Monique Wilson (One Billion Rising) / Fr. Jess Dumaual / Sister Patricia Fox / Rene Galang / Angeli Bayani / Justine Flores / BAYAN Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares / Teddy Casino / Monet & Chickoy Pura / Jess Santiago / TKNK / Pink Cow / Talahib / AMGL / KMP / KMU / Linangan / Anakpawis Partylist / Office of Anakpawis Rep. Fernando Hicap / AMIHAN / Sinagbayan / NNARA-Youth / Pamalakaya / RMP / TaBaKK / Ugatlahi / Project Bakawan / Musicians for Peace / Soundkraft Music Studio / Tambol Bayan / Sining Bulosan / Tudla / Selestine Arts / DLSU-CSB / HLPSN / Anakbayan / Iglesia Filipina Independiente / IFI-Tarlac / IFI – La Paz, Tarlac / PCPR / NCCP-UCCP / Redemptorist Seminarians / KARAPATAN / Hustisya / Desaparecidos / Selda / KABATAAN Partylist / Bayan Muna / GWP / Act Teachers Partylist / KM64 / SIPAT / Bulatlat.com / PinoyMedia Center / Pinoy Weekly / Kodao Productions / Concerned Artists of the Philippines / UP CONTEND / STAND-UP / Migrante-Intl / BAYAN / atbp! //

Alyansa ng mga Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita (AMBALA) – Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA)

Tribute to Fr. Greg Obejas, friend & comrade of Luisita farmworkers

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Hacienda Luisita farmers led by the Alyansa ng mga Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita (AMBALA) and the Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) mourn the passing last January 10 of Father Gregorio Obejas, OSM of the Promotion of Church People’s Response (PCPR). We feel profound grief with this untimely loss. Fr. Greg was one of the staunchest advocates for land and justice in Hacienda Luisita – he was a fearless activist against inequality and oppression.

Fr. Gregorio Obejas was Parish Priest of the St. Joseph the Worker parish at the time of his passing. He was one of the convenors of the Luisita Peasants and People’s Alliance (LUPPA), a broad network of advocates from the church, academe, and other sectoral groups established in 2010 to compel the Aquino administration and the Supreme Court to act on the Hacienda Luisita land case.

Fr. Greg gave his full support to the Luisita farmers’ bungkalan or land cultivation campaign. He gave spiritual guidance to toiling farmworkers who sought to uplift their lives and livelihood by making the land productive with palay, vegetables and crops other than sugarcane. He was one with farmworkers in tilling the soil when they occupied idle lands in Barangay Balete in 2011. As a defender of human rights, Fr. Greg denounced subsequent violent attacks, threats and intimidating military presence against the tillers. He consistently fought for justice for victims of the 2004 Hacienda Luisita massacre and other killings and rights violations in Luisita.

With the recent spate of violent incidents related to the implementation of sham land reform in Luisita – bulldozing of crops, burning of homes, eviction, assault, and illegal arrest of farmers – Fr. Greg continued to work closely with AMBALA and UMA and became active with the Luisita Watch network since its launching in February last year. Luisita Watch was created to keep the public informed of the real situation in Hacienda Luisita. Fr. Greg Obejas was also concelebrant with Bishop Deogracias Iniguez in the commemorative mass in Quiapo Church to mark the 10th year of the Hacienda Luisita massacre (#HLMX) last November.

We pay tribute to Fr. Greg as we cherish his contributions to the cause of social justice and peace. His courage and selflessness will continue to serve as an inspiration in our continuing fight for land and justice.

-Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura

January 12, 2015

Luisita is the face of every known form of human rights violation in the country

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statementDecades of oppression and exploitation. Ten years of patent injustice for the victims of the Hacienda Luisita massacre.

Under the current BS Aquino regime, the Luisita massacre case was denied due process twice. All the perpetrators were cleared of charges in 2010 and the victims’ plea to reopen investigation was denied this year. Meanwhile, grave human rights violations against farmworkers continue.

Thousands of farmers have now been displaced and deprived of livelihood due to the Aquino regime’s implementation of fake land distribution. This chaotic and bogus land reform scheme complemented the Cojuangco-Aquino landlord clan’s design of deception and violent land grabbing against its so-called “farmworker-beneficiaries.” Hacienda Luisita is still under the control of landlords thanks in part to the predatory maneuvers of the yellow financier-agents of the Cojuangco-Aquinos. More than a thousand hectares of agricultural land are now being secured by gun-toting goons and endless rows of concrete and barbed wire fences while the actual tillers have already been evicted. From 2013 to 2014, several incidents of violence perpetrated by private security personnel and goons, with the active assistance of the police and the military, and with the complicity of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), have resulted in the bulldozing of crops, burning of huts, mauling, illegal arrest and detention of farmers, frustrated killings, and the murder of another Luisita activist.

Luisita is the face of every known form of human rights violation in the country.

Luisita over the years has been about horrific stories of massacre, extra-judicial killing, enforced disappearance, torture, sexual abuse, violence against women and children, violation of domicile, forced eviction, threat, harassment, intimidation, unlawful arrest and detention. Periodic reports from human rights group Karapatan are riddled with cases from Hacienda Luisita, consistently filling up practically every violation category in its numerous tables and factsheets.

These grave atrocities are being committed to quell decades-old agrarian unrest in this dispute-ridden sugar estate. Human rights violations are happening in Hacienda Luisita as we speak. Each of the ten Luisita barangays are still terrorized with military detachments and the constant presence of armed state security forces in public spaces such as schools, barangay halls and basketball courts.

Especially for the victims and their kin, Luisita’s fate has been that of impunity. Luisita farmers and leaders of the Alyansa ng Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita (AMBALA) still face various criminal charges fabricated by police and the Cojuangco-Aquino family before local courts in Tarlac – while the hundreds of complaints filed by farmers against perpetrators of current rights violations are gathering dust, deliberately ignored by the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Farmers have also exposed the current BS Aquino regime to have committed plunder and bribery through the illegal Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) only for the President’s kin to maintain control of Hacienda Luisita.

Despite all odds posed by the Cojuangco-Aquino landlord clan and the corrupt BS Aquino regime, Luisita farmers continue to cry for justice and sow seeds of change. Luisita is also the face of defiance.

Today, International Human Rights Day, we pay tribute to Luisita’s martyrs and vow to keep the flames of their just struggle burning. Luisita Watch will continue to work tirelessly with its broad network of agrarian reform and human rights advocates – students, educators and the academe, church leaders and the religious sector, artists, cultural workers, professionals and various international groups – to echo the farmers’ demand for genuine land reform and social justice.

End Impunity! Land and justice for Hacienda Luisita farmers now!

Remembering Marcelino “Ka Marcing” Beltran

Ten years ago today, soldiers killed Marcelino “Ka Marcing” Beltran, Tarlac peasant leader and Hacienda Luisita massacre witness. Read more on the extrajudicial killing of Ka Marcing from the original Bulatlat.com story here.

Below is an excerpt from the 2013 Hacienda Luisita fact-finding report, “For Land and Justice” (click to download PDF)

Marcelino Beltran

Marcelino Beltran: Armyman turned Peasant Leader

On the night of December 8, 2004, Marcelino Beltran was brutally murdered in his home in San Sotero, Sta. Ignacia, Tarlac.

Beltran, 53, was chairperson of the AMT (Tarlac Peasant Alliance). He was a retired sergeant in the Philippine military before joining farmers’ groups.

Beltran’s son Mark, his wife, Simeona, and other children saw Beltran sprawled on the ground, bloodied but still breathing, 15 meters from the house. Bleeding in the arms of his wife, Beltran was able to utter his final words in the Ilokano dialect: “Suldado daggidyay nagpaltog” (Soldiers shot me).

Family members recount that as they were on board a tricycle to bring Beltran to the Camiling District Hospital some kilometers away, armed men in fatigue uniform accosted them and asked whether the patient they were carrying was Beltran. Fearing for their safety, they answered “no.” Those who had shot Beltran left nothing to chance.

Beltran died two hours after the shooting and never even reached the hospital. Beltran was about to testify regarding bullet trajectories in scheduled hearings on the Hacienda Luisita Massacre in Congress and the Senate. He was also preparing to attend the Human Rights March two days later on December 10, his birthday.

WATCH: #HLMX newsreels

News reports on the November 15-16 protest caravan for the tenth year commemoration of the Hacienda Luisita massacre (HLMX) from Mendiola, Manila to the Gate 1 of the Central Azucarera de Tarlac sugar mill, the site of the massacre a decade ago.

http://news5.com.ph/embed.aspx?g=5E1BAD5F6C6249B