By NDFP International Information Office
“The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) condemns the latest shooting incident against Hacienda Luisita farmers,” declared NDFP Chief Negotiator Luis Jalandoni. “Justice for Hacienda Luisita farmers and workers is a basic issue of genuine land reform, which the NDFP fights for in the peace negotiations with the Benigno Aquino government,” Jalandoni added.
In late February, one hundred armed security guards, ten policemen and 15 soldiers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) fired shots at Hacienda Luisita farmers.
The farmers opposed the building of a wall on the land awarded to them by the Supreme Court decision of 22 November 2011. The security guards are hired by the Yuchengco-owned Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC), which is making a claim on this specific area being cultivated by the farmers.
“The fact that the armed guards of the Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) owned by Yuchengco were joined by the police and the AFP soldiers aggravates the harassment and threats being inflicted on the Hacienda Luisita farmers,” Jalandoni further stated.
“The Aquino government must be held responsible for putting the lives of the farmers and workers of Hacienda Luisita in grave danger. It must make sure that the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the AFP are not used by the Yuchengco-owned RCBC to attack the farmers. It must also take steps to file criminal charges against RCBC for ordering the armed attacks”
Jalandoni further stressed, “Instead of continuing to threaten the Luisita farmers and workers, and making a blatantly greedy claim for compensation of more than PhP 13 Billion, the Aquino-Cojuangco family must face up to its responsibility to uphold the rights of Hacienda Luisita farmers and workers to own the land they are tilling.”
“We reiterate our invitation to the Aquino government to return to the negotiating table where we can discuss and resolve the age-old land problem in the country.”