For Immediate Release
November 16, 2014
Reference: Justin Katigbak, Mass Campaign Officer, Portland Committee For Human Rights in the Philippines (PCHRP), email: firstname.lastname@example.org
10 Years After the Hacienda Luisita Massacre,
Portland Filipinos Continue to Demand Justice for the Victims and their Families
On the 10th year anniversary of the Hacienda Luisita Massacre, Portland Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (PCHRP) demands justice for the victims and families of the massacre. PCHRP also calls on B.S. Aquino to redistribute the Hacienda Luisita lands to its 6,000 rightful farmer beneficiaries.
10 years ago today, 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. 10 years later, the Hacienda Luisita Massacre remains unresolved and no investigation has been conducted nor has anyone been arrested for the murder of the farmworkers, all of whom were unarmed and within their legal right to wage a labor strike.
Furthermore, the Hacienda Luisita farmworkers continue to demand the land which should have been distributed to them a long time ago. Despite the Philippine Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of the farmers’ rights to the Hacienda Luisita, the Cojuangco family continues to deny the just distribution of lands. Thousands of farmworkers still struggle with landlessness, poverty, hunger, and impunity. B.S. Aquino and the Cojuangco clan continue to violently repress the farmers and peasants at Hacienda Luisita and purposely keep the Philippines in a semi-feudal society. He has failed to implement the Supreme Court decision in April 2012 ordering the distribution of the more than four thousand-hectare sugar estate and instead continues to target pro-people activists fighting for genuine land reform.
“President Aquino has deliberately prioritized the interest of his family over that of the very people he swore to protect and serve. It is a shame that a decade after the seven farmworkers lost their lives fighting for what is rightfully theirs, the massacre remains to be unresolved and the beneficiaries of the Hacienda Luisita remain waiting,” Rossella De Leon, PCHRP Chairperson stated. PCHRP strongly supports the workers of Hacienda Luisita in commemorating the bloody massacre and their continuous struggle to fight for justice and redistribution of their land. We condemn the Aquino government for the continuous injustice against the Hacienda Luisita farmworkers. Filipinos in Portland stand in solidarity with the farmworkers of Hacienda Luisita in their struggle for justice and genuine agrarian reform.
Justice for the Victims of the Hacienda Luisita Massacre!
B.S. Cojuanco-Aquino: Distribute HLI Lands to the Farmworkers!
Land is Life! Genuine Agrarian Reform Now!
B.S. Aquino – You’ve Got Blood On Your Hands!
Oust B.S. Aquino! Big Landlord President!