Luisita Magsasaka


How a workers’ strike became the Luisita Massacre

How a workers’ strike became the Luisita Massacre

By STEPHANIE DYCHIU

01/26/2010 | 05:24 PM

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Third of five parts on the history of Hacienda Luisita, a burning issue facing frontrunner Sen. Noynoy Aquino’s campaign for the presidency. Part four is here.

“It is an illegal strike, no strike vote was called,” then-Tarlac Congressman Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III said in a speech at the House of Representatives to defend the dispersal of strikers at his family’s plantation, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported on November 17, 2004.

The day before, the dispersal at Hacienda Luisita left at least seven people dead and 121 injured, 32 from gunshot wounds. In his speech, Aquino condemned the violence but defended the dispersal, saying the police and soldiers were “subjected to sniper fire coming from an adjacent barangay.”

Luisita, ‘the symbol of the failure of EDSA’

Five days later, Aquino was flogged by Inquirer columnist Conrado De Quiros.

“At the very most, workers have a right to strike. One would imagine congressmen would know that,” De Quiros wrote in his November 22, 2004 column. “A strike is neither illegal nor immoral, it is sanctioned by the Constitution and enshrined in the tradition of the workers’ movement. Only Lucio Tan and now Ninoy’s namesake think it is not.”

De Quiros further wrote: “Noynoy Aquino says leftists goaded the workers . . . to strike. Well, so what? . . . They could not have succeeded if the workers were not ripe for the goading . . . If leftists had not goaded workers, farmers, students, and other sectors to mount national strikes, or ‘welgang bayan’, during Martial Law, the Aquinos would not be there.”

De Quiros also wrote: “The life of Ninoy is not more important than the lives of the workers who died in the blaze of gunfire . . . Hacienda Luisita will always be the symbol of the failure of EDSA to move the country from tyranny to democracy . . . As in the days of the feudal manor, serfs are owned by their landlords body and soul. They can be told to do anything, including to agree to ‘stock option’.”

Finally: “Ninoy Aquino might have been talking of today when he said: ‘Here is a land consecrated to democracy but run by an entrenched plutocracy’. Here is a land of privilege and rank—a republic dedicated to equality but mired in an archaic system of caste’.”

“If that ain’t broke, what is?” De Quiros concluded.

Lord of the Rings, Luke Skywalker, Noynoy

Five years later, De Quiros was handpicked by the Aquinos to speak at their mother Cory’s funeral.

Exactly one week later, (August 10, 2009), his column carried the headline “Noynoy for president”.

“Noynoy running for president will deliver us back to . . . the time or place of the great fight between Good and Evil,” De Quiros proclaimed. “Between Cory and Marcos, between Obama and Bush, between the Fellowship of the Ring and the Eye of Mordor, between Luke Skywalker and the Evil Empire. Use the Force, Noy.”

Exactly 40 days after his mother’s burial, Aquino “used the Force”and announced he was running for President.

Double strike

Part Three of this special report begins in November 2004, the month of the Luisita massacre.

The tension began when management retrenched 327 farm workers, including union officers.

On November 6, 2004, the union of the farm workers (United Luisita Workers Union or ULWU) launched a picket and blocked Gate 1 of the sugar mill.


Part 1: Hacienda Luisita’s past haunts Noynoy’s future
The issues surrounding Hacienda Luisita are being seen as the first real test of character of presidential hopeful Noynoy Cojuangco Aquino, whose family has owned the land since 1958. Our research shows that the problem began when government lenders obliged the Cojuangcos to distribute the land to small farmers by 1967, a deadline that came and went.

Part 2: Cory’s land reform legacy to test Noynoy’s political will
There is a haunting resemblance between Senator Aquino’s “Hindi Ka Nag-Iisa” music video and a real-life torchlit march of Hacienda Luisita’s workers days before the November 16, 2004 massacre. What could be worth all the blood that has been spilled?


They were joined by the union of the sugar mill workers (Central Azucarera de Tarlac Labor Union or CATLU), who were in a deadlock in their own wage negotiations. The sugar mill workers blocked Gate 2 of the sugar mill.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) were called in, but were unable to disperse the strikers with tear gas, truncheons, and water cannons.

Almost all 5,000 members of ULWU and 700 members of CATLU joined the November 6 strike, while 80 CATLU members chose to continue working, according to a statement delivered under oath by Dr. Carol Pagaduan-Araullo of the Health Alliance for Democracy at the February 3, 2005 Senate hearing on the Luisita massacre.

Araullo’s group conducted their own medical examination and investigation because of fears of a government whitewash. (Araullo is also the chairperson of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan or BAYAN.)


Was it legal for the police to intervene in the strike?

The strike of the farm workers’ union (United Luisita Workers’ Union or ULWU) on November 6, 2004 at Gate 1 of the sugar mill was not covered by the assumption of jurisdiction of the Labor secretary. The case was with the National Labor Relations Commission, according to the statement of Dr. Carol Pagaduan-Araullo of the Health Alliance for Democracy at the February 3, 2005 Senate hearing on the Luisita massacre. Continue reading…

Did Gloria help the Aquinos?

On November 10, 2004, four days after the strike started, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) declared an Assumption of Jurisdiction. Labor Secretary Patricia Sto. Tomas announced that quelling the strike was a matter of national interest because Luisita was one of the country’s major sugar producers. The Assumption of Jurisdiction legally cleared the way to use government troops to stop the strike. The picketers were ordered to vacate within five days, or else be removed by force.

Under normal conditions, the Labor Code protects the right of workers—even those who have been retrenched—to demonstrate against their employers. Police are not allowed to break up non-violent pickets, and the military cannot be used like a security agency to solve the problems of private businessmen.

The Assumption of Jurisdiction, however, is like a declaration of Martial Law in a labor dispute. It strips workers of their right to demonstrate, and authorizes the use of law enforcement agencies. The Assumption of Jurisdiction is allowed by the Labor Code only if a strike jeopardizes national interest.

The strikers in Luisita grumbled that management was able to get the DOLE to declare an Assumption of Jurisdiction because it had a direct line to Malacañang through former President Cory Cojuangco Aquino, whose children Kris and Noynoy supported President Gloria Arroyo in the presidential elections just six months before (May 2004). The Aquinos and their followers also helped put Arroyo in power after ousting President Joseph Estrada in 2001.


Was Luisita’s sugar mill indispensable to the national interest?

Labor Secretary Patricia Sto. Tomas declared an Assumption of Jurisdiction over the Luisita dispute on November 10, 2004. Sto. Tomas said quelling the strike was a matter of national interest because Luisita was one of the country’s major sugar producers. This paved the way for sending government troops to stop the strike. Continue reading…

The strikers stayed put, determined to make management come out and negotiate.

EDSA meets Mendiola

To protect themselves from the forthcoming forcible removal, the workers called on the people in the barrios around Luisita to form a human barrier at the picket line, says Lito Bais, current acting president of ULWU. In an eerie EDSA-meets-Mendiola spectacle, the villagers came, including priests, barangay officials, and children whose families sympathized with the workers. Concerned groups from out of town also sent contingents to help protect the strikers.

On November 15, 2004, the PNP returned as promised with reinforcements. According to Araullo’s report to the Senate, around 400 policemen tried to disperse about 4,000 protesters. CATLU president Ric Ramos was hit and collapsed from a large head wound, but the police were still unable to break the picket.

Can retrenched union officers still represent the union under the Labor Code?


Article 212, Paragraph F of the Labor Code says that the definition of “Employee” includes “any individual whose work has ceased as a result of or in connection with any current labor dispute or because of any unfair labor practice if he has not obtained any other substantially equivalent and regular employment”.

Based on this provision, lawyers of the farm workers argued that management should still have recognized the retrenched union officers because they were still employees of the company under the law, since their retrenchment was still on appeal and they had not yet received separation pay. As employees, the lawyers said, the union officers had a right to self-organization and to fulfill their roles as leaders of the union.

The trip to the Cojuangco house

Sometime in the afternoon of November 15, according to Bais, the union leaders were told to go to the house of Jose “Peping” Cojuangco, Jr. in Makati to talk. The negotiations were to be mediated by party-list congressman Satur Ocampo. Ocampo had gone to Luisita along with fellow Bayan Muna party-list congressman Teddy Casiño to aribitrate with the police.

The next morning, November 16, 2004, the union officers left Tarlac for Makati. “Kinabahan na ang mga opisyales namin, pagdating nila sa Makati, na parang may mangyayari dito (Our union officers got worried as soon as they reached Makati. They had a feeling something was going to happen here),” says Bais, who was not yet acting president of ULWU at that time, and had stayed behind. “Parang inalis lang sila dito (It was like they were just lured away from here).”

At the Cojuangco house in Makati, the CATLU officers were told negotiations could only happen if the strike was stopped first. The ULWU officers were not allowed in because they were considered retrenched and no longer authorized to negotiate for the farm workers.

While the union officers were in Makati, the military rolled into Luisita. The union officers now believe the meeting in Makati was just a ruse to lure them away so the military could move into the hacienda.

2 tanks, 700 police, 17 trucks of soldiers

When the union officers returned to the picket line around 3:00 pm after their fruitless trip to Makati, the place looked like a war was about to begin. Near Gate 1 of the sugar mill were “700 policemen, 17 truckloads of soldiers in full battle gear, 2 tanks equipped with heavy weapons, a payloader, 4 fire trucks with water cannons, and snipers positioned in at least 5 strategic places”, according to Araullo’s report to the Senate.

One of the tanks and the payloader rammed through the sugar mill gate that management had previously locked. The protesters were pelted with tear gas and sprayed with water spiked with chemicals from the fire trucks. They fought back by burying the tear gas canisters in soil, and flinging rocks at the fire trucks and tanks using slingshots. Eventually, the tear gas and fire hoses ran out.

“Nagbi-biba na ang mga manggagawang-bukid (The farm workers were cheering their victory),” says Bais. The strikers surged through the gate, waving sticks and throwing rocks at the tank.

Then, gunfire erupted.

1,000 rounds of ammunition used

The first spray of bullets lasted for almost a full minute, as men, women, and children ran for their lives. This was followed by a series of rapid spurts. According to Araullo’s statement, the presidents of the two unions narrowly missed being shot by snipers while running to get behind some sugarcane trucks. Other protesters were beaten and dragged into army trucks and placed under arrest, regardless of gender or age.

Doctors who later autopsied the dead and examined the wounded said the victims were running, crouching, or lying down when they were shot. At the December 1, 2004 Senate hearing on the massacre, videos of the bloody dispersal caught by the media were shown. It was revealed that an astounding 1,000 rounds of ammunition were used by the military and police during the shooting.

Soldiers shut down hospital

Right before the assault on the picket line started, there were unusual movements at the Cojuangco-owned St. Martin de Porres Hospital near the sugar mill, Araullo told the Senate. Existing patients were moved out, and the Army and PNP moved in. At 8:00 pm, just hours after the massacre, the doctors, nurses, and staff of the hospital were told to go home by the police and military, who then took over until the next day. Corpses from the shooting were still in the hospital. The police and military later claimed three corpses tested positive for gunpowder. But no next of kin had given permission or were present during the paraffin tests.

A deliberate attack

The events at the hospital, coupled with the volume of fire, the character of the injuries, and the positions of the victims, Araullo told the Senate, belied the claim that the shooting was done as a defensive move, and indicated that there was “collusion and premeditation between management and the AFP/PNP” to deliberately attack and break up the picket.

When the body count was drawn up, there were seven dead and at least 121 injured. Of the 121 injured, 32 suffered gunshot wounds, 11 were children or in their teens, and four were over sixty years old.


Who were the 7 who died in the Luisita Massacre?

Jhaivie was the youngest of the victims who died. He worked part-time at Central Azucarera de Tarlac, cleaning sugarcane every Monday, to earn money after he stopped going to college when his father died six months before the massacre. His mother said Jhaivie was a homebody, but he went to support the strike because almost all the children in his barangay were children of farm workers in Hacienda Luisita, and he understood what they were fighting for. Continue reading…

Noynoy defends dispersal

On November 17, 2004, the day after the massacre, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported: “At the House of Representatives, Deputy Speaker Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino III (LP, Tarlac) , only son of the former President, defended the dispersal of the protesters … Aquino said that elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police who dispersed the workers were ‘subjected to sniper fire coming from an adjacent barangay’… Aquino noted that 400 of the 736 workers in question had decided to return to work.”

In the same report, Aquino’s uncle, former Tarlac Rep. Jose “Peping” Cojuangco, Jr., said he received a copy of a press statement from ULWU saying it was not the group behind the picket. Ronaldo Alcantara of ULWU said in the statement that a small group of retrenched workers led by Rene Galang, a former official of ULWU, and Ric Ramos, president of CATLU, were behind the incidents at the hacienda.

The next day, November 18, 2004, the Philippine Star reported: “Tarlac Rep. Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino III said yesterday there was strong evidence that the clash was triggered by gunfire coming from the ranks of the strikers. He said when the police tried to break the barricade using an armored personnel carrier, they were fired upon by strikers. He cited there were at least eight bullet marks on the APC. Aquino also urged his militant colleagues in Congress against conducting fact-finding missions at the Hacienda, which he said could further ‘inflame the situation.’ Aquino earlier claimed that outsiders instigated the rioting.”

PNP report echoes Noynoy defense

Months later, the PNP submitted its own report to the Senate dated January 24, 2005. The PNP’s account was similar to the statements Aquino gave right after the massacre.


Summary of the PNP’s final report on the Luisita massacre

The final report of the Philippine National Police (PNP) on the November 16, 2004 Luisita massacre was submitted on January 24, 2005. It cleared the PNP of blame, and reported that:

> The order to disperse the strikers was made only after the police saw that negotiations between the Department of Labor’s sheriff and the strike leaders had failed.

> The PNP observed maximum tolerance and were simply helping the sheriff implement a return-to-work order.

> The “initial burst of gunfire, single shots in succession, came from the ranks of the striking workers after they crossed the gate and invaded the CAT (Central Azucarera de Tarlac) compound”.

> Evidence gathered confirmed the presence and participation of the New People’s Army (NPA), but “the evidence will not suffice for their criminal prosecution”.

> The resistance put up by the strikers resulted in the death of seven strikers and wounding of 36 others.

> 100 policemen and soldiers were injured.

> 111 civilians were arrested and assorted guns and several bolos and knives were recovered from the scene.

> The violence was orchestrated by individuals who were not members of the striking unions, and firearms and explosives were used to generate a more violent reaction from the government forces.

>The slain workers were not residents of Tarlac or employees of Hacienda Luisita.

Read “Who were the 7 who died in the Luisita massacre?”

The PNP’s report was debunked point-by-point by the workers and the party-list group BAYAN, which had conducted its own fact-finding investigation.

(Manila Times, December 8, 2005)

In addition, the report said the PNP only went to Luisita on November 16, 2004 to assist the DOLE in implementing a return-to-work order. Maximum tolerance was observed, and the order to disperse was made only after the police saw that negotiations with the strike leaders had failed. Evidence gathered, according to the report, “confirms the presence and participation of the NPA (New People’s Army) in the strike.” The report also said 100 policemen and soldiers were injured.

Noynoy on the Luisita massacre



“It is an illegal strike. No strike vote was called.”
(Philippine Daily Inquirer, November 17, 2004)

“[The military and the police who dispersed the workers were] subjected to sniper fire coming from an adjacent barangay.”
(Philippine Daily Inquirer, November 17, 2004)

The clash was triggered by gunfire coming from the ranks of the strikers.
(Philippine Star, November 18, 2004)

When police tried to break the barricade using an armored personnel carrier (APC), they were fired upon by the strikers. There were at least 8 bullet marks on the APC.
(Philippine Star, November 18, 2004)

Outsiders instigated the rioting. Among those injured were sympathizers who came from as far as the Visayas.
(Philippine Star, November 18, 2004)

The workers’ defense

The Department of Labor declared an Assumption of Jurisdiction to quash the workers’ right to strike. The government issued this radical order because the Aquinos had a direct line to Malacañang (Noynoy and Kris Aquino supported President Gloria Arroyo in the 2004 elections).

The sniper fire came from plainclothes men inside the sugar mill compound, which only Luisita management and the military/police could access until the military’s own tank rammed the sugar mill gate open shortly before firing started.

If the strikers started the shooting, why were there no casualties among the military/police, but seven killed and 32 wounded by gunshots among the strikers?

Why would the strikers fire bullets into an APC, which is resistant to bullets, but not shoot any of the 700 military/police around? The bullets on the APC could have been planted by the military/police.

The injured who came from the Visayas were sacadas (seasonal sugarcane cutters) from Negros who were hired by the Cojuangcos, but sympathized with the strikers.

TEDDY BENIGNO’S TAKE

The late journalist Teodoro “Teddy” Benigno was a long-time friend of Ninoy and Cory Aquino. He served as Cory Aquino’s Press Secretary from 1986 to 1989. On November 19, 2004, Teddy Benigno wrote about the Luisita massacre in his column in the Philippine Star:

“I would have wished that Ninoy’s son, Rep. Benigno (Noynoy) Aquino and brother-in-law Jose (Peping) Cojuangco just kept quiet. As it was they sort of blamed the dispersal and massacre on trouble-making outsiders—agents provocateurs—who had nothing to do with Luisita. Noynoy, you’re not Ninoy and you should have kept to yourself. Ditto for Peping. Those were self-serving statements and you knew it.”

Noynoy and PNP statements refuted

The statements of Aquino and the PNP were refuted by the strikers and the leftist political alliance BAYAN, which had conducted its own fact-finding mission.

According to them, it was impossible for the sniper fire to have come from the ranks of the strikers because the shots emanated from inside the sugar mill compound, which only management, the military, and the police had access to until the gate that management had locked was rammed open by the military’s tank right before the firing started.

Moreover, they said, it was highly unlikely that the shooting started from the strikers’ side because there were no casualties among the military and police, while there were 7 killed and 32 wounded by gunshots among the strikers.

As for the bullets on the APC mentioned by Aquino, they said it did not make sense for the strikers to fire at a tank, which is bulletproof, but not shoot any of the 700 soldiers and policemen around. The bullets could have been planted.

The group also said no negotiations with strike leaders could have taken place on the afternoon of November 16, 2004, as the PNP claimed, because the union officers had barely arrived from the Cojuangco house in Makati when dispersal operations escalated. In their sworn statements, the police officers in charge of the dispersal could not even give the names of the strike leaders they said they negotiated with before launching the assault.

Misleading the media

Furthermore, while the PNP linked the NPA to the strike, the PNP also said in their report that “evidence gathered against alleged members of the NPA will not suffice for their criminal prosecution”, in effect negating their own claim.

Meanwhile, Ronaldo Alcantara, the officer of ULWU who denied ULWU was behind the strike in the Inquirer report, was a lower-level former officer of the union who was used to mislead the media, according to current ULWU acting president Lito Bais. The president of ULWU registered at the Bureau of Labor Relations at the time of the strike was Rene Galang. Bais says management encouraged splinter factions in the union led by persons under their control.

The PNP’s report did not say anything about the takeover of St. Martin de Porres Hospital that happened just before the dispersal was launched.

The wake at the sugar mill

Days after the massacre, five out of the seven dead bodies were brought by the farm workers and their sympathizers to the picket line near the gate of the sugar mill.

How were they able to go near the gate when the military was still there standing guard? “Sabi namin, siguro naman, patay na ang dala natin, igagalang naman nila. Sila ang pumatay, e (We just said, maybe, since the people we were carrying were already dead, they would respect that. After all, they were the ones who killed them),” says Bais.

The procession was led by a councilor from Tarlac City named Abel Ladera, who grew up in one of the barangays inside Hacienda Luisita. He became an engineer, and once worked inside the sugar mill. The workers relied on the presence of Ladera, an elected official, and some media men to keep management and the military at bay. As the coffins were being lowered and the barbed wire removed, the soldiers went inside the sugar mill so the mourners could prepare for the wake.

Little did Ladera know that his sympathetic involvement with the strikers would put him in mortal danger.

Union’s office destroyed

After the massacre victims’ coffins were brought to the picket line, Bais says the union’s office was destroyed by soldiers. “Nung balikan namin ang opisina namin, wala na lahat. Ultimo ang computer na gamit namin, giba-giba na. Yung mga file, lahat, wala na kaming inabutan. (When we went back to our office, everything was gone. Even the computer we were using was totally destroyed. Our files, everything, we were not able to save anything).” The collection of pictures of the union’s past presidents since the workers’ struggle began was also destroyed, he adds.

Hundreds of soldiers moved into Luisita’s different barangays. To justify the presence of the military, officials of the Northern Luzon Command (NOLCOM) presented a report to the media saying the workers’ strike at Hacienda Luisita was the “handiwork of the CPP-NPA (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army) and a culmination of long months of instigation and propaganda work to get the workers to rise up in arms against the Cojuangcos.”

Asked for comment on this story, Sen. Noynoy Aquino’s spokesman Edwin Lacierda said, “Noynoy regrets the massacre but the mass action was infiltrated. It was started by infiltrators.”

After conducting hearings about the massacre and recording the testimonies of witnesses, the Senate Committee on Labor and Employment never issued a formal report.

TO BE CONTINUED

Hacienda Luisita and the Aquinos’ rift with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo

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DISCLAIMER: All Emails to the Editor that are chosen for publication may be edited for brevity and conciseness. The views expressed in this feedback section do not necessarily reflect the views of GMANews.TV, Mediamerge, or of GMA Network.

Thank you for this detailed report.

I haven’t chosen any Presidential candidate for now. Your report is helping me in choosing the next leader of the land. I would appreciate it more if you could have a documentary that will be shown in one of your top and best news and current affairs program. This might help the Filipino people examine the darker side of Ninoy. I hope you could also feature other Presidentiables.

I always share this report to my friends here in Davao and they liked it so much not because they hate Ninoy but because they see the truth and substance in your reporting. God bless you!

Anonymous
Davao

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Cory’s land reform legacy to test Noynoy’s political will

By STEPHANIE DYCHIU
source: http://www.gmanews.tv/story/182195/corys-land-reform-legacy-to-test-noynoys-political-will

This week the country commemorates the tragic shooting of protesting farmers on January 22, 1987, an incident better known as the Mendiola massacre. Along with the Hacienda Luisita massacre of November 16, 2004, these two incidents represent the darker side of the Aquino legacy.

The struggle between farmers and landowners of Hacienda Luisita is now being seen as the first real test of character of presidential candidate Noynoy Cojuangco Aquino, whose family has owned the land since 1958. Our research shows that the problem began when government lenders obliged the Cojuangcos to distribute the land to small farmers by1967, a deadline that came and went. Pressure for land reform on Luisita since then reached a bloody head in 2004 when seven protesters were killed near the gate of the sugar mill in what is now known as the Luisita massacre. This is the story of the hacienda and its farmers, an issue that is likely to haunt Aquino as he travels the campaign trail for the May 2010 elections. Part one is here.

Second of a series

“Hindi ka nag-iisa (You are not alone),” sing the ghosts of Luisita to Senator Noynoy Aquino. They won’t even leave his music video alone.

Noynoy Aquino’s Campaign Music Video

A little-known fact about the Hacienda Luisita controversy is the haunting resemblance of Senator Aquino’s “Hindi Ka Nag-Iisa” music video to a real-life, torch-lit march of Luisita’s workers amid the sugarcane fields at night days before the November 16, 2004 massacre.

Sa Ngalan ng Tubo documentary about Hacienda Luisita (Torch scenes from 1:17 – 1:29)




A better known fact, but in danger of being forgotten, is the series of salvagings that took place after the massacre to eliminate those who supported the workers’ cause, or had evidence supporting their case. Among those killed were one Senate witness, two Aglipayan priests, a union president, a city councilor, and two peasant group leaders.

What could be worth all the blood that has been spilled? And why is everyone looking at Senator Aquino?

The answer lies in another little-known fact—a contentious 30-year stock distribution scheme that was implemented in lieu of land distribution on his family’s plantation that seriously complicates the campaign theme “good vs. evil.”

The dark side of the Aquino legacy

Part Two of this series on Hacienda Luisita begins in 1989, the year the Stock Distribution Option (SDO) was introduced at the hacienda after the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) took effect in 1988.


Senator Noynoy Aquino’s mother, President Cory Cojuangco Aquino, was accused of including the SDO in her outline for CARP (Presidential Proclamation 131 and Executive Order No. 229, July 22, 1987) so her family could once again avoid distributing Hacienda Luisita to farmers.


Hacienda Luisita’s past haunts Noynoy’s future
See Part One for the history of the farmers’ claim in Hacienda Luisita.


(The SDO was a clause in CARP that allowed landowners to give farmers shares of stock in a corporation instead of land. It was abolished in the updated land reform law CARPER, or CARP with Extensions and Revisions, that was passed in August 2009.)

LAND ASSETS UNDERVALUED


The excluded areas caused the undervaluation of the farm workers’ share in HLI, explained Eduardo Tadem, member of the technical working group of the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC), in an October 20, 1989 report of the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

(In the same report, Tadem said the PARC, which was chaired by President Cory Aquino, had ignored a study of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) showing Luisita’s farm workers could earn more with 0.78 hectares of land instead of stocks.)

The remaining 4,915.75 hectares that were submitted to CARP were “independently appraised by Asian Appraisal and the Securities and Exchange Commission” at P40,000 per hectare, according to an August 30, 1989 article in the Manila Bulletin written by the Aquino administration’s Solicitor General, Frank Chavez, to defend Luisita’s SDO.

The valuation of P40,000 per hectare represents an enormous difference from the valuation of about P500,000 per hectare and P219,000 per hectare respectively for the excluded 120.9 hectares of residential land and 265.7 hectares of land improvements that were retained by the Cojuangcos.

The SDO gravely damaged the potential of land reform to deliver social justice to scores of rural poor, whose votes had ironically been courted by President Aquino in 1986 by promising land reform.

Aquino’s abrogation left such a deep scar that even the New York Times, in its announcement of her passing on August 1, 2009, did not let it slip: “Born into one of the country’s wealthy land-owning families, the Cojuangcos of Tarlac, Mrs. Aquino did not lead the social revolution that some had hoped for. She failed to institute effective land reform or to address the country’s fundamental structural ailment, the oligarchic control of power and politics.”

Cojuangcos give stocks instead of land

In 1989, the Cojuangcos justified Luisita’s SDO by saying it was impractical to divide the hacienda’s 4,915.75 hectares of land among 6,296 farm workers, as this would result in less than one hectare each (0.78). A study by the private group Center for Research & Communication (now University of Asia & the Pacific) was cited to support this claim.

The claim was contradicted by a study of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), which stated that the farm workers could still earn more with 0.78 hectares of land each than stocks. But the NEDA study was ignored by the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC), according to Eduardo Tadem, a member of the technical working group of PARC who spoke out in an October 20, 1989 report of the Philippine Daily Inquirer. The PARC was chaired by President Cory Aquino.

In 2005, after its investigation into the Luisita massacre, the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) also debunked the claim that economies of scale justified Luisita’s SDO. The DAR said the issue of economies of scale could have been addressed under Section 29 of CARP, which states that workers’ cooperatives should be created in cases where dividing land was not feasible.

In the column of Domini Torrevillas in the Philippine Star last Jan. 19, however, Noynoy declared: “Neither I nor the farmers are satisfied with the government’s land reform program. We have seen in Hacienda Luisita that this does not work. Luisita, which was then called Tabacalera Land, used to be 12,000 hectares. The company voluntarily gave half or 6,000 hectares for the Land Tenure Act. That is why Luisita today is only an approximate 5,500 hectares. However, the people who were provided land ended up losing or selling their property. Most of them returned to their lives as Luisita workers.

“This shows that mere land distribution is not beneficial to farmers. We cannot just transfer land to a farmer and say, ‘I am done with you.’ We need to teach him until he becomes a manager, becomes the agriculture business planner, the cooperative member. We must help him find means to buy biological pest control, natural fertilizers, pesticides and farm implements.”


Farmers asked to vote on SDO

On May 9, 1989, Luisita’s farm workers were asked to choose between stocks or land in a referendum. The SDO won 92.9% of the vote. A second referendum and information campaign were held on October 14, 1989, and again the SDO won, this time by a 96.75% vote.

In his 1992 book A Captive Land: The Politics of Agrarian Reform in the Philippines, American development studies expert James Putzel expressed doubt that the farmers understood the choice that was presented to them. “The outcome of the vote was entirely predictable,” he wrote. “The balance of power in the country favored families like the Cojuangcos. The problem was not really that the farm workers were denied the right to choose . . . it was rather that [they] were denied an environment that would allow them to identify what their choices were.”

(Dr. James Putzel did extensive research on agrarian reform in the Philippines between the late 1980s to the early 1990s. He is currently a Professor of Development Studies at the London School of Economics.)


Even before the second referendum was held, Father Joaquin Bernas, the President of the Ateneo de Manila University and a member of the commission that drafted the 1987 Constitution, pointed out the inconsistency of Luisita’s SDO with the Constitution in his June 27, 1989 column in the Manila Chronicle. “The [SDO] is a loophole because it does not support the Constitution’s desire that the right of farmers to become owners of the land they till should be promoted by government,” Bernas said.

UP Center of Law calls Luisita SDO illegal

A year after Father Bernas spoke out, the University of the Philippines Center of Law also called Luisita’s SDO illegal in a paper it submitted to the Senate Committee on Agrarian Reform in June 1990. The paper questioned the morality, propriety, and constitutionality of a plan that allowed the landlord to retain controlling interest at the expense of farmer beneficiaries.

President Cory Aquino replied that the paper was just the opinion of one professor. But she said she would look into it.

The Department of Justice then issued a legal opinion affirming the constitutionality of the SDO, saying an act of the legislature, approved by the executive, was presumed valid within the limits of the Constitution unless nullified in court.

The legislature back then was dominated by landlords, including President Aquino’s brother, Tarlac Rep. Jose “Peping” Cojuangco, Jr., the top decision-maker in Hacienda Luisita.

Cojuangco was “at the head of the landlord juggernaut” in Congress, according to a June 13, 1993 report of writer Antonio Ma. Nieva in the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Meanwhile, the Secretary of Justice who issued the legal opinion saying Luisita’s SDO was constitutional was Aquino stalwart Franklin Drilon.

Drilon is currently chairman of the Liberal Party, whose standard-bearer is Senator Noynoy Aquino.

Corporation formed before vote

In his book A Captive Land, Putzel also noted that Hacienda Luisita, Inc (HLI), the company formed by the Cojuangcos to operationalize Luisita’s SDO, was incorporated in August 1988—nine months before the farm workers were first asked to choose between stocks or land in May 1989.


This bred suspicion that the SDO was considered a done deal early on, and the two rounds of voting with the farmers were only organized to give an appearance of transparency.

Aquino appointees in charge of DAR

Adding to the cloud of doubt was President Aquino’s perceived influence over the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) because she had the power to appoint the department’s head.
The Agrarian Reform Secretary who oversaw the farmers’ vote in Luisita in May 1989 was Philip Juico, the husband of Margie Juico, a close friend of President Aquino who also served as her Appointments Secretary.

In July 1989, Aquino replaced Phillip Juico with “graft buster” Miriam Defensor-Santiago after Juico’s name was dragged into the Garchitorena land scam.


The Garchitorena land scam
The implementation of CARP during the term of President Cory Aquino was rocked by a number of scandals, one of them the Garchitorena land scam. See how the land scam was linked to President Aquino.


Very early into her role, Santiago, a former judge, told the media that there were “serious flaws in the law against which I am powerless” (Philippine Daily Inquirer, July 21, 1989). Santiago ended up giving Luisita’s SDO the go-signal in November 1989.

Two months later, Aquino replaced Santiago. Many years later, Santiago said Aquino removed her because of something she said about Luisita.


In Santiago’s place, Aquino appointed Florencio “Butch” Abad. Abad lasted only three months because the Commission on Appointments repeatedly refused to confirm his appointment.
Abad is currently the campaign manager of Senator Noynoy Aquino.

Cojuangcos assume majority control

In 1989, the farm workers’ ownership of Hacienda Luisita was pegged at 33%, while 67% was retained by the Cojuangcos.


How the Cojuangcos got majority control of Hacienda Luisita
When the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program was implemented in Luisita in 1989, the farm workers’ ownership of the hacienda was pegged at 33%, while 67% was retained by the Cojuangcos. See how the Cojuangcos were able to gain control of the corporation.


Luisita’s SDO agreement spelled out a 30-year schedule for transferring stock to the farm workers:

“At the end of each fiscal year, for a period of 30 years, the SECOND PARTY (HLI) shall arrange with the FIRST PARTY (TADECO) the acquisition and distribution to the THIRD PARTY (farm workers) on the basis of number of days worked and at no cost to them of one-thirtieth (1/30) of 118,391,976.85 shares of the capital stock of the SECOND PARTY (HLI) that are presently owned and held by the FIRST PARTY (TADECO), until such time as the entire block of 118,391,976.85 shares shall have been completely acquired and distributed to the THIRD PARTY (farm workers).”

The impact of this provision was far-reaching.


Stocks not transferred to farmers

The stocks representing the farm workers’ full 33% share were not transferred to them in 1989, but were spread over “a period of 30 years” with only “one-thirtieth (1/30)” released every year. At this rate, it would take until 2019 for the farm-worker beneficiaries to receive their complete set of stocks. While their shares remained undistributed, these were “owned and held” by the Cojuangco company TADECO (Tarlac Development Corporation).

Thus, the common belief that 33% of Hacienda Luisita has been owned by farm workers since CARP was implemented in 1989 is not entirely accurate, because the full transfer of stocks did not happen in 1989.

Farmers asked to work for “free” stocks

The farm workers also had to continuously render labor to receive shares, because distribution was based “on the number of days worked”. If a worker quit or if management fired him, he no longer got the undistributed portion of his shares. If management cut work days, distribution of shares was also affected.

Complicating things further was a separate provision that set the annual payroll as the basis for deciding who could get shares at the end of each year. As names on the payroll changed every year when workers left or joined the company, the list of shareholders grew longer and longer, diluting the entitlement of the original beneficiaries. In 1989, there were 6,296 farm-worker beneficiaries in Luisita. By 2005, there were 11,955 names on the HLI stockholder list. Not all of the 11,955 remained employed with HLI, or were part of the original 6,296 beneficiaries.

NOYNOY DEFENDS COJUANGCOS



“The hacienda tenants voluntarily agreed to give up land distribution for shares of stock of the corporation”, and have enjoyed the fruits of their “wise decision”.
(Philippine Daily Inquirer, February 25, 2007)

“The only reason we got [into Luisita] to begin with was the people asked for us, or we were acceptable to them. There was a labor problem sometime in the 1950s, when I wasn’t still around.”
(Philippine Daily Inquirer, September 13, 2009)

On the farmers’ plea to have Luisita’s SDO contract revoked so land can be distributed: “The Constitution talks of inviolability of contracts.”
(Philippine Daily Inquirer, November 10, 2009)

“We want to leave only when we have formulated the plan on how they could pay the debts of the corporate farm. When that has been cleared, then we could bid goodbye [to Luisita management].”
(Manila Times, November 13, 2009)

“The problems descending a sunset industry like the sugar industry were exploited by quarters outside the hacienda. The net result is that the people who had jobs from 1958-2004 have lost their jobs.”
(Statement emailed to GMANews.TV on December 7, 2009)

“We are working for the restoration of jobs. Those who are forcing us to speak on this matter are not after the welfare of my former constituents, but to advance their propaganda aims.”
(Statement emailed to GMANews.TV on December 7, 2009)

Stock distribution suddenly accelerated

After the November 2004 massacre and subsequent investigation by the DAR, HLI announced on June 9, 2005 that it had given out all undistributed stocks “in one supreme act of good faith,” about 15 years ahead of the 30-year schedule.

It is believed this was done because the 30-year distribution period was a loophole. Way back in 1995, Dr. Jeffrey M. Riedinger, currently Dean of International Studies at Michigan State University, already said the 30-year distribution period seemed “without basis in the law” in his book Agrarian Reform in the Philippines: Democratic Transitions and Redistributive Reform.

(Section 11 of DAR Administrative Order No. 10, Series of 1988 states that stocks should be transferred to beneficiaries within 60 days after the SDO is implemented. HLI had not yet been issued a Certificate of Compliance by the DAR since 1989 because the full transfer of stocks had not happened.)

Like Father Bernas in 1989 and the UP Center of Law in 1990, Riedinger also said the SDO “appears to violate the constitutional mandate that ownership of agricultural lands be redistributed to the regular farm workers cultivating them.”

3% production share and home lots

Under the SDO, Luisita’s farm workers were entitled to two new perks: they were allotted a 3% share in the gross production output of the hacienda, and some were given home lots inside the plantation. The farm workers make clear, however, that these were mandated by law under Section 30 and Section 32 of CARP, not voluntary acts of generosity of the Cojuangcos.

The 3% production share never went beyond P1,120 per farm worker per year. The titles of the home lots also have problems, which this report will not get into now.

About 5 years after the SDO was implemented, management began to claim that HLI was losing money. The farm workers’ wages plateaued and their work days were cut.

Meanwhile, a mall and industrial park were sprouting on the portion of the hacienda closest to McArthur Highway. Losing money but building a mall? the farmers brooded. Something was up.

Conversion—the real plan

On September 1, 1995, the Sangguniang Bayan of Tarlac passed a resolution reclassifying 3,290 out of Luisita’s 4,915 hectares from agricultural to commercial, industrial, and residential. The governor of Tarlac province at that time was Margarita “Tingting” Cojuangco, wife of Jose “Peping” Cojuangco, Jr. Out of the 3,290 reclassified hectares, 500 were approved for conversion by the DAR.

As land was being converted, the area left for farming grew smaller and smaller. More work days were cut, and wages were practically frozen. Mechanization also reduced the need for manual labor.


Then, a master plan commissioned in 1998 by the Luisita Realty Corporation, a subsidiary of Jose Cojuangco and Sons, was unearthed. It showed the company’s long-term intention to convert the hacienda into a business and residential hub, with no areas left for agriculture. (That land use plan from 1998 already contained the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway or SCTEx, which was completed in 2007, and is now the subject of allegations in Congress against Senator Noynoy Aquino and his family, instigated by his electoral rivals.)

The farm workers began to fear for their jobs, without any assurances of receiving their 33% equity share in the sale of the converted land.

Mass retrenchment

By 2003, the farm workers’ daily wage was down to P194.50 (P9.50 after deductions for salary loans and other items), and work days were down to 1 per week.

They finally saw the futility of having four board seats against management’s seven (the SDO agreement allotted 4 board seats to the farm workers ahead of the 30-year waiting period for their stocks). They were always going to be outvoted. They also feared that their board representatives could easily be manipulated because they were not as well-versed as management in corporate matters.

The SDO had to go, they concluded.

The union leaders scrabbled together a petition to revoke the SDO and stop land conversion in Luisita. It was signed by 5,339 farm workers and filed at the Department of Agrarian Reform on December 4, 2003. In July 2004, the union tried to negotiate a wage increase to P225 per day. They also asked for an increase in work days to 2-3 days per week. Management said no, saying the company was losing money.

Management then issued notices retrenching 327 farm workers effective October 1, 2004. A month later came the workers’ strike, then the massacre.

TO BE CONTINUED



The SAD TRUTH about Noynoy Aquino

It was all well known to the public that the present FACEBOOK site of Sen. Noynoy Aquino was previously the site of the late Pres. Cory Aquino, then it was converted as the official site of Sen. Noynoy after he announces his candidacy for President. Is this the type of INTEGRITY that Sen. Aquino has been portraying of?

We all know that some of the other fans on the said facebook site was also the fans of famous Philippine actress Kris Aquino. Some people just doesnt seem to mind and add Noynoy Aquino’s facebook site, just for the sake of adding a popular figure but not necessarily means supporting or voting for him.
Si Ginang Cory Aquino ay naging Presidente ng PILIPINAS. Sa loob ng anim na taon ng kanyang panunungkulan, walang asenso at pagbabago ang bansa bagkus dito nagsimula ang paghihirap ng karaniwang mamamayan. Nawalan ng pag-asa ang bawat tao na makahanap ng regular o permanente na trabaho sa mga companya at ahensya ng gobyerno dahil sa contractualization law…. See More

Labor activists and Bayan Muna group fought during Aquino’s term against the Wage Rationalization Act (Herrera Law) that was passed, and labor-only contractualization law.
It was under AQUINO regime that the Herrera Law was passed. It was also during her time that ‘contractualization’ was institutionalized.

The Herrera Law created the regional wage boards (RWBs) that determine the salary rates of different sectors in the regions. The scheme is criticized for creating disparity in the wage rates between, for instance, industrial centers like the National Capital Region (NCR), and poor provinces like those in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). For example, non-agricultural workers in NCR get a minimum wage of P382 while those in ARMM only receive P210.

Itong batas na ito ay pumapabor sa mga employer at sa mga mayayamang negosyanteng Intsik na kamag-anak ng mga AQUINO. Dito nakilala ang tinaguriang ”kamag-anak incorporated”. KMU expressed that the passage of the Herrera Law was a major blot to her legacy since it led to two things: the creation of the RWBs and the assumption of jurisdiction (AJ) procedure that curtailed workers’ rights to express their grievances.

With the RWBs, it has become more difficult to lobby for wage increase. The AJ as we know, is being resorted to by the labor secretary to prevent workers from expressing their legitimate demands and complaints.

It was also during the Aquino administration that KMU chair Rolando Olalia was murdered by still unidentified perpetrators. “It remains an unsolved crime.” Ito po ba ang tinatawag na trasparency?

Another legacy of AQUINO regime are the massive long hours of brownouts in the METROPOLIS and the No power electricity in the provinces. The numerous number of coup de etat against AQUINO administration because of its failure to address good governance and the no economic progress. The HACIENDA LUISITA victims are uncared and hopeless. It was a long overdued right to own a land by the farmers but wasn’t given utmost priority and attention. The MENDIOLA MASSACRE of poor farmers was left without justice. Ito po ang sinasabi ninyong paglilingkod sa kapwa tao at hindi lamang para sa pansariling interes?

Then here comes the son NOYNOY AQUINO, a Congressman for 9 years and a first time Senator, is wishing to sit down in MALACANANG as PRESIDENT of the PHILIPPINES.
Ang tanong lang po ng mga FILIPINO, ano po ba ang nagawa ninyo bilang isang Congressman at Senador? Di po ba ang trabaho nun ay ang pag-gawa ng batas? Pero bakit po wala kayong naipasa kahit isa lang?

Meron kaya kayong magawa para sa Bayan pag kayo ay nahalal bilang isang Presidente? Di po ba dati wala kayong balak tumakbong pangulo ng PILIPINAS? Kailangan po ba diktahan kayo ng ibang tao para mag disisyon? Bakit nyo po inaangkin ang pangalan ng DIYOS sa inyong pagtakbo? Di po ba kasalanan yun? Talaga po bang honest kayo at totoo na meron kayong tinatawag na “Inability to LIE”? Di po ba kasinungalingan yun? Di po ba hipokrito lang ang nagsasabi nun? Bakit po kayo tumatanggap sa partido Liberal ng mga balembing na TRAPOng kandidato sa election? Nasaan po dito ang pagbabago?

Bakit po kayo pumayag na maging ka tandem si Sen. Mar Roxas? Di ba si Sen. Mar Roxas ay kilala sa kanyang pag-mumura sa harap ng publiko at sa maraming tao? Ito po ba ang tinatawag ninyong MORAL authority? Di po ba si ERAP ay napatunayan at nahatulan dahil sa katiwalian at CORRUPTION? BAKIT po kayo nakikipag alyansa sa kanya? Di po ba si KRIS AQUINO inindorso si Ginang Arroyo? Nasampahan nyo na po ba ng kaso si Ginang Arroyo at nahatulan na po ba at napatunayan na po ba sa husgado sa mga binabatong corruption at scandal? Di po ba meron tayong OMBUDSMAN namamahala para sa mga opisyal na nagkasala? Malapit na po matapos ang termino ni Ginang Arroyo. Nasaan po ang ating mga ebidensya at patunay ng katiwalian? Kung demokrasya po ang naibahagi ni Ginang Cory, kailangan po ba hindi tayo sumunod sa tamang proceso at bagkus ay akusahan na lamang ng pagnanakaw ang sinumang tao na yumaman at nakabili ng malaking bahay?

Bakit po kayo tumatakbo sa pagka-pangulo sa ilalim ng pamamahala ng COMELEC kung wala naman pala kayong tiwala sa pangalan ng ahensya at sa ating DEMOKRASYA? Pag kayo po ay nahalal na pangulo, sasabihin nyo rin po ba, that you dont expect to solve all the problems of the past administration? Ito po ba ang tinatawag naming pag-asa? Ipag paumanhin nyo na po, Senador NOYNOY AQUINO, pero hindi po kami naniniwala sa inyo at sa inyong kakayahang mamuno sa isang bansa.

ISANG MASAKLAP NA KATOTOHANAN PARA SA BAGONG TAON!!!



A comment from MARK

I am thankful that the readers of this blog is paying attention for what I write here. Ang hirap kasi sa ating kultura, hindi na napapansin ang dapat mapansin tulad ng karumaldumal na pangyayari tulad ng Luisita Massacre. Pero hindi ako nawawalan ng pag-asa tutuloy ko ang laban ng mga magsasaka.

MARK SAID:

wOw !
GraBehh pala si NOY! sana makita toh ng mga taong sumusuporta at naakit sa kinang ng liwanag na hatid ng SHOWBIZZ sa pamilya nila. Dapat malaman ng mga tao na hindi charismatic leader lang ang dapat pinag-bababasihan sa pagpili ng presidente, kung gusto natin ng malinis na halalan, baliw tayo para isipin na mangyayari yun, hindi na magbabago ang panahon ngayon, ang magbabago lang ay kung panu natin tingnan ang mga bagay-bagay na nasa ating kapaligiran. Kung ating babalikan ang nakaraan, bayani at huwaran ang tingin ng marami kay Ninoy sa pag-oppose nia kay dating pangulong Marcos, ngunit sinu ba sa History ng politika ng pilipinas ang may pinaka magandang plataporma, programa, at hangad na pag-unlad sa mga naging pangulo ng ating bansa?
Sumama ang imahe ni Marcos sa pagkawala ni Ninoy, ngunit kahit kailan hindi naman napatunayan ang alegasyon laban sa kanya, na sya kuno ang utak ng krimeng ito, samantalang kung ating iisipin at pag-aaralang mabuti, during that time, kung ipapapatay ni Marcos si Ninoy ay alam nya na ang mangyayaring ito sa kanya, therefore bakit pa niya gagawin ito? Hindi ba’t mas malaki ang interest ng mga kalaban nya (na maaaring kakampi pa nga umano ni Ninoy) na siya ay ipapaslang pagbalik nya ng Pilipinas, sapagkat yun lang ang pagkakataon nilang makuha ang kanilang kagustuhang mawala sa posisyon si Marcos? — At hindi ba’t nagtagumpay sila? nauto nila ang taong bayan na mag-alsa laban sa gobyerno ni Marcos ng mawala ang kalaban niyang si Ninoy sa maruming paraan, sa karahasang pinagiwanan na ng katotohanan kung sinu ba talaga ang tunay na utak ng krimen. Napasama nila ang integridad ni Marcos at pinatalsik sa pwesto, ang gobyernong nagtakda ng “martial law”, nguni’t isa ring gobyernong may maayos na pamamalakad sa aspetong politikal at maunlad na ekonomiya. Hawak ng gobyerno ang lahat ng pamamalakad sa pamumuno ni Marcos, (malas lang nya dahil nasagasaan nya ang mga mayayaman at maimpuwnsyang pamilya) ang mga institusyon na ngayon ay binaboy ng mga piling indibidual.
Noon walang nagmumura dahil sa kamahalan ng singil sa kuryente at tubig sa loob ng rehimen ni Marcos. Ngayon wala ka na ngang makain, papatayin ka pa ng global warming sa init ng panahon, putik lang ang kaya mong inumin pag wala kang salapi.
Sa pangyayaring ito, hindi ba’t bumango ang pamilyang Aquino? (salamat sa pumatay kay Ninoy) napalitan ni cory si marcos (pampalubag loob sa mga Aquino). Tiningala siya ng malalaking bansa (US atbp) na ngayon ay may malaking pakinabang sa kayamanang taglay ng ating Pilipinas, na sila ang mas may kakayahang bumili nito kesa sa ating mga nakatirang mamamayan sa lupa.

Kasabay nito, pinalitan din ng (galit na si) cory ang mga naitayong moog ni marcos, moog na syang pundasyon ng ating bansa, kaya nang mawala, ayun lumagapak at hanggang ngayon nananatiling mahirap. Tama nga siya, lalaban tayo, kaya hanggang ngayon lumalaban pa rin tayo.

Base sa mga pangyayaring ito, malinaw na nagkamali tayong mga Pilipino, tama ang pag hangad natin ng pag-babago, na alisin ang martial law, nguni’t ,ali tayo ng kinampihan, mali tayo ng pamamaraan at kinasangkapan. Mali nga ang pag abuso ng militar sa martial law, ngunit hindi yun ginusto ni marcos, ang militar ang umabuso at hindi si marcos during martial law.

Base din sa pangyayaring ito, pinili natin kung anu ang uso, kung anu ang sikat at kung anu ang malinis sa ating paningin, hindi natin nakita ang dumi sa likod nito.
Hahayaan ba nating maulit ito? hahayaan ba nating tayo’y magkamali muli, ang magpabulag sa kinang ng bituin at madapa sa huli? Dapat maging matalino at mahusay tayo sa pagpili ng mga kandidato sa pagkapangulo. Kung gusto natin ng pagbabago dapat matuto tayo mula sa nakaraan. Tandaan natin, na hindi lahat ng kumikinang ay ginto.

PS: Wala po akong galit sa pamilyang Aquino. Lahat po ng nakasulat dito ay nakabase lang sa aking mga pananaw at pagkaunawa. Wag nyo po sana itong masamain.
I understand if you curse me after you read this, but no hard feelings.

Para sa mga magsasaka natin:
” Hindi lahat ng malakas ay nagtatagumpay, ngunit ang nagtatagumpay ay lumalakas!”.