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FEATURE: On the Hacienda Luisita issue

August 8, 2010

We have unearthed from our archives two documents regarding the infamous Hacienda Luisita massacre, as well as the still-continuing saga  of the Hacienda Luisita and its farm workers.

Ang katumbas ng P9.50 – at iba pang katotohanang inungkat ng masaker sa Hacienda Luisita (Bayan, Jan. 2005)

Para sa mga manggagawang bukid ng Hacienda Luisita, take-home pay na P9.50* kada linggo ang kapalit ng daantaong pagbubungkal nila at ng kanilang mga ninuno sa lupaing inangkin ng mga Cojuangco. Para naman sa amo nilang ganid sa tubo, tila P9.50 lang rin ang halaga ng buhay na nilagas ng bala noong ika-16 ng Nobyembre 2004 — halagang ‘di sasapat upang makabili ng isang lata ng sardinas, o kaha ng sigarilyong Fortune.

Ano nga ba ang tunay na halaga ng paggawa, lupa at karapatang-pantao? Timbangin natin kung bakit makatarungan ang pag-aaklas ang masang anakpawis sa halip na magtiis sa buhay-barya.

KAKAPUSAN NG KARAMIHAN = KASAGANAAN NG IILAN

Nobyembre 6, 2004 nang simulan ang welga sa Central Azucarera de Tarlac (CAT), ang pinakamalaking pagawaan ng asukal sa buong Luzon. Bunsod ito ng umiiral na kalagayan sa asyenda kung saan matutunghayan ang karangyaan ng iilan samantalang kasalatan naman sa kabuhayan ng nakararami.

Ang mga sumusunod ay napapaloob sa 6,453 ektaryang asyenda na pag-aari ng angkan ng Cojuangco-Aquino, isa sa pinakamakapangyarihang pamilya sa ekonomiya at pulitika sa Pilipinas:
• 4,915.75 ektaryang lupaing agrikultural
• Ang CAT, kung saan pinoproseso ang tubo upang gawing asukal matapos ang kabyawan (anihan)
• Mga istruktura tulad ng Mall, 70-ektaryang Golf Course,at 500-ektaryang Industrial Park
• ‘Di bababa sa limang malalaking kompanya na humahawak sa iba’t ibang negosyo sa asyenda

Sa mga ito kumakamal ng sagad-sagarang tubo ang mga Cojuangco. Ngunit nananatiling maralita ang masang tagalikha ng yamang kanilang tinatamasa: mga manggagawa at manggagawang-bukid na walang lupa.

• Ang mga manggagawang-bukid na bumubuo sa kalakhan ng lakas-paggawa ng asyenda ay sumasahod ng P194 lamang kada araw, at pinahihintulutang magtrabaho nang isa hanggang dalawang araw lamang kada linggo. Dahil sa pagkakabaon sa utang, madalas ay P9.50 na lamang ang aktwal na naiuuwing sahod.

MAKATARUNGANG WELGA = PANDARAHAS NG ESTADO

‘Di-makataong pasahod, kawalan ng benepisyo, at pagsupil ng awtoridad ang tumatahi sa pinagsanib na laban ng dalawang unyon sa asyenda. Magkasunod na nag-welga ang ULWU o United Luisita Workers Union (unyon ng mga manggagawang-bukid) at ang CATLU o Central Azucarera de Tarlac Labor Union (unyon ng mga manggagawa ng azucarera) dahil sa union-busting at pagmamatigas ng management ng Hacienda Luisita Incorporated (HLI) sa negosasyon para sa isang makabuluhang Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).

Ang mga makatarungang HILING ng mga unyon mula sa management:

CATLU

• P100 across-the-board wage increase
• Signing Bonus
• Gratuity Pay

ULWU

• Pagtaas sa sahod
• Libreng serbisyo mula sa St. Martin de Porres Hospital ng CAT
• Mga benepisyong tulad ng Christmas at Service bonus

Ang TUGON ng pamilya Cojuangco at ng mga kasabwat nila:

• Tuso at sapilitang pagtanggal ng management sa 327 manggagawang-bukid, kasama ang mga lider ng ULWU at pakikipagsabwatan sa iilang bayarang indibidwal sa CAT.
• “Assumption of Jurisdiction” order na nagpapatunay na kasangkot ang Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), sa pangunguna ni Sec. Patricia Sto. Tomas na buwagin ang welga at dahasin ang mga manggagawa.
• Panghihimasok ng Northern Luzon Command ng AFP sa usaping sibilyan
• Masaker ng mga manggagawang-bukid – Ang nabigong limang beses na tangkang pagbuwag ng mga pulis at militar sa piketlayn gamit ang water cannon, tear gas, truncheon, at baril. Humantong ito sa pagkakapaslang ng pitong welgista noong hapon ng Nobyembre 16, 2004. Nagpapatuloy ang pandarahas at pamamaslang sa pangunguna ng mga militar at mga bayarang goons. Disyembre 8, pinaslang ang Tagapangulo ng Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Tarlac, si Ka Marcing na susing testigo sa naganap na masaker.

ANO ANG MGA UMIIRAL NA KALAGAYAN NA NAGBUNSOD NG PAG-AAKLAS SA HACIENDA LUISITA?

KAWALAN NG LUPA

Ang mga magbubukid na daantaong nagbungkal ng lupain ng Compania General de Tabacos de Filipinas (TABACALERA) — ang mga ninuno ng mga manggagawang-bukid ng Hacienda Luisita — ang tunay na may-ari ng lupa sa asyenda.

Ngunit ang lupain ng asyenda ay patuloy na inaangkin ng mga Cojuangco sa pamamagitan ng mga sumusunod:

1. ISTORIKAL AT ILIGAL NA PANGANGAMKAM SA LUPA
Noong 1957, binili ni Jose Cojuangco, Sr. ang CAT at ang Hacienda Luisita mula sa TABACALERA gamit ang pera ng mamamayan bilang puhunan: utang mula sa Government Service Insurance System at Manufacturers’ Trust Company sa New York. Ang huli ay ginarantiya ng international reserve ng bansa na inaprubahan ng Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas sa kondisyong ipapamahagi ito sa maliliit na magsasaka. Lumipas ang ilang dekada ngunit hindi tinupad ang napagkasunduang pamamahagi ng lupa sa mga magbubukid.

Nang maging Pangulo si Corazon Cojuangco Aquino noong 1986, nakaiwas ang kanyang pamilya na ipatupad ang repormang agraryo alinsunod sa desisyon ng Manila-Regional Trial Court noong 1985. Isa sa mga inkorporador ng Tarlac Development Corporation (TADECO), ipinagtibay ni Aquino ang pag-angkin ng kanyang angkan sa asyenda sa pamamagitan ng Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL) noong 1988.

2. STOCK DISTRIBUTION OPTION (SDO)
• Ano ang SDO? Niligalisa ng CARL ang iba’t ibang anyo ng huwad na repormang agraryo katulad ng “stock transfer scheme”, kung saan sapi (shares) ang ibinibigay ng panginoong-maylupa sa halip na aktwal na pamamahagi ng lupa. Ipinatupad ang “stock transfer scheme” sa Hacienda Luisita sa ngalang SDO.
• Paano ito ipinatupad? Itinatag ang HLI bilang spin-off corporation ng TADECO na magpapamahagi ng capital stock sa mga benepisyaryong manggagawang-bukid (“co-owners”) ayon sa stock distribution plan. Sa SDO, inalisan ang mga manggagawang-bukid ng kanilang istorikal na karapatang ariin ang lupaing binubungkal. Napilitan ang mga magbubukid na sumang-ayon sa SDO dahil sa pinagsamang panlilinlang, pananakot at pandarahas ng mga Cojuangco.
• Ano ang epekto nito? Walang naganap na makabuluhang pagbabago sa salat na kabuhayan ng mamamayan sa 14 taong pag-iral ng SDO. Lalo silang naghirap dahil binawasan ang mandays (takdang araw ng paggawa) mula 4-5 araw hanggang 1-2 araw kada linggo mula 1990. Ito ay dulot ng patakarang land conversion at mekanisasyon. Kasabay na lumiit ang sapi nila dahil nakabatay ‘shares of stock’ sa dami ng mandays.

3. LAND CONVERSION

Unti-unti ring nagpapalit-gamit ng lupain ang asyenda upang gawing golf course, industrial park, at iba pa. Simula 1995, nireklasipika para sa kumbersyon ang 3,290 ektarya ng kabuuang 4,915 ektaryang lupaing agrikultural. Naibenta na ang 500 ektarya sa mga korporasyong Hapon. May lupaing nakalaan para sa Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway Project na nakatakdang gawin mula 2003-2005.

Itinutulak ng mga Cojuangco ang land conversion dahil malaki ang kikitain nila mula rito. Mahigpit naman itong tinututulan ng mamamayan dahil katumbas nito ang malawakan at permanenteng pagpapatalsik ng mga magbubukid at manggagawang-bukid sa kanilang sariling lupa.

Ang kasaysayan ng Hacienda Luisita ay patunay sa PAG-IRAL NG MONOPOLYONG KONTROL SA LUPA.

PAGGAWA

Kinikilala sa Konstitusyon ang karapatang magwelga ng mga manggagawa. Ngunit ito’y nilalapastangan
ng mga malaking namumuhunan sa tulong ng kanilang mga abugado at ng DOLE sa paggamit ng “Assumption of Jurisdiction” (AJ) na nakasaad sa Artikulo 263 (g) ng Labor Code at mga kontra-welgang batas-paggawa. Ginamit ang AJ mula pa noong panahon ng diktaduryang Marcos hanggang ngayon upang supilin ang mga makatarungang welga ng mga manggagawa, gaya ng nangyari sa welga ng manggagawa sa Nestle, Jac Liner at SM.

Hatol na kamatayan ang katumbas ng pagbaba ni DOLE Secretary Patricia Sto. Tomas ng AJ order sa mga welgista noong Nobyembre 10, 2004. Sa pamamagitan nito at ng walang-basehang deklarasyon na ”iligal” ang welga, mistulang ipinagtanggol ni Sto. Tomas ang mga pumaslang sa mga manggagawang-bukid.

Sinasalamin ng kaso ng Hacienda Luisita ang PAG-IRAL NG MAPANUPIL NA PATAKARAN AT BATAS-PAGGAWA SA BANSA.

KARAPATANG-PANTAO

Matagal nang militarisado ang malawak na lupain ng asyenda. Ang Yellow Army na nagmula pa noong panahon ni Aquino at ang 69th Infantry Battalion ay ginamit upang maghasik ng takot sa lahat ng tumututol sa umiiral na kaayusan dito.

Kasuklam-suklam na krimen ang mga naganap na pamamaslang ng tropang militar. Pito ang namatay, mahigit 40 ang nasugatan, 114 ang iligal na inaresto, at marami pa ang nawawala hanggang ngayon. Ang di-makatwirang paggamit ng tropang militar sa pagbuwag ng welga ay nagpapakita ng sabwatan sa pagitan ng pamilya Cojuangco at ng mga opisyal ng estado. Ang Pangulo ng bansa – si Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo bilang Commander in Chief ng AFP –ang may kapangyarihang magpahintulot sa militar upang manghimasok sa asyenda.

Hindi natapos sa masaker noong Nobyembre 16 ang karahasan. Noong Disyembre 8, pinatay ng mga sundalo si Marcelino Beltran, Jr., Pangulo ng Alyansa ng Magbubukid ng Tarlac, provincial vice-chairperson ng Anakpawis, at susing testigo sa masaker. Marami pa ang naitalang kaso ng pandarahas at pananakot sa mga welgista hanggang ngayon.

Sinasalamin ng masaker sa Hacienda Luisita ang PAG-IRAL NG PASISMO AT MILITARISASYON SA KANAYUNAN.

PAG-IRAL NG NAKAKABUSABOS NA KAAYUSAN = PAGLABAN NG MAMAMAYAN

SINO ANG DAPAT MANAGOT?

• Ang AFP at PNP
• Ang pamilya Cojuangco-Aquino
• DOLE Secretary Patricia Sto. Tomas
• Pang. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo

ANO ANG TUNGUHIN NG ATING LABAN?

• Katarungan para sa mga biktima ng masaker sa Hacienda Luisita! Papanagutin ang mga pumaslang kina Jhaivie Basilio, Adriano Caballero, Jhune David, Jesus Laza, Jaime Pastidio, Juancho Sanchez, Jessie Valdez at Ka Marcelino Beltran!
• Singilin ang pahirap na rehimeng Arroyo, ang angkang Cojuangco-Aquino, si DOLE Secretary Patricia Sto. Tomas at ang mga kasangkot nila sa PNP at AFP!
• Ipagtagumpay ang welga sa Hacienda Luisita! Suportahan ang pakikibaka ng mga manggagawa at manggagawang-bukid para sa lupa, sahod, trabaho, at karapatan. Ibalik sa trabaho ang 327 na tinanggal na manggagawang-bukid at opisyales ng ULWU! Ipaglaban at kamtin ang makatarungang CBA!
• Ibasura ang mga mapanupil na batas-paggawa at mga patakaran ng huwad na reporma sa lupa! Ipasawalang-bisa ang “Assumption of Jurisdiction” sa Labor Code at Stock Distribution Option. Itigil ang militarisasyon sa welga at kriminalisasyon sa mga pakikibakang unyon! Itigil ang pagpapalit-gamit sa lupa!
• Ipatupad ang tunay na repormang agraryo at pambansang industriyalisasyon! ###

THE CONTINUING SAGA OF THE FARMWORKERS OF HACIENDA LUISITA (Atty. J. Pahilga, Oct. 2009)

by Atty. Jobert Ilarde-Pahilga, executive director Sentro Para sa Tunay na Repormang Agraryo (Sentra), and campaign officer of National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL)

THE ACQUISITION OF THE HACIENDA BY THE COJUANCOS

In 1957, Jose Cojuanco Sr., bought majority shares of the Central Azucarera de Tarlac (CAT), including the 6,453-hectare Hacienda Luisita from the Spanish company Compania General de Tabacos de Filipinas (Tabacalera) thrug a loan from the Central Bank. The CAT and hacienda are transferred to Cojuangco’s Tarlac Development Corporation (TADECO), an agricultural corporation.

MARCOS FILED A CASE

On May 7, 1980, the Marcos government filed a case against TADECO before the RTC of Manila for specific performance to compel defendants TADECO, and the heirs of the late Jose Cojuangco, Sr. to turn over “Hacienda Luisita” to the Ministry of Agrarian Reform for the purpose of subdivision and sale at cost to “small farmers” or “tenants”.

On December 2, 1985, the Manila RTC rendered a decision that orders the Cojuangcos to transfer control of Hacienda Luisita to the Ministry of Agrarian Reform, which will distribute the land to small farmers after compensating the landowners P3.988 million.

The Cojuangcos elevated the case to the Court of Appeals which was docketed as CA G.R. 08634. March 17, 1988, the Solicitor General, CB governor and the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) filed a motion to dismiss the civil case against the Cojuangcos pending before the Court of Appeals on the ground that Hacienda Luisita would be covered by agrarian reform. Thus, on May 18, 1988, the Court dismissed the case against the Cojuangcos.

THE STOCK DISTRIBUTION PLAN and MOA

On May 9, 1989, the landowners, along with then DAR Secretary Philip Juico, Tarlac governor and the mayors of Tarlac City, Concepcion, and La Paz, the three municipalities covering the hacienda, held referendum among Luisita farm workers to present the SDO. Thereafter, Juico, Tadeco and HLI signed Memorandum of Agreement on the SDO.

In the MOA of May 11, 1989, HLI was designated as the SECOND PARTY to which the TADECO has transferred and conveyed the agricultural portions of Hacienda Luisita and other farm-related properties in exchange for shares of stock of the farm workers. The agricultural lands in Hacienda Luisita which was covered by the MOA consisted of 4,915.75 hectares with an appraised value of P196, 630 million or approximately P40, 000 per hectare.

Based on the MOA the farmworkers supposedly owned 33.296% of the outstanding capital stock of the HLI, which was P355, 531,462 or 355,531,462 shares at 1 peso per share before May 10, 1989. In the stock distribution plan 33.296% of capital stock or P118, 391,976.85 or 118,391,976.85 shares will be distributed to farmworker beneficiaries within 30 years. Thus, the P118 million worth of shares of stocks would be distributed to the farm workers not as a “one-shot deal” but for a period of thirty years at 1/30 per year

As likewise provided on the MOA, the qualified beneficiaries of the stock distribution plan shall be the farmworkers who appear in the annual payroll, inclusive of the permanent and seasonal employees, who are regularly or periodically employed by the TADECO

Thus, the distribution of the farmworkers’ shares of stock is actually based on the number of hours of work or mandays in the hacienda. The mandays in turn, are based on the system of guaranteed mandays, wherein the management of the HLI allocates the number of mandays available for manual work. Moreover, if a farmworker will be dismissed from employment for any cause and therefore his name will not appear in the annual payroll, he will not receive any shares of stock for the year he was dismissed onwards. On the otherhand, a newly employed worker, although he is not a resident of the hacienda and should therefore not be beneficiary of the SDO, as his name appeared on the annual payroll, will receive such shares of stock on the basis of his mandays.

DISMISSAL OF FARMWORKERS AND LOW WAGES

In the year 2003, the daily wage for seasonal workers is P199.17 and for casuals, P194.50 which translates to a maximum of P1, 327.80 and P1, 296, respectively, per month based on 80 guaranteed mandays. After deductions for the loans and advance pays, the average take home pay is P18 for the seasonal, or P9 for the casual for a 2-manday week.

Aside from the diminishing mandays and horrendous and intolerable take home pay, the area of the land originally placed under SDO likewise diminished by Land Use Conversion (LUC).

As guaranteed mandays dwindle, massive lay-off of farm workers in sugar-coated forms like early retirement (replete with quit claim/waiver documents) or the more direct retrenchment become widespread.

THE LAND USE CONVERSION IN HACIENDA LUISITA

On August 15, 1995, HLI applied for conversion a 500 hectares land of the hacienda.

On September 1, 1995, the Sangguniang Bayan ng Tarlac reclassified 3,290 hectares of hacienda Luisita from agricultural to commercial, industrial and residential purposes.

On August 14, 1996, DAR approved the conversion of 500 hectares of the 3,290 hectares of reclassified Luisita land and has already been converted into the Luisita Industrial Park.

The 500 hectares were sold for over two billion pesos (P2,000,000,000.00) yet, the farmworkers were only given P37.5 million by treating the same as 3% of gross sale from the production. In this year of 2006, sixty six (66) hectares is converted to make way for infrastructure projects like the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway.

THE PETITIONS FOR THE REVOCATION OF THE SDO

On September 28, 2003 elections for farm workers’ and supervisors’ representatives to the HLI Board of Directors only 15.26% of the shares voted thereof. Around 95% of the farm workers boycotted the elections as a protest to the SDO and because the four board seats were useless against seven management seats.

On October 14, 2003, the Supervisory Group of Hacienda Luisita, Inc. filed petition before the DAR to revoke SDO, saying the HLI was not giving them dividends, their one percent (1%) share in gross sales and thirty percent (33%) share in the proceeds from the conversion of 500 hectares of land. They likewise cited other violations by the HLI of the MOA and that their lives have not improved contrary to the promise and the rationale for the adoption of the SDO.

On October 7, 2003, during the opening of the milling season, more than a thousand farmworkers gathered to protest the SDO, land-use conversion, joblessness at the hacienda.

On December 4, 2003, around 80% of the 5,339 farmworkers at the hacienda through their organization, AMBALA, filed a petition to DAR to nullify and rescind the SDO and to stop land-use conversion at the hacienda.

THE TASK FORCE LUISITA AND PRESIDENTIAL AGRARIAN REFORM COUNCIL (PARC).

On November 6, 2004, members of the Central Azucarera de Tarlac Labor Union (CATLU) and members of the United Luisita Workers’ Union (ULWU) simultaneously staged a strike and blocked the mill’s Gate 1 and Gate 2. The strike arose from the deadlock in the negotiations for a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between CATLU and HLI (HLI) and the illegal dismissal of 327 farm workers belonging to ULWU on October 1, 2004.

On November 16, 2004 a violent dispersal of striking workers leave seven (7) dead, scores were injured. This has been known as the infamous Hacienda Luisita Massacre.

On November 22, 2004, the DAR issued Special Order No. 789 which called for the strengthening of the Task Force Stock Distribution Option through the PARC Secretariat.

On Nov. 25, 2004, the DAR task force stock distribution, later renamed Task Force Luisita, convened for the first time to discuss the petitions by Luisita supervisors and farmworkers. Prior thereto, HLI filed with the DAR its answer to the petition/protest filed by the supervisory group of respondent Zuniga and Andaya.

On March 15, 2005, DAR deployed 10 teams to 10 barangays within the hacienda to conduct focus group discussions with 453 farmers concerning their understanding of SDO, the supposed benefits thereof, the home lots and other provisions of the agreement, their recommendations on the SDO, and to determine whether there is truth to the allegations of the farmworkers that they have been pushed deeper into the quagmire of poverty by the SDO and MOA.

THE DAR TERMINAL REPORT AND RESOLUTIONS OF PARC.

In July 2005, Task Force Luisita submitted its report on findings and recommendations to DAR Secretary Nasser C. Pangandaman especially as regards the investigation conducted on March 15, 2005.

In August 2005, Pangandaman created a special legal team to review the legal issues in the task force’s report.

On September 23, 2005, DAR special legal team submitted its terminal report on the two petitions, recommending the revocation of the 16-year-old SDO agreement in Hacienda Luisita.

On 23 December 2005, PARC issued Resolution No. 2005-32-01 which recalled/revoked the SDO plan of TADECO/HLI and placed the lands subject SDO plan under the compulsory coverage scheme of the CARP.

On January 3, 2006, HLI filed its motion for reconsideration of the said resolution.

PETITION FOR CERTIORARI AND TRO ISSUED BY SC

In February 2006, despite the pendency of the Motion for Reconsideration it has filed, HLI filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition against the PARC et al., before the Supreme Court.

Meantime, on May 3, 2006 PARC denied the motion for reconsideration of HLI.

In June 2006, the Supreme Court issued a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) which enjoins PARC and DAR to implement/execute the resolution revoking the SDO.

RECENT DEVELOPMENTS

In June of this year, HLI issued demand letters to the farmwokers to stop the cultivation of the hacienda. The farmworkers were give deadline until October 30, 2009. However, the farmworkers defied the demand and the deadline.

In October of this year, HLI again issued another letter to the farmworkers requiring the farmworkers to register with HLI. They were given until November 15, 2009. But, the farmworkers will again defy the order. ###

From → Features, Lupa

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