Youth groups join nation in remember Luisita massacre, hold Aquino accountable for lack of justice after six years
Progressive youth groups Anakbayan, League of Filipino Students (LFS), Student Christian Movement (SCM), Karatula, College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP), and National Union of Students in the Philippines (NUSP) joined other organizations today in a march to Mendiola Bridge to mark the 6th anniversary of the infamous Hacienda Luisita massacre.
The groups also condemned President Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino for continuing to refuse to fast-track the distribution of the sugar estate’s lands to its farm workers, the continuing lack of action against the perpetrators of the said massacre which claimed seven lives, as well as the intensifying militarization of the hacienda.
“Six years after the farm workers of Luisita still do not own their land. This is proof that Noynoy is a landlord first, president of the Philippines second” said Anakbayan spokesperson Charisse Bañez.
The youth leader added “If he cannot put the interests of the Luisita peasants before his personal and familial interests, then we cannot hope that he will really uphold and defend the welfare of the peasant sector, which comprises around three-fourths of his constituency”.
For his part, NUSP national president Einstein Recedes said “Noynoy’s insistence on dole-out programs, while taking no action in undertaking a genuine agrarian reform program, shows he’s unwilling to tackle the real roots of poverty”.
“It is but one of the many mis-priorities of the administration, including its anti-youth and anti-people national budget for next year” said the student leader.
Aquino has staunchly pushed for the passage of the 2011 national budget which more almost tripled the funding for the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program while slashing the money for social services such as education, health, housing, and agriculture.
LFS national chairperson Terry Ridon meanwhile called for the immediate removal of American troops in Luisita and the scrapping of plans to hold the next ‘Balikatan’ military exercises between Phil. and U.S armed forces in the said estate.
“The war games are merely a pretext to deploy more soldiers in what is a major thorn in Aquino plummeting publicity” said Ridon.
He added ”This amounts to an unofficial endorsement by the U.S for a military solution to the Luisita dispute, instead of implementing land reform. It is not surprising given that foreign mega-corporations stand to benefit from the status quo in Luisita”.
One such example is the deal between the Hacienda Luisita Inc. (HLI) and Wahaha, the biggest softdrink manufacturer in China, to have the latter get its sugar from the former.