Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Hacienda Luisita’s ‘bungkalan’ garners support from city govt.

MANILA, July 21, 2011—Farmer-workers in the disputed Hacienda Luisista have found a new ally, as the Council of Tarlac City has unanimously approved City Resolution No. 293, supporting the move by the farm-worker beneficiaries to till the portion of the hacienda, now owned by the Yuchengco Group of Companies, under the Rizal Commercial Banking Corp.
The Alyansa ng mga Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita (AMBALA) said in a statement that the resolution was ratified and adopted by the City Council last July 14.
The Resolution urges the Supreme Court to revoke its earlier decision for a referendum regarding the fate of the hacienda, and to distribute the lands of the hacienda without any condition.
Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luzon (AMGL) vice chair Fidel Castro said, it was City Councilor Emily L. Facunla who personally delivered the copy of the resolution to AMBALA’s campout, inside the hacienda. Facunla, the sister of the late Abel Ladera, who was shot by unknown assassins, on March 3, 2005, was the first city official to visit the farmers’ campout in Barangay Balite, where the RCBC land is found.
“The farm-workers are very happy with the visit of councilor Facunla, especially when she expressed support of the bungkalan (tilling). She is the first government official, aside from the barangay officials, who visited the camp-out,” Castro said.
The bungkalan, which has started last June 15th, is a very historic event, since the portion of the land in the hacienda is converted into a communal farm, Castro said.
Castro explained that they opt to defy the High Tribunal’s decision to have a referendum, and even to face the legal consequences of their actions, as land conversion will impede the productivity of the hacienda as food-producing farm.
The RCBC aims to develop the land into an industrial park, covering more than 1/5 of the 500 hectare property, to house different Japanese companies.
Today, the farm-workers in the hacienda will march to the streets of Tarlac City to protest the non-distribution of the land. Expected to join them are more than 1,000 farmers from different parts of Region 3.
Meanwhile, the farm-workers and their supporters will file, before the Supreme Court, a motion for reconsideration against the proposed referendum, and then later will join the interfaith rally, organized by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines [CBCP]-Episcopal Commission on Social Action, Justice and Peace (ECSA-JP) and the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan. (Noel Sales Barcelona)

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