Monday, March 26, 2012

Luisita farmworkers decry series of harassments

ANTIPOLO City, March 26, 2012—Farmworkers of the controversial Hacienda Luisita decried the alleged harassments of private security hired by the Yuchengco Group’s Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation.
In a statement, the Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura revealed that some “hired goons” of the RCBC had attempted to disperse the farmworkers-on-camping, near the 184-hectare land in Brgy. Balete, which the farmworker-beneficiaries began to till since July last year for food and livelihood. The said parcel of land, also inside the Hacienda Luisita territory, was purchased by RCBC 16 years ago from the HLI [Hacienda Luisita, Inc.] management.
“This is a blatant disregard of the rights of the farmworkers, [who] in reality are the true owners of the Hacienda Luisita,” said Rodel Mesa, UMA’s secretary-general.
Earlier, the Tarlac Municipal Trial Court Branch 1 had issued warrants of arrest against 23 farmworkers of the hacienda, including Lito Bais, who serves as chairperson of UMA.
The 23 are facing charges of grave coercion and illegal occupation of private property, in connection with the tilling of the 184-hectare land of the RCBC, and the clash that happened between some 100 security personnel and the farmworkers, when the latter had attempted to dismantle the security post last February 20.
Mesa forewarns the RCBC management that it would be held accountable if any of the protesters would be harmed.
The farmworker-beneficiaries had already filed a revocation of the land conversion order by the Department of Agrarian Reform some years ago. In addition to this, they had also filed an early petition to the Supreme Court, asking the highest tribunal to cancel all conversion orders issued in favor of the HLI. [Noel Sales Barcelona/CBCPNews]


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