Monday, August 23, 2010

The struggle in Hacienda Luisita is the struggle of the entire Filipino peasantry-NDF

The struggle in Hacienda Luisita
is the struggle of the entire Filipino peasantry

Ang Bayan
August 21, 2010

Hacienda Luisita symbolizes the semicolonial and semifeudal system that shackles the country to underdevelopment and perennial crisis. Its long and continuing history is a history of unspeakable exploitation and oppression, intense class struggle and the age-old fight for social justice.

The Cojuangco clan is relentlessly maneuvering and devising schemes to retain its monopoly over the hacienda and prevent its distribution to the farmers and farmworkers. The clan is even more audacious now that it has regained control of Malacañang.

Just last week, the Cojuangcos concocted a bogus “compromise agreement” and shoved it down the throats of the farmers and farmworkers through force, deception, bribery and divide and rule tactics. The fake agreement purports that the farmers and farmworkers have opted for the continuation of the Stock Distribution Option (SDO) scheme instead of land distribution. There is no doubt the agreement was intended to preempt the Supreme Court’s hearing of the petition to revoke the temporary restraining order on the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC)'s order in 2005 to subject the hacienda lands to compulsory distribution.

President Benigno Cojuangco-Aquino III quickly applauded the agreement even as he denied any knowledge about it, claiming that the HLI issue is an internal corporate dispute.
The Cojuangcos' return to power once again highlights the struggle for genuine land reform in the hacienda and the use of power to suppress the struggle.

The Cojuangcos’ refusal to distribute Hacienda Luisita is the single biggest issue that threatens to shatter Aquino’s façade as the champion of meaningful change. The intensifying class conflict in the hacienda is proof that his rule is no different from that of all previous regimes which served only the interests of big landlords, compradors and foreigners. It once again focuses the people’s attention on the oppression and poverty of the farmers and farmworkers in Hacienda Luisita as well as in many more haciendas in the country.

Since the establishment of the puppet republic, land reform programs adopted by ruling regimes have been invariably false and deceptive. Instead of ending feudal and semifeudal exploitation and oppression, they did nothing to alleviate the farmers’ plight which even worsened through the decades. Land has become more concentrated in the hands of old and new landlords and foreign imperialist corporations, thus raising the number of landless farmers.

Faced with worsening poverty and hunger, the peasantry is resorting to every possible avenue in its continuing struggle for genuine land reform. Whatever measure the reactionary regime undertakes to deceive, silence and suppress them, the farmers will tirelessly oppose the bogus CARP, its deceptive continuation in the form of CARPER, the SDO scheme and other similar tricks.

The masses of farmers and farmworkers know full well that the Cojuangco family will never give up the estate. Since the Cojuangcos inherited the hacienda from the Spanish colonizers and its further expansion in the decades that followed, the clan has lived off the sweat and blood of farmers and farmworkers. They are even more bent at holding on to the hacienda now that its commercial and semi-industrial operations are generating billions of pesos in revenues. Meanwhile, social justice is still denied the tillers of the land who created the wealth of the Cojuangcos.

The struggle in Hacienda Luisita has become the symbol of the nationwide struggle for genuine land reform. It has also become the focal point in the fight against the reactionary Aquino regime. Aquino's defense of the Cojuangcos in their vehement opposition to land reform has made clear his stand against the masses of farmers and farmworkers.

The struggle in Hacienda Luisita must be steadfastly pursued and held high as a rallying banner in all parts of the country. Let it spark other major struggles of the peasant masses and let it fan the flames of the peasantry’s nationwide struggle for genuine land reform in the face of all obstacles.

At the same time, agrarian revolution is proceeding nationwide. It is bound to make great strides alongside the advancement of the armed struggle and the establishment of revolutionary bases in the countryside.