KAKAMPI MO ANG BATAS: Anarchy, violence grip Hacienda Luisita PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 17 December 2011 14:56

BY Atty. BATAS MAURICIO

LIFE’S INSPIRATIONS: “… The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned…” (Isaiah 9:2, the Holy Bible).
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ANARCHY, VIOLENCE GRIP HACIENDA LUISITA: Anarchy, lawlessness and violence are erupting in the once peaceful Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac, ever since the Supreme Court released its decision ordering the distribution of the vast estate to 6,000 of its 10,000 or so farm workers a month ago, Tarlac Gov. Victor Yap and other provincial officials and ranking officers of the Philippine National Police were told last Thursday, December 15, 2011.

The reason, as found by Yap and his colleagues in the Capitol? Well, even as the tribunal’s decision is still pending reconsideration, many of the Hacienda’s 10,000 or so farm workers are now already staking claim to specific portions of the vast estate, forcibly appropriating for themselves the lands, and even burning with impunity the sugar cane and other agriculture products planted thereon by independent planters.

Yap met with the independent planters, numbering about 20, last Thursday, in connection with their request for police protection. The independent planters told Yap there is now a total breakdown of law and order at the Hacienda, as many people who claim to be farm workers have taken control of the lands in the estate despite the absence yet of guidelines as to how distribution is to be made, or who are to be awarded with the lands.
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REPORTS OF LAWLESSNESS REACH TARLAC GOV: Here are some of the reports of violence that Yap and Tarlac PNP officials received from the independent planters, already published by local media: Sherwin Sibal, an agro-industrial businessman, leased several hectares of idle land at the Hacienda from farm workers, and planted them with sugar cane with the aid of the farm workers themselves.

Last week, a group of unidentified people came and cut down Sibal’s cane crops. When he confronted the group, their leader told him that the produce is theirs, claiming they now have the exclusive authority over the land which, they said, was part of the land that was ordered distributed by the Supreme Court.

Mayor Noel Villanueva of Concepcion, Tarlac on the other hand, reported that some 44 hectares of his sugarcane field, located adjacent to the Hacienda, were burned by unidentified men also last week, while Boy Masanque, another independent investor, said that his young cane crops that were not yet ready for harvest were cut down by people claiming to be members of militant groups.

And as Yap and the independent planters were meeting, several men swooped down on the nursery area of Central Azucarera De Tarlac saying the land is theirs. A guard explained that the area is not a part of Hacienda Luisita as it is only the source of cane points that are distributed during planting season.  The men, however, insisted that the land is part of what they are claiming. The area is close to the residential area of the Cojuangco and Aquino families.
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DEADLY WAR AMONG FARM WORKERS TO ERUPT: All of these are just the start of something really explosive and volatile and, of course, deadly and destructive. At present, farmers (or people claiming to be farmers) are now concerned only with the lands that could be claimed from the Hacienda. But sooner or later, they would be concerned with claiming the lands already occupied by their fellow farm workers.

Since the Supreme Court decision directed the awarding of land to only 6,000 of the Hacienda’s 10,000 or so beneficiaries, a war is going to erupt, as sure as the sun rises and sets, among the farm workers themselves, who would be fighting to the death for an opportunity to own a part of the estate. The government must find a fast solution, or else, it will have the blood of many men and women in its hands.