November 16th 2009
Statement by BAYAN Canada
Today marks the 5th year anniversary of the brutal Hacienda Luisita massacre when elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and police opened fire on striking workers at the Cojuangco-owned plantation. After the hail of bullets ended, seven striking workers were dead and 200 wounded. 120 workers and activists were rounded up and arrested because of their democratic participation in the strike.
The plantation farmers and sugar mill workers were striking against the unbelievable P9.50 (0.22 CAD) daily wage and the union-busting activities employed by the Cojuangcos — one of the biggest landlords and political dynasties in the country. These farmers and workers are victims of the bogus stock distribution scheme perpetrated by the Cojuangcos to avoid land reform.
Even after five years not a single person has been held accountable for the murder and assaults that took place on the hacienda. Not only has the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo regime failed to punish the perpetrators of these crimes, they have failed to properly investigate over 1000 murders, and over 200 enforced disappearances, of activist and civilians attributed to military-led death squads since her ascension in 2001.
UN Special Rapporteur Philip Alston has criticized the Arroyo regime for failing to bring justice to the murdered and for creating a culture of impunity. The Philippine government’s own Melo Commission attributed much of the killings to the military and specifically to Jovito Palparan, promoted to brigadier general by the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo regime after his butchery in different parts of the country. Palparan is now a member of Congress.
Since 2005, Canadian based Philippine solidarity groups and progressive Filipino organizations, as well as Canadian trade unionists and human rights advocates have gone on fact-finding missions and exposures with the different people’s organizations in the Hacienda. All have come back testifying to the continuing human rights violations and the blatant cloud of impunity for the murderous security forces under the Arroyo regime. More importantly, many were moved by the people’s resolve to gain justice in the name of the Hacienda Luisita Martyrs.
Justice for the victims of the Hacienda Luisita massacre!
Justice for the victims of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances!
Stop the killings in the Philippines!
Genuine Land Reform Now!