QUEZON City, Nov. 18, 2014—The Promotion of Church People’s Response (PCPR), a national ecumenical organization composed of Catholic, Aglipayan, and Protestant pro-poor advocates, held a two-day joint caravan to Hacienda Luisita from Nov. 15 – 16 to mark the 10th year anniversary of what has been dubbed the “Hacienda Luisita Massacre” of 2004.
The tragic incident saw seven people dead, while hundreds more injured, allegedly perpetated by members of the police and military sent by then Labour Secretary Patricia Santo Tomás to storm a blockade by plantation workers at the Cojuangco-owned Hacienda Luisita, Tarlac on Nov. 16, 2004.
The protesters were peasants clamoring for fairer wages, increased benefits and, a greater commitment for national land reform.
To make it clear that the tone of the caravan will be one of protest, PCPR quoted Job 20:18-20 which says: “For they crushed and abandoned the poor, they have seized a house that they did not build. They knew no quiet in their bellies; in their greed they let nothing escape.”
On Nov. 15, the protesters had a Solidarity March to Mendiola at 9 a.m., followed by the caravan from Mendiola to Hacienda Luisita, Tarlac at 1 p.m. This was followed by a Cultural Night in Brgy. Balete, Hacienda Luisita.
An ecumenical liturgy was held on Nov. 16 at Gate 1 Central Azucarera de Tarlac, Hacienda Luisita, followed by a caravan around Hacienda Luisita. Participants had an ecumenical service held again at Gate 1 before the caravan to Tarlac City where a short program was held. The groups then returned to Manila after the caravan to San Miguel. (Raymond A. Sebastián)