Farmers still seek justice 10 years after ‘Luisita massacre’

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HACIENDA Luisita, Tarlac, Nov. 19, 2014—Ten years since the so-called Hacienda Luisita Massacre, farmers in the Cojuangco-owned land are still fighting for justice they believe they deserve.

In his interview over Church-run Radyo Veritas, Lito Baes, president of the Luisita Workers Union (LWU), asserted it is but proper to run after people who are responsible for the crime and to penalize them for it.

“It’s been ten years since the Hacienda Luisita Massacre … Until now justice hasn’t yet been served … Perpetrators of the atrocity are still able to walk freely,” he said.

Baes expressed hope that victims of the incident will receive the justice which Luisita workers have been seeking for years.

The tragedy at Luisita which left seven people dead and hundreds more injured was perpetrated by suspected members of the police and military force deployed in the area by then Labour Secretary Patricia Santo Tomás to storm a blockade by plantation workers on Nov. 16, 2004.

The protesters were peasants demanding fairer wages, increased benefits and, a greater commitment to national land reform.

Meanwhile, the head of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) issued a statement on Nov. 12 stressing that the issue of agrarian reform can only be justified when the government’s appropriation of privately-owned property serves the higher cause of social justice.

According to CBCP president Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas of Lingayen-Dagupan, land reform merely becomes “disguised confiscation” of private property by the State when it casts itself off from the “moral mooring” of social justice. (Raymond A. Sebastián)

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