TARLAC City, Nov. 15, 2013—Amidst global relief efforts for victims of typhoon Yolanda, Hacienda Luisita farmers who were hit by typhoon Santi in October currently faced a man-made calamity of terror and impunity in the Cojuangco-Aquino-controlled sugar estate.
Farmers in Barangay Balete clashed with around 60 security guards of the Cojuangco firm Tarlac Development Corp. (TADECO) and the Tarlac City police headed by OIC P/Supt. Bayani Razalan November 13, after TADECO ordered the farmers’ eviction from agricultural lands aggressively claimed by the company.
After Typhoon Santi ravaged the farmers’ homes and crops in Hacienda Luisita, TADECO guards prevented residents from rebuilding their huts and ruthlessly demolished other huts repaired by farmers.
Luisita farmworkers’ alliance AMBALA acting chairperson Florida “Pong” Sibayan, a survivor of the 2004 Massacre; her 76-year-old mother, Maria Versola; and sister, Ermisa Baldeviano were injured in the scuffle .
A bulldozer had been in the area since 3 days ago.
The farmers’ vegetable crops were destroyed by TADECO guards yesterday morning, as a truck of soldiers belonging to the AFP Northern Luzon Command (NOLCOM) patrolled the area.
Farmers have occupied and tilled the farm lots since 2005, during the height of the Hacienda Luisita Strike. (Raymond Bandril)