Never forget the Hacienda Luisita 14

On November 16, let’s all say a prayer for the souls of the 14 massacre victims of Hacienda Luisita.

Let not their fate be glossed over by supporters of Noynoy Aquino’s bid for the presidency. Let not Noy wash his hands over this issue the Aquino and Cojuangco families have sat on for so long.

In commemoration of this day of infamy, I am reproducing the full column of The Philippine Daily Inquirer’s Conrado de Quiros who so poignantly captured the plight of Hacienda Luisita’s oppressed.

It is doubly interesting because, yes, Quiros now sings Noy’s praises. Maybe he was paid in bloodied Luisita bills, just like the jewelry Kris Aquino so blatantly branded as “katas ng Luisita” on national TV.

There’s The Rub: Broke

By Conrado de Quiros

Inquirer News Service

Note: Published on page A14 of the November 22, 2004 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer

“HERE is a land in which a few are spectacularly rich while the masses remain abjectly poor. Gleaming suburbia clashes with the squalor of the slums. Here is a land consecrated to democracy but run by an entrenched plutocracy. Here, too, are a people whose ambitions run high, but whose fulfillment is low and mainly restricted to the self-perpetuating elite. Here is a land of privilege and rank-a republic dedicated to equality but mired in an archaic system of caste.”

The one who said this was not Ka Paeng or Ka Pepe, it was Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino. He said this in an article in 1968 in the US journal Foreign Affairs. This was typical of what politicians and radicals alike were saying before martial law, particularly to warn that the country was a “social volcano” all set to explode. Aquino himself suggested the way by which the explosion might be averted: “The wealth that the oligarchy rapaciously covets and hoards must get down to the masses in the form of roads, bridges and schools; these are what the tao understands as good or bad government.”

I remarked in the book “Dead Aim”: “Caught in the rapture of his eloquence, Aquino forgot that his in-laws owned a hacienda that stretched as far as the eye could see. And one that would remain untouched by land reform two decades later.”

The past comes back to haunt. As indeed do Cory’s own words, when she promised during the “snap elections” that the first thing she would do was subject Hacienda Luisita to land reform. What a difference a month makes, which was all the time it took from the “snap elections” to Cory replacing Marcos, which turned out to be a sea of change not just in the political landscape of the nation but in the moral outlook of the new governors. That was all the time it took for Cory to forget her vow.

Hacienda Luisita will always be a festering sore. It will always be the symbol of the failure of Edsa to move the country from tyranny to democracy, if by democracy is also meant-as Ninoy argued-the pushing back of oligarchic rule. You can’t have a more oligarchic rule than feudal rule, which takes place in Hacienda Luisita notwithstanding its seemingly capitalist conversion into an industrial enclave. All the conversion shows is that, as in the days of the feudal manor, serfs are owned by their landlords body and soul. They can be told to do anything, including to agree to “stock option.” Their well-being is a matter of manorial beneficence. They have no more power to determine the future of Hacienda Luisita, or their share of its profits, than beggars have the power to determine the amount of alms they can get from prospective donors.

Noynoy Aquino says leftists goaded the workers in Hacienda Luisita, who have been complaining about their lot, to strike. Well, so what? At the very least, try goading workers who have no deep-seated grievance to strike and see how far you’ll get-these days, particularly, when work is harder to come by than honesty in GMA’s government. Maybe leftists goaded the workers in Hacienda Luisita to strike-I can believe it-but they could not have succeeded if the workers were not ripe for the goading.

At the very most, workers have a right to strike. One would imagine congressmen would know that. A strike is neither illegal nor immoral, it is sanctioned by the Constitution and enshrined in the tradition of the workers’ movement. Only Lucio Tan and now Ninoy’s namesake think it is not.

While at this, if leftists had not goaded workers, farmers, students and other sectors to mount national strikes, or “welgang bayan,” during martial law, the Aquinos would not be there. It was the efforts of the leftists to goad Filipinos to fight sleep in the early years of martial law that assured they would be awake to react to the murder of Ninoy much later.

Cory cannot understand why the workers refuse to accept her offer of sympathy and prayers for the dead? Well, if I recall right, Cesar Virata had to scurry away from Sto. Domingo Church after conveying to her the sympathy and prayers of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos for the death of her husband. He feared being torn limb from limb. The sympathy and prayers of the one who caused you grief are never welcome. The life of Ninoy is not more important than the lives of the 14 workers who died in the blaze of gunfire from goons in the uniforms of cops and soldiers last Tuesday. Other than in oligarchic reckoning, which deems the lives of serfs as nothing compared to that of the lord of the manor.

“If it ain’t broke,” says Department of Agrarian Reform chief Rene Villa, “why fix it?” That is his reaction to calls for a review of the “stock option” plan.

What, the corpses of 14 workers strewn over a dusty road in Hacienda Luisita are not a sign something is broke? Again, maybe it’s true leftists goaded the workers to strike. But as I wrote a long time ago, when Isidro Cariño, then the education secretary, said the same thing about the 3,000 public school teachers who went on strike against him, and vowed to hunt the goaders down, the words of leftists are nothing compared to the flailing of hunger. And hunger has no address.

But the 14 corpses lying on the ground point to something broke that’s even bigger than that Hacienda Luisita hasn’t been land-reformed. That is, that the foundations of democracy in this country are crumbling. No, more than that, that is, that the moral foundations of this country are crashing. Power has made people forget what it means to lose a loved one to tyranny.

Ninoy Aquino might have been talking of today when he said: “Here is a land consecrated to democracy but run by an entrenched plutocracy. Here is a land of privilege and rank-a republic dedicated to equality but mired in an archaic system of caste.”

9 Comments

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9 responses to “Never forget the Hacienda Luisita 14

  1. help us..
    Ipaglaban ang mga biktima ng hacienda luisita massacre!

    11.16

    http://luisitamagsasaka.wordpress.com/

  2. Money Bilyar

    I strongly believe the yellow symbol itself is not the sole symbol of Noynoy, Cory, nor Ninoy himself – but the symbol of democracy and freedom from tyranny and dictatorship. Tainting with the symbol is blatant insult to what the Filipinos has achieved – that is lasting democracy. If anyone is against Noynoy then it’s more appropriate to “splat” the blood right into his large face photo – rather than tamper with the yellow symbol of democracy. And to think Cory has ruled the country with unparalled honesty and integrity even with their minor 5% stake in Luisita in her term.

    As if the Aquinos has the sole power to command Luisita by themselves! Stake holder people – Stake holder! Exagerrating the blame on a meager 5%-stake holder is just plain dumb and stupid.

    EXPLAIN THAT TO THE HACIENDA LUISITA WORKERS WHO SHED BLOOD AND GAVE THEIR LIVES TO GET WHAT IS RIGHTFULLY THEIRS. IF “TAINTING” THE YELLOW RIBBON WITH BLOOD IS AN INSULT TO FILIPINOS, THEN IT IS AN EVEN BIGGER INSULT FOR NOYNOY TO USE THE YELLOW RIBBON AS HIS PERSONAL THEME. TO SAY THAT THE AQUINOS HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH WHAT HAPPENS AT THE HACIENDA IS STUPID. IT IS ONE AND THE SAME FAMILY.

    • Money Bilyar

      If Noynoy is stupid for using the yellow symbol then so be it – he is stupid. But just because he’s stupid enough to use it doesn’t give anyone the right to tamper with the yellow symbol.

      I am not saying that Aquinos have nothing to do with events concerning Hacienda Luisita – even with a meager 5% stake they have a say. But the question is can they really dictate things with that meager stake? Can they rule Luisita with iron hand with a minor stake? Exaggeration is Stupid enough!

      If all Aquinos are stupid/foolish as some claim them to be, then how do you call the families/clans of the other presidential bets? Adam Families? or more likely Hell Families

  3. Money Bilyar

    If Noynoy is stupid for using the yellow symbol then so be it – he is stupid. But just because he’s stupid enough to use it doesn’t give anyone the right to tamper with the yellow symbol.

    I am not saying that Aquinos have nothing to do with events concerning Hacienda Luisita – even with a meager 5% stake they have a say. But the question is can they really dictate things with that meager stake? Can they rule Luisita with iron hand with a minor stake? Exaggeration is Stupid enough!

    If all Aquinos are stupid/foolish as some claim them to be, then what how do you call the families/clans of the other presidentiable bets? Adam Families? or more likely Hell Families

    • If you say they can’t dictate on what happens on one piece of land then God help us if Noynoy becomes president. Will you make excuses for him too when he screws up?

      • Money Bilyar

        Cory have become president with them owning a minor stake in Luisita. Did that in any way affected her intentions of ruling the country with integrity and honesty? If Noynoy screws up when he wields power then so be it. No excuses. I will personally go against him if he screws big time and not fulfill his promise of lessening corruption and ruling with unquestionable honesty. This time when GMA’s era has been rigged with countless charges of graft and corruption – I would rather take my chances on the candidate who’s main platform promises to get rid of it, than the ones who promises to get the economy up and then reaps the fruit of it for his own self-interest afterward.

  4. in remembrance of the hacienda luisita massacre victims
    http://snipsandstuff.blogspot.com/

  5. in remembrance of the hacienda luisita massacre victims
    http://snipsandstuff.blogspot.com

  6. pinaytunay

    (tweaked by Maria Elizabeth Embry)

    Hacienda Luisita, 42 years Blowin’ in the Wind (1968-2010

    How many more Hacienda Luisita farmers must die

    Before we can call ’em owners of their land?

    Yes, ‘n’ how many Laws they must passed

    Before you can call it an Agrarian Reform Law?

    Yes, ‘n’ how many more farmers the guards must slay

    Before you can say it is enough?

    The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind,

    The answer, indeed is blowin’ in the wind.

    How many times must Hacienda Luisita farmers fight

    Before they can see the end of their plight?

    Yes, ‘n’ how many ears must one man have

    Before he can hear the farmer cry?

    Yes, ‘n’ how many massacres will it take till Noynoy wakes up

    That too many Hacienda Luisita sakadas have died?

    The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind,

    The answer, indeed is blowin’ in the wind.

    How many years can the Hacienda Luisita farmer’s plea exists

    Before it’s heard by y’all?

    Yes, ‘n’ how many years can Hacienda Luisita farmers complain

    Before they’re allowed to be right?

    Yes, ‘n’ how many times can some people turn their heads,

    Pretending they just do not see?

    The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind,

    The answer, indeed is blowin’ in the wind.

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