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Philippines: Police, armed thugs attack peasants during typhoon tragedy

Statement by Communist Party of the Philippines |
November 19, 2013
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Fight Back News Service is circulating the following Nov. 19 statement from the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)

Condemn destruction of farms, attacks against peasants in Luisita during height of Yolanda tragedy — CPP

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) today denounced the Aquino regime and the Aquino-Cojuangco landlord clan for destroying several hectares of land planted with fruit trees and vegetables in the collective farms being cultivated by peasant masses in Hacienda Luisita.

“The Aquino-Cojuangco clan, through the Tarlac Development Corporation (Tadeco) and Hacienda Luisita Inc., with the support and protection of the police forces of the Aquino regime, had the bungkalan areas destroyed using bulldozers manned by armed guards on 12 November, at the height of the tragedy wrought by supertyphoon Yolanda in the Visayas” said the CPP, citing field reports.

“While all of the Filipino people’s attention was geared towards extending assistance to the victims of the Yolanda tragedy, the Aquino-Cojuangcos were insidiously carrying out their plan to drive away the several hundred peasant workers from the land they have long been cultivating,” said the CPP.

“According to reports of local residents, the Aquino-Cojuangco clan ordered the uprooting of trees and crops in the 880-hectare land within the scope of Barangay Balete and Barangay Cutcut,” said the CPP. Tadeco has also filed trumped-up charges of trespassing against at least 80 peasant workers in the area.

“The day after, at least 60 armed goons of Tadeco demolished the homes and other structures built by the peasant masses in the area, causing injuries to peasant leader Florida Sibayan, her siblings and their 76-year old mother, when they were violently shoved by the armed goons,” pointed out the CPP. “Aquino’s national police force were behind the Tadeco armed goons all the while they were attacking the peasant workers.”

The peasants of Hacienda Luisita have long been asserting ownership of the 4,500-hectare sugar estate. In 2005, members of the Alyansa ng mga Mabubukid sa Asyenda Luisita (Ambala or Peasant Alliance in Hacienda Luisita) started to collectively cultivate several hundred hectares of land to grow fruit trees and vegetables for their own consumption and to supply the market.

Despite successive land reform laws, Hacienda Luisita has largely remained under the control of the Aquino-Cojuangco landlord clan. The current Philippine reactionary president, Benigno Aquino III, is a scion of the Aquino-Cojuangcos.