Tuesday, December 14, 2004

NR1212: CBCP should intervene in investgtns of Luisita killings

Mula sa Tanggapan ni Anakpawis Rep. Crispin B. Beltran
News Release December 12 , 2004
House of Representatives, South Wing Rm 602
931-6615 Ina Alleco R. Silverio, chief of staff
Email: paggawa@edsamail.com.ph, anakpawis2003@yahoo.com
Celphone number 09213907362
Visit geocities.com/ap_news

Rep. Beltran urges CBCP to take witnesses, families of victims of Luisita
Massacre under its protective wing and custody

Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran today sounded the alarm for the
leaders of the Central Luzon chapters of Anakpawis and the Kilusang Magbubukid
ng Pilipinas and their member local peasant and labor organizations, saying
that their lives were in immediate danger from attacks of the Armed Forces of
the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP). Beltran said
that the continuing murder of human rights advocates has worsened, and now
unionists and peasant leaders are being openly targeted for 'liquidation.'

"Leaders of militant people's organizations in Central Luzon including human
rights advocates and their legal counsels are now in danger of being
assassinated. It's impossible not to see Marcellino Beltran's cold-blooded
murder last December 8 as a warning. From whom we have yet to conclude, but we
have very strong suspicions. In whatever case, the perpetrators were military,
and its certain that the military is hellbent on killing off more witnesses of
the Hacienda Massacre and leaders of the unions," he said.

"Everything must be done to protect the witnesses and the families of the
victims who have bravely stepped forward to testify," he said.

Beltran asked the Catholic church leaders led by the Catholic Bishops Conference
of the Philippines (CBCP) and other catholic organizations to speak up against
the violence in Hacienda Luisita and the worsening militarization in Central
Luzon. He said that that the CBCP should take the Hacienda Luisita workers
and farmworkers under its protective wing and custody, and assist in the

"Perhaps if the Catholic Church leadership would take a more active role and
intervene in the investigations if only on humanitarian grounds, the killings
would lessen, if not stop."

Finally, Beltran said that Tuesday's 3rd hearing of the Hacienda Luisita
Massacre of November 16 should be more incisive and zoom in on the main reasons
for the volatile situation in Hacienda Luisita and Central Luzon.

"It's the unjust, inhumane and immoral administration of the Cojuangco family
over lands that should have long ago been turned over to the rightful owners -
the farmers, farmworkers and their families. The Stock Distribution Option
(SDO) of 1987 has made sure that the Cojuangcos will keep their stranglehold
over the Hacienda and its resources, while maintaining the grinding poverty of
thousands of families. Governments since the Aquino regime have not lifted a
finger to resolve the land crisis in Tarlac the same way they have done
anything to remedy the nationwide lack of genuine agrarian reform and
provisions and subsidies for agriculture," he said.

"Cementing all this is the interference of the military acting as guardians and
protectors of the Hacienda and the Cojuangco's exploitation and abuse of the
farmworkers and azucarera workers," he sid. "It's quite possible that the
Cojuangcos are contributing millions to the police and military operations in
the region, not just around the Hacienda."#


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