noynoy, etta, luisita

read this open letter by akbayan’s etta rosales to for senator benigno aquino 3rd in the manila times today but can’t find it in the online edition.   googled it instead and found  ellen tordesillas‘ blog post.

Dear Noynoy,

I write you as friend and former colleague in Congress re Hacienda Luisita, an issue that involves not just your family and the farmers of Tarlac but, of larger import, the issue of land and the crisis of food production threatened by climate change. I make this an open letter to include in our conversation the people who have clamored for you to run for president.

November 16 marks the day when seven farmers of Tarlac were killed initially and scores injuredby security forces that attacked protesting farmers pressing to open the gates of the Hacienda. It is therefore no surprise that the issue has surfaced in a broadsheet and will continue to be the subject of media reports to get your position on the matter.

The following points may be helpful for us to consider.

We are all committed to seeking a peaceful and just solution to the issue of Hacienda Luisita farmers. This is in line with the spirit of social justicedefined by international law on human rights, the 1987 Charter and tenets of the newly passed CARPER law (although some of its provisions remain controversial, as they represent views from recalcitrant landed interests).

Perhaps we can address specific issues on the ground and resolve them from a rights-based perspective, the underpinnings of governance that ensures government for all and not just for a few.

One, while you may not have been aware, it is true that Hacienda Luisita Inc. issued a letter stating that all occupants must vacate the land end-October. This triggered strong emotions from farmers who had occupied the land as a matter of survival, which occupation followed the paralysis of organized production with the tragic killings of November 16 and shortly after (a total of fourteen farm workers were killed).

Two, it is equally true that some of the occupying farm workers did rent out the land they occupiedto those who were financially capable of using the land for crops they wanted to plant. It must have been a matter of survival – they had nothing to eat, they had zero income, they had no capital for production. Renting out was a way of making both ends meet while the land reform question remains pending. One can readily conclude that it mattered less to the farmers that the renters were insiders or outsiders, farm workers or not. To provide food and shelter for the family was paramount.

Three, the issue of Stock Distribution Option (SDO) as an agrarian reform scheme precedes CARPER; it was in Section 31 of the original CARP. We now have to deal with the new law.

Four, SDO likewise preceded your run for the presidency; you inherited a problem that needs to be resolved peacefully but with dispatch for the common good. This is especially urgent in the light of the emerging food crisis where climate change has affected not just Philippine rice fields but also fields from Vietnam and Taiwan, traditional sources of imported rice.

Five, when farmers lack capital to produce crops, they will not hesitate to reach out to outsiders to rent their lands. Sending notices to the farmers to rid them of non-SDO members does not alleviate the hardship. It merely exposes the problem of the dearth of capital and support services.

Six, the only guarantee that support services can be provided the farm workers is after the land has been fully and completely awarded to them by the DAR. And this is at least a possibility under the CARPER framework.

Seven, AKBAYAN is committed to the call for land redistribution in Hacienda Luisita and we hope that our current alliance with the Liberal Party will hasten and facilitate the enforcement of this call. We look forward to a meaningful and long-term solution to Hacienda Luisita anchored on social justice, human rights and an ecology-based system for sustainable development.

Your friend as always,

Etta P. Rosales
AKBAYAN Chair Emeritus


  1. Die-hard NoyPi

    To Etta, thank you for spelling out the position of the Left vis-a-avis HLI. Since Nonoy-mar and the LP is the front runner in this campaign to wrest political power from the illegitimate GMA govt, it has become imperative for Nonoy’s moral responsibility to address the issue not from a dis-interested party to a legal battle but to cater to the leftist propaganda to put a wedge between the Landlord against powerless farmers. Noynoy must define his stand clearly by not putting the cart before the horse but putting the horse before the cart as the saying goes. First, is it not the Cojuangco clan the primary culprit to this injustice or some legal anomaly which the court can only settle given the existng CARP law. Why single-out Noynoy who is not part of the Management and only a minor inherited stockholder. Why not include Gibo Teodoro, Danding and the whole Cojuanco clan???? Lets be fair in our advocacy for good governance.


  2. Kahit pa maliit ang hati niya, tumatakbo siyang presidente. Na nangangako ng pagbabago. Bukod pa sa kongresista siya sa Luisita noong panahon ng masaker, at siya ang tagapagsalita ng pamilya niya noon sa isyu.

    Bakit biglang iwas-pusoy siya?

    Tapos ang ugat ng usapin sa Luisita ay ang ginawa ng nanay niya para makaiwas sa CARP, ang SDO.

    So dapat talaga siyang pagsalitain.

  3. Die-hard NoyPi

    TO Gng.TEO: Tama po kayo, dapat lang mag-salita Siya dahil tumatakbong El Presidente. at nag-salita na po siya , pero HINDI ayun sa gusto niyong SAGOT na may paki-alam siya sa mga desisyon ng mga NAKAKARAMI, Ergo, nasan po ang the “rule of the Majority in a Democrtic Process” within the parameters of law na hinanap ninyo??????

  4. Cristy Fermin

    noynoy hindi ka malinis. yan lang ang masasabi ko. isa ka sa nagpa clear out ng mga nag rally sa hacienda luisita kung saan merong mga namatay. may dugo ang mga kamay mo. makakarma ka noynoy. matatalo ka sa may 10. iiyak lahat ng mga aquino sa may 10.

  5. Nelsona

    Ang Hacienda Luisita ang pinaka-Acid test ng leadership ni Pres. Noynoy. Ngayong Presidente na siya gusto kung makita na mabigyan niya ito ng atensyon sa kanyang first 100 days. Pag nagawa niyang ipamigay ito, bibilib ako sa kanya. Napaka-importante ng bagay na ito sapagka’t ang CARPER ay isang batas na dapat ipatupad ng isang Pangulo sinoman ang masagasaan. Kung hindi niya ito maipatutupad sa sariling bakuran niya, mahihirapan siyang ipatupad ito sa bakuran ng iba. Pag hindin niya pinatupad ito ay ito na ang simula ng pagkawala ng tiwala ng taong bayan sa kanya kahit na yong mga bumoto sa kanya. Magmatyag tayo!