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ILPS Condemns the Massacre of 14 Workers and Children and the Wounding of Hundreds at Hacienda Luisita
Press Statement
21 November 2004

By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Chairperson, ILPS International Coordinating Committee

In the strongest terms, the International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS) condemns the Arroyo regime and its military and police minions for the massacre of 14 peaceful and unarmed protestors, including two children aged 2 and 5 years old, and the wounding of hundreds by gunfire at Hacienda Luisita on Tarlac, Philippines.

We are outraged by this brutal act of murder by military, police forces, and hired goons of the Cojuangco-Aquino family, owners of the 6000 hectare sugarcane plantation and sugar milling central where the protestors and their families were striking. As president of the Philippine reactionary government, Corazon Cojunagco-Aquino devised the trick of selling small token shares of stocks to farm workers in order to exempt the hacienda from land reform.

Farmworkers and other workers of Hacienda Luisita have been on strike for the last 3 weeks. Their just demands for land and a decent livelihood include just wages, hospitalization benefits, a re-instatement of over 300 workers that had been illegally dismissed, and the equal distribution of land in a large part of the hacienda. For these legitimate demands, more than 5,000 workers at Hacienda Luisita have been unyielding in their strike. The ILPS applauds their brave resistance.

In reaction to such organized resistance, President Macagapal-Arroyo and the Cojuangco-Aquino family responded with utter viciousness and cruel violence. Three armored personnel carriers, tens of fire and military trucks, and an artillery of tear gas, water cannons and high-powered rifles were unleashed on the peaceful strikers on 16 November 2004. As a result of the violent dispersal, 14 are dead, hundreds were wounded and 133 were arrested,

This heinous act of state terrorism in support of a landlord family underscores the unjust character of the ruling system and the gravity of its crisis. The reactionary state is increasingly using violence to
protect the interests of the big compradors and landlords as the bankruptcy of the policies of imperialist globalization lay exposed and the people’s unrest grows.

President Macapagal-Arroyo cannot hide behind pretenses of democracy and development as she sinks the Philippines in poverty and misery by letting the imperialists and the local exploiting classes ride roughshod over the people, incurring huge budgetary and trade deficits and a colossal foreign debt. Her regime is increasingly unleashing state terrorism in order to suppress the people’s resistance and allow the foreign and domestic exploiters to continue plundering the country.

The ILPS calls on its over 300 participating organizations around the globe and all the people who are for justice, freedom and peace to condemn the massacre at Hacienda Luisita. We stand and fight for
justice to be rendered to those stain, wounded, unjustly arrested and all the workers in Hacienda Luisita. We are resolutely in solidarity with the strikers and all the farm workers in Hacienda Luisita and with the Filipino people and their mass organizations.

Adding insult to the death and injury of the workers and children, the reactionary state, including high civilian, military and police officials, and the owners of Hacienda Luisita are now trying to blame
the victims for their deaths and injuries and spreading the lie that “outsiders” have instigated the striking workers. The Arroyo regime and the military and police agencies are producing investigation reports and issuing press statements aimed at whitewashing their crimes and scapegoating the victims themselves.

It is necessary for the mass organizations in the Philippines, including those in the Philippine chapter of ILPS, to carry out campaigns of information and mass protests to denounce the reactionary violence at Hacienda Luisita and to raise higher the consciousness and militancy of the broad masses of the people against the unjust, rotten, corrupt and brutal character of the reactionary state of big compradors and landlords.###

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