Saturday, November 19, 2005

hacienda luisita and me

Sometime ago, some farmers from the Hacienda Luisita gave me a visit at Dagupan City. There were headed by a certain Ric Ramos. In so many words, I was kindly asked to help them in any little way I could. They made me understand how they were being abused, harassed and deceived. And they had but little means to survive.

Thereafter, every now and then on my way to Manila from Dagupan or the other way around, I go to a picket line of the farmers and bring them two sacks of rice. If I understand right, they have three picket lines. I go from one to another in giving them the rice. And whenever I find them cooking, infallibly their small old and beaten cooking pot had but some mixed vegetables being boiled for their food. At times, they had some little fish.

Every time I reach the guard house, a check is done on me, on my vehicle and on what I have in it. During my first visit, a lot of questions were asked and a lot of searches were made thereafter, there were but routine questions and checks. I guess the guards got used to me.

Not long ago murders and violence against the farmers were repeatedly done. The ritual of investigation is still going on. Lately Ric Ramos was assassinated. The ceremonies of investigation are again on. Needless to say, the farmers and their families are frightened and threatened. And the killers are neither found nor punished.

After the assassination of Ric Ramos, I went to the Hacienda to once more bring rice to the farmers. I saw that the first picket line was empty while the second one was burned. I found the farmers at the third and last picket line. They were with their families living in little tents closely put up near one another. They told me there were still soldiers staying in the Hacienda, some of them even without uniform. They fear for their lives. They asked me to tell their sad story. They thanked me for the visit. They begged me to come again.

There are many things said about me on the occasion of the juetengate II expose. Now, something new has been added to the different titles appended to my name. The Hacienda Luisita beneficiaries now call me “NPA Lover”. I beg them to know that justice and equity do not NPA’s make. In the same way, good governance does not make people go to the streets in dissent and resentment.

19 November 2005