Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Hacienda Luisita--a blessing or a curse

There must be something vicious and odious appended to the now infamous Hacienda Luisita. To this date, the bitter issues between the owners and tillers concerned refuse to be laid to rest. To start with - for record and recall - there were no less than two massacres connected with the said Sugarland and Sugar Central: The earlier one in a known "Mendiola Massacre" that had a bearing with Agrarian Reform in general, supposedly the centerpiece of the program of the then government the head of which however was directly linked with Hacienda Luisita itself. The later known as the "Hacienda Luisita Massacre" in fact took place within the much contested land itself that stood as some kind of symbol of anti-agrarian reform. Much blood were shed and many lives were lost - - on the part of the farmers as a matter of fact. And to this writing, the sugar estate remains a signal issue to all those concerned with its apparently addicted ownership. Thus it is that some question are repeatedly brought to fore.

What kept the present owners of the Hacienda Luisita continuously haunted since their purchase thereof? It is said that its previous owner, the Tabacalera, wanted payments in US$ which was facilitated by none other than the then Commander-in-Chief of a militarized government. It is further said that the same symbol of Martial Law made direct representation before Central Bank of the Philippines for the US$ payment.

Is it true that the same principals wanted only to buy the Azucarera but not the Hacienda? It eventually came to pass that both the said Sugar Central and Sugar Land concerned were thus purchased at the persistence of the said Tobacco Company. By the way, it is also interesting to know how and when the Central bank was paid in full for the US$ loan.

Is it true that a signal condition was attached to the sale in terms of an explicit proviso made by the seller that the buyer would sell the land to the farmers concerned at the cost price of its purchase from the said Tobacco Company? This proviso was precisely intended for the eventual realization of the Agrarian Reform of the Hacienda.

It is true that instead of the sale of the land to the farmers for no more than its purchase cost, they instead received strange "Shares of Stocks"? Furthermore, the hacienda has an impressive business hub fronting the main road of the Province of Tarlac. Is it true that the said distinct place was practically financed by public funds made possible by the then appointed Tarlac governor? And when the lahar phenomenon reached the province, it is true that government bulldozers and other equipment were brought to the Hacienda precisely in order to protect it from lahar encroachment?

Depending on the answers to the above questions, it is understandable that Hacienda Luisista is either a blessing - or a curse.

01 DECEMBER 2010