Friday, November 28, 2014

HACIENDA OF PEPETUAL FRUSTRATION


It started rather well when a corporation obtained its ownership which eventually attended not only the planting of sugar cane by local farmers in some four thousand and five hundred hectares of land – the “Hacienda” - but also to attend to the construction of a building precisely intended for producing sugar from the harvested sugar canes – the “Azucarera”. It came to pass that a wealthy clan eventually purchased not only the land but also the building for a total and absolute ownership of the property as a whole – with the simple farmers not exactly knowing the significance and implications of the business transaction made.

So the farmers went on planting and getting their share of the produce of their labor until the time came when they felt being denied fair remuneration for their back-breaking labor. Then came a new government the head of which was precisely identified with the Hacienda-Azucarera ownership. After some time, the said highest public official in the land declared “Land Reform” as the centerpiece program of the national government. So it was that the reform took place all over the Country – specifically except in conjunction with the Hacienda where instead of land distribution, the farmers got their enigmatic “Shares of Stocks Certificates”. And the “Hacienda Perpetual Frustration” began, and as a matter of fact, continues to this date and time.

Never mind the long and bitter strikes of the farmers that made them and their families suffer from hunger and want – a pitiful phenomenon somehow alleviated by certain food donors moved by pity with the thought of the David (farmers) and Goliath (Hacienda) confrontation. Never mind too even if no less than members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines put up a Station in the Hacienda itself to put the striking farmers under control.

Never mind the infamous “Mendiola Massacre” when a rather big number of helpless farmers and their sympathizers gathered to protest the predicament they were in. And the hideous memory vividly remains that some of them were gunned down without pity nor reserve.

Never mind the well-remembered “Tarlac Murders” where some striking Hacienda workers were downright shot and killed – with a kind and old Aglipayan bishop said to be counted among them. When this took place, a certain “Mr. Aquino” was then Representative of the 2nd District of the Province of Tarlac.

Never mind the prompt, ready and immediate Impeachment of a Chief Justice for having dared to pronounce – together with his co-Justices – that the Hacienda should be parceled among the farmers concerned basically in accord with the letter and spirit of the Agrarian Reform Law.

And never mind that up to this date and time, the Hacienda is up and about, the massacre perpetrators remain unknown, the murderers are unpunished and the Chief Justice remains under inquiry. So it is that the infamous Hacienda rightly stands for perpetual frustration.