Hacienda Luisita farmers remember martyrs of bloody 2004 rally

Posted at 11/17/2008 12:09 AM | Updated as of 11/17/2008 12:09 AM
"Justice to martyrs of Hacienda Luisita"

Carrying flags, banners and placards, farmers of Hacienda Luisita held a protest march in Tarlac Sunday morning.

They were commemorating the deaths of seven farmers who died during a rally in front of the Central Azucarera de Tarlac in 2004.

Four years after the killing the United Luisita Workers Union said justice remains elusive for the farmers who died defending their land.

Florida Sibaya survived the shooting and she showed ABS-CBN News her bullet wound. She said they were just fighting for their rights.

Families of the victims, like Mang Gabriel and Aling Cresencia said they are continuing the fight in memory of their lost son, Juancho Sanchez.

In a short program the seven farmers were honored as martyrs of Hacienda Luisita.

Lita Mariano, Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luzon secretary general, said farmers are also calling for the abolition of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program. They said CARP has failed to address the needs of the farmers.

Meanwhile, the management of Central Azucarera de Tarlac denied all the charges raised by the protesting farmers.

Resident manager Herman Gregorio said operations at the hacienda will remain normal and they are leaving the matter to the Supreme Court (SC).

“We will just wait and follow the Supreme Court's decision,” said Gregorio

Since the SC issued a temporary retraining order, status quo ruled over the contested 4,957 hectares of agricultural land in Hacienda Luisita.

And while waiting for the result, a multi-sectoral meeting is being planned to settle the unrest.