Rights groups tie bloodstained yellow ribbons at Aquino residence

Press Statement

November 12, 2014

Reference: Marie Hilao-Enriquez, Chairperson
Angge Santos, Media Liaison, +63918-9790580

http://karapatan.org/%2523HLMX%3A+Rights+groups+tie+blood-stained+yellow+ribbons+at+Aquino+residence+Hacienda+Luisita+massacre

Karapatan and members of the Unyon ng mga Mangagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) held a protest action today at the Aquino residence in Times Street, Quezon City as part of the 10th year observance of the infamous Hacienda Luisita massacre.

“The ‘prinsipyo o kaldero’ way of coercion of the Cojuangco-Aquino clan’s Yellow Army is very much alive to this day. Worst, it is nationwide in scope,” Marie Hilao-Enriquez, Karapatan chairperson said as their group tied bloodied yellow ribbons starting from the Aquino ancestral house, to the posts and trees along Examiner St. and Quezon Ave.

The Cojuangco-Aquino clan enjoyed and maintained a private army called the ‘Yellow Army’ at the Hacienda Luisita to coerce and pacify farmworkers in the late 1980’s,” Enriquez explained.

Members of the “Yellow Army” are Israeli and British trained paramilitary forces at the hacienda. Both the 300 members of the yellow army and the 90 supervisors of the Tarlac Development Corporation (TADECO) were armed to force farmworkers to choose the stock distribution option (SDO) scheme over land distribution, then called the ‘kaldero’ over ‘prinsipyo’. “If they chose ‘prinsipyo’ or land distribution, the supervisors refused to accept back the farm workers to work and the yellow army harassed them,” Enriquez said.

“It has been 10 years since the massacre. BS Aquino was at the time a congressional representative of Tarlac. Now that he is President, he has not only continued to use state machineries to maintain control of the hacienda but has also made the Armed Forces of the Philippines and other paramilitary groups all over the country to be part of his ‘yellow army’,” Enriquez said.

“The BS Aquino’s use of thugs in order to get what he and his family wants shows his real character of a blood thirsty warlord,” Enirquez said. “No such person should be in the government,” she added.

Enriquez cited the extrajudicial killing of Dionisio Garete, a sugar cane farmer and member of Panay Fair Trade Center (PFTC), an organization of local sugar farmers in Panay Garete was killed on March 14, 2014, two months after the killing of Romeo Capalla, former executive director of the PFTC. Garete was believed to have been gunned down by a paramilitary group Revolutionary Proletarian Army -Alex Boncayao Brigade (RPA-ABB). In a fact-finding mission, the police officials told the investigating team that whenever they arrest a suspected RPA-ABB, they would get a call from someone in Malacanang ordering the release of the suspects. There are some 80 charges against the RPA-ABB.

“In Hacienda Luisita, the TADECO hired guards, the police and the 701st IBPA are the new yellow army,” Enriquez said. The TADECO guards were reported to harass residents, set houses on fire, bulldozed farmlands used by Luisita farmers and beat-up residents to prevent them from tilling the lands.

“After 10 years of the Luisita workers strike, our call continues. Distribute Hacienda Luisita to each and every farm worker! Justice to the victims of the Aquino-Conjuanco massacre in Hacienda Luisita! Pull out the yellow armies in the communities and dismantle paramilitary groups,” Enriquez ended. ###

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Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights

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KARAPATAN is an alliance of human rights organizations and programs, human rights desks and committees of people’s organizations, and individual advocates committed to the defense and promotion of people’s rights and civil liberties. It monitors and documents cases of human rights violations, assists and defends victims and conducts education, training and campaign.