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An Open Letter to Kris Aquino (SPOILER: It's about the Hacienda)
Dear Ms. Kris Aquino
Sometime in October, 2013, you assumed a new role as member of the board of directors of Central Azucarera de Tarlac. The news spread quickly among the good, decent, and hardworking farm workers and farmers at Hacienda Luisita and their supporters inside and outside of Tarlac.
Yes, in addition to being Queen of All Media, you are now a leader of the company in charge of an hacienda measuring 6,435 hectares, or roughly the size of Pasig and Makati combined. We dont know exactly why you accepted this role although many say it is in preparation for your candidacy for Tarlac governor, a post once held by your father. What is important to everyone though is that it acknowledges your familys enduring ownership of the hacienda.
Your new role comes with corporate responsibilities to CAT, social responsibilities to farm workers and farmers of Hacienda Luisita, and civic responsibilities to the country. The nation and the world now looks at what you would do.
We expect your most ardent fans to defend you no matter what. But they would surely love you more and you would gain the nations and the worlds respect if you would use your immense power and influence to do something remarkably different and make a break with the past.
It is now 2014 and we hope you are aware that the Philippines is more than a century behind on the issue of agrarian reform. Land redistribution in favor of the farm workers and farmers has long been proven to promote broad-based prosperity by lifting huge numbers of peasants from poverty and by fixing centuries-old grievances.
Your mothers CARP supposedly provided for agrarian reform. But since it was first enacted and later reenacted, agrarian reform still eludes farm workers and farmers while the grip of landlords has become tighter and more comprehensive over haciendas and vast landholdings, including Hacienda Luisita. No wonder, farmers are actually not totally excited that CARPer would soon become CARPest, if Congress approves yet another extension.
But we dont expect you to single-handedly solve the Hacienda Luisita and the national agrarian reform problem, mind you. At the very least, we expect that you help put an end to the arrests and detention of farm workers and farmers, and the bulldozing of their homes and the land where they plant crops for daily subsistence and for earning income in the meantime.
Yes, we know you dont like ugliness, and thus we ask you to use your power and influence to stop the ugly violence unleashed on farm workers and farmers.
Yes, we know you dont like abusive relationships, so are shocked by reports that bulldozers have been used to destroy crops planted by farm workers and farmers across the hacienda and their dwellings too.
Yes, we know you dont like violence especially against women, so we feel awful about the news that authorities arrested and detained last March 19 Florida Sibayan, the chairwoman of the Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid sa Asyenda Luisita.
Without the brutality and violence, it would be easier to read and make a reality the new, better script handed down by the Supreme Court in a decision dated April 24, 2012, which provides a great, final ending for the story of Hacienda Luisita and perhaps lead to great news elsewhere in the country.
If you would follow it, that script would make the hacienda directorship perhaps your most important role ever aside from being a mother -- never mind the Queen of All Media title. It is a tough and challenging role though that would require you to use your power and influence
The choice is totally yours whether to be a bida or a kontrabida. Now, the lights are on, cameras are rolling, and were waiting for you to act.
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