Duterte on Hacienda Luisita massacre: 'violence could have been avoided...'

Photo from GMA news (ctto)

Manila, Philippines - President Rodrigo Duterte said on Tuesday that violent incidents at Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac could have been prevented if only former President Corazon Aquino included the sugar plantation owned by her family in the land reform program.

“How many killings took place there? Marami ang namatay dun. Sana sinali niya ang [Hacienda] Luisita,” said Duterte in his speech during the oath-taking of the newly elected officers of the League of Provinces of the Philippines in Malacanang.

The President was referring to the November 2004 violent incident that killed 14 plantation workers of the Cojuangco-owned Hacienda Luisita. 

In that incident, 14 farm workers were killed and hundreds of others were injured when government forces opened fire on them in front of the gates of the Central Azucarera de Tarlac.

“More than 100 persons died there along the way in the implementation of the land reform. It could have been avoided kung pati yung [Hacienda] Luisita sinali niya na noon. She was the President. She was in control of everything,” the President said.

Hacienda Luisita used to occupy 6,435 hectares but over the years, portions of land have been sold to industrial companies.

Former President Aquino made land reform the highlight of her administration’s social legislative agenda. However, her family background and social class as a privileged daughter of a wealthy clan became a source of criticisms against her land reform program.

In a previous report last Friday, the chief executive also criticized Aquino’s agrarian reform legacy, saying that she exempted her family’s sugar property from the land distribution program.

The President also claimed that she became popular only because her former Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., was killed “in the hands” of then-President Ferdinand Marcos.

Ninoy Aquino's death sparked protests and send Corazon Aquino to the presidency in February 1986 following the ouster of President Ferdinand Marcos in the bloodless People Power Revolution that marked in history not just in our country but worldwide as well.
Aquino’s youngest child, actress Kris Aquino, on Saturday thanked Duterte for "acknowledging" the fact that her father died in the hands of the Marcoses.

Source: Politiko

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