Luisita farmers go 'Noynoying'

By Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 19 2012 02:59 PM | Updated as of Mar 20 2012 06:11 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Adopting the so-called 'Noynoying' effect, farmers of Hacienda Luisita stood idle in front of the Supreme Court (SC) as they urged the high tribunal yet again to stand pat on its unanimous ruling last November ordering the distribution of the 6,435-hectare Cojuangco-owned sugar estate's agricultural lands.

'Noynoying' is the term coined by critics of Pres. Aquino from the militant sector to describe his so-called work ethics: doing nothing, according to them.

The farmers, led by the Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura and Alyansa ng mga Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita (Ambala), had accused the president of harassing Supreme Court justices in an effort to overturn the landmark agrarian reform decision or accord Hacienda Luisita, Inc. (HLI) the P10 billion it seeks for just compensation.

Proof of this is the impeachment of Chief Justice Renato Corona, they said.

"They (SC justices) should order Hacienda Luisita's immediate distribution to show Aquino that they have the judicial free will... We are urging the justices to fight..." Uma secretary-general Rodel Mesa said.

The farmers slammed the chief executive for allegedly neglecting pressing issues hounding the country, particularly, the poor.

"While Aquino is preoccupying himself trying to find ways to hamper the court's Nov. 22 Decision on the Hacienda Luisita verdict to favor his family, he [made] a 360-degree reverse attitude on other pressing issues like oil price hikes, soaring prices of goods and services... His new monicker 'Noynoying' reflects and fits his work ethics: doing nothing on the interests of the people... but is hell bent to do everything when his interest is on the line," Mesa said.

HLI filed a motion for reconsideration and clarification on the landmark ruling, urging the high court to reconsider the reckoning period for determining just compensation of the 4,915.7466 hectares up for distribution from Nov. 21, 1989, the date HLI's stock distribution plan was approved, to Jan. 2, 2006, at the time the Notice of Coverage was issued.

In the Decision, the SC ordered HLI to pay the farmers a total of P1.33 billion broken down as follows:
'B7    'B7P500 million HLI received from Luisita Realty Inc. for the sale of 200 hectares of land in 1996;
'B7    P750 million for the sale of the Luisita Industrial Park; and,
'B7    P80,511,500 for the sale of the 80.51-hectare lot for the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) road network.

Appeal to DOJ

The group also submitted a Letter of Urgent Appeal to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, urging a formal investigation into the alleged presence of soldiers in Luisita's 10 villages.

"Since the start of Pres. Aquino's term, there has been a significant deployment of soldiers from nearby Camp Aquino, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Northern Luzon Command headquarters..." the letter read.

The farmers accused the Command of harassment. They also slammed NolCom for the death of several farmers in 2004.

"[T]he farm workers of Hacienda Luisita have been long experiencing this kind of wanton violation of their basic rights... the presence of the military in our community will not and never will be any help..." the letter read.

The AFP has consistently denied harassing the farmers, stressing that soldiers will uphold their duty to protect the people at all times.

"The soldiers will never ever do harm nor institute measures that will violate human rights of every individual, more so the legitimate farmers in Hacienda Luisita. If there are instances that the soldiers will be deputized by the Philippine National Police to assist in the maintenance of peace and order in the area, the soldiers will dutifully oblige and carry on their tasks within the bounds of law," the AFP's Civil Relations Service said in a statement in February.