TARLAC, Philippines - Dozens of activists staged a protest at a military camp in Tarlac province Wednesday to commemorate the 7th year of the Luisita massacre.
The protesters went to Camp Servillano Aquino to air their sentiments against military troops stationed at the camp.
On November 16, 2004, 7 people died while scores of others were injured when farmers and activists clashed with soldiers and police at Hacienta Luisita, which is owned by the family of President Benigno Aquino.
Northern Luzon Command (Nolcom) spokesman Capt. Jovily Carmel Cabading said they allowed the activists on Wednesday to get inside the military camp near its gate because the protest caused traffic congestion.
"About 60 of them entered while the others opted to stay outside the gate….We even offered them water and pandesal but only a few them availed," Cabading said.
"We observed maximum tolerance. The demonstrations went on peacefully…Our soldiers didn't react even if they cursed (by the rallyists)," Cabading added.
Nolcom chief Lt. Gen. Jessie Dellosa said the military allowed the protesters belonging to United Luisita Workers Union-Ambala, Bayan Muna, Gabriela and Anakpawis to stage the demonstration at Camp Servillano Aquino.
"Let them be. It is freedom of expression. They have the right to say what they like or stage any activity if they choose to. The more we keep an eye on them on such a significant occasion like this, the more they will shout for oppression and militarization," he explained.