"ItS All AboUt MY LiFE, My WoRk, And All ABoUT ME"

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"BACKOFF! Judge me & I`ll prove you wrong, tell me what to do, I`ll tell you off. say I`m not worth it & watch where I end up. call me a BITCH & I`ll show you one. fuck me & I`ll do it to you twice as bad call me crazy?> but you really have no idea =)~ who really me BuT, i'm friendly, kind hearted, and understanding" Remember. "Life itself is a challenge that we ought to face. You lose some, you win some, but if you never give up you will discover that SACRIFICES have a greatest rewards!!"


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Family vs. Strangers/Company


I ran into a stranger as he passed by,
'Oh excuse me please' was my reply.

He said, 'Please excuse me too;
I wasn't watching for you.'

We were very polite, this stranger and I.
We went on our way and we said goodbye.

But at home a different story is told,
How we treat our loved ones, young and old.

Phivolcs lifts tsunami alert for RP; initial waves small

State volcanologists on Sunday afternoon lifted their tsunami warning for the Philippines in the absence of unusual, significant sea level changes near the country’s coasts in front of the Pacific Ocean in the wake of an 8.8-magnitude earthquake that hit south-central Chile on Saturday.

In its 3:15 p.m. advisory, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) also said initial waves had been small and most of the Pacific islands already in its path had been spared damage.

"As of 3 p.m. on February 28, the Phivolcs had not received any reports of unusual significant sea level changes within the projected arrival period of tsunami waves in Philippine coasts [between] 1:00 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.," it added.
Phivolcs issued tsunami alert level 1 on Saturday and elevated the warning to the second level on Sunday morning, advising the public to be on the lookout for "unusual waves" near the coast.

Magnitude-8.8 Chile quake triggers RP tsunami alert 1

(Update 2 - 10:00 p.m.) State seismologists on Saturday afternoon hoisted a Tsunami Alert Level 1 in the Philippines after a powerful 8.8-magnitude earthquake hit south-central Chile on the other side of the Pacific Ocean at 3:34 a.m. Saturday (2:34 p.m. Saturday in Manila).

Reports said that the Philippine Embassy officials and staff in the capital city of Santiago were all safe. Meanwhile, the Philippine Red Cross has alerted its chapters and volunteers to monitor coastal areas.

Camille Villar speaks about 'US mansion' hoax

'It'd be hard to clean a house that big,' she says

MANILA, Philippines - Camille Villar, daughter of presidential candidate Sen. Manny Villar, has denied that his father owns a mansion in Utah, USA. (Read: Pictures of Villar's 'US mansion' a hoax)

In an interview with, Camille, who organized the February 25 concert "Rockatropa," said that an e-mail purportedly showing their opulent mansion in Salt Lake City, Utah in the United States is not true.

"Hinding hindi po totoo yon. I believe that yong bahay na yon ay bahay po yata ng ibang presidente ng ibang bansa," Camille said.

Camille believes that the e-mail hoax was an attempt to spread black propaganda against her father, who is the standard-bearer of the Nacionalista Party.

More Pinoys optimistic about quality of their lives for next 12 months

More Filipinos expressed optimism about the quality of their lives for the next 12 months, a survey conducted from December 5 to 10 last year indicated.

Thirty-three percent of 2,100 adult respondents were found to "expect their personal quality of life to improve," latest findings of a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey said.

The SWS said only 12 percent “expect it to get worse," resulting in a Net Personal Optimism - or the difference of Optimists over Pessimists - score of +21.

The Personal Optimism level compares to the +24 in September 2009, and a recovery from levels ranging from +17 to -6 in March 2008
to June 2009.

Deputy presidential spokesman Gary Olivar said that the Palace wants the “vote of confidence" for President Arroyo to translate into support for the success of the May polls.

Manny-a-Manny: Pacquiao to hit Villar campaign trail next month

Manny Pacquiao hopes to add star power in the campaign sorties of Nacionalista Party (NP) presidential bet Sen. Manny Villar as the seven-time world division champion tries to turn his charisma inside the ring into votes for the self-made billionaire turned politician.

Pacquiao, together with a number of movie and television stars, is supporting Villar’s bid to win the top post of the land.

"Pagdating ko po sa Pilipinas, sasamahan ko po ang aking mahal na presidente na si Manny Villar para po ma-introduce sa inyong lahat (When I return to the country, I will accompany my beloved president Manny Villar to introduce him to you)," Pacquiao said in a videotaped message to Cebuanos during the Nacionalista Party’s grand rally Sunday that capped their two-day sortie in Cebu province.

Pacquiao, who is now in the final stages of his training for his welterweight title defense against Joshua Clottey on March 13, is NP’s congressional bet in Saranggani province. [See: Pacquiao formally joins Nacionalista Party]

Magdalo soldiers to announce support for Villar, Roxas

A group of junior military officers that staged a mutiny against the Arroyo government is set to announce its support for Senator Manuel Villar Jr. for president and Senator Manuel Roxas II for vice-president.

Sources familiar with the matter revealed this to GMANews.TV on Tuesday, a day before the 55,000-strong Magdalo group is scheduled to make an announcement.

The Magdalo group — whose officers took over an upscale serviced apartment in July 2003 to demand President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s resignation — will announce its presidential, vice-presidential, and senatorial candidates in a press conference Wednesday.

To be held in Greenhills, San Juan, it will be presided by Magdalo group national spokesman Ashley Acedillo, a media advisory stated.

Acedillo is running for congressman in Cebu City's north district.

Filipino basketball league in UAE draws 25 teams

Some 25 teams are set to battle it out on the hardcourt with the opening of the Filipino basketball league in the United Arab Emirates on Friday, February 26, 2010.

The Filipino Basketball Centre (FBC) 3rd Summer Major League, which will be launched at the Al Nasr Sports Center in Dubai, features five categories: Open Division; Inter-Hotel Division; Inter-Company Division; Reinforced Class C; and Women’s Division.

Newly appointed Philippine Ambassador to the UAE Grace Princesa will grace the league’s opening ceremonies.

FBC chair Ramon Pizarras noted that the tournament will not just "provide a wholesome sport and recreational activity to the Filipino expats in the UAE but will also foster closer ties and relations with the host country and undertake cultural exchanges with other nationalities."

Villar: Shame campaign vs Lacson unnecessary

STA. ROSA, Laguna - The posting of “wanted posters" bearing the picture of Senator Panfilo Lacson is unnecessary, Nacionalista Party standard-bearer Senator Manuel Villar Jr. said on Thursday.

Villar made the statement after a meeting in Laguna with Sta. Rosa town Mayor Arlene Arcillas-Nazareno on the third day of the his presidential campaign trail.

Hindi na kailangan iyon. Nasa diyaryo na. Naka-headline na (The posting of wanted posters is not needed. We already see him in the newspaper headlines)," he said.

On the other hand, Villar assured that should he win the presidency in the May 10 polls, Lacson would have a fair shake in facing the double murder charges against him.

No confirmation of Lacson's arrest in Malaysia — NBI

The National Bureau of Investigation said Tuesday it still has no confirmation on the rumored arrest of Senator Panfilo Lacson in Malaysia.

In a phone interview with GMANews.TV, lawyer Ricardo Diaz, NBI anti-terrorism division chief, said the agency is in contact with the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) for any update on the alleged arrest, although no verified information has been relayed yet.

"We are still verifying that (rumor)," Diaz said, adding that Interpol Malaysia will immediately alert them if such information is true.

Erap reveals 'bribe' try to back out of race

BATANGAS, Philippines - Former President Joseph Estrada revealed Tuesday that he has received offers to withdraw from the presidential race in exchange for a large amount of cash from a rival candidate.

In an ambush interview, Estrada said some go-betweens have been talking to him for the past 9 months trying to convince him to withdraw. In exchange, the go-between's principal will then reimburse his expenses incurred in the campaign.

The former president said he met his rival's go-betweens on two to three occasions, and the last meeting happened 2 weeks ago.

Gibo dismisses Villar-Arroyo ‘alliance’ as ‘political gossip’

Speaking for the first time on the issue, administration party presidential bet Gilberto Teodoro Jr. on Tuesday dismissed as "political gossip" allegations of an “unholy alliance" between President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Nacionalista Party (NP) standard-bearer Senator Manuel Villar Jr., saying that the issue is only part of “spin tactics" of other political groups.

Teodoro, official standard-bearer of the Arroyo-chaired Lakas-Kampi-CMD party, said he does not feel “insecure" about the viral innuendos that Mrs. Arroyo is supporting Villar instead of him because he is confident of his whole party’s backing.

Catbalogan Delivery - Taskalfa 180

Feb. 20-2010 my boss set an schedule for Catbalogan City delivery of Taskalfa 180.

This is my first Installation on this model, and it is out of town, I will be going their SOLO. LOL...
But anyway I am used to it, Most of my Delivery/Installation are Commuted,. LOL...

Then I go to the Terminal of Vs grand tours, tell them that i have a Cargo, then let them pick-up in our office, then we load the copier at the back of of V-hire.

My litte Angel

My heart smiled when you kissed my lips. What a sweet surprise.

To my beloved angel, i love you so much

Saksi: Trillanes, Lim, 16 others allowed bail in Manila Pen case

Saksi: Trillanes, Lim, 16 others allowed bail in Manila Pen case

Saksi: Sen. Aquino's Central Mindanao sortie affected by Pres. Arroyo visits?

Saksi: Sen. Aquino's Central Mindanao sortie affected by Pres. Arroyo visits?

what do you think?

BOC intel officer accused of rape

BOC intel officer accused of rape

Anoba nman ito?

Suspect in the beheading of 9-year-old girl in Laguna still missing

Suspect in the beheading of 9-year-old girl in Laguna still missing

Walang kaluluwa ang gagawa nito, sana mahuli na siya at mapagdusa-an niya ang kanyang kasalanan,.

Deliver KM-2820

Delivered KM-2820 to Terminal with my boss.

Rendering, Delivery with the used of single motorcycle, how we do it watch and learn..


We with my boss rowel render a delivery with the used of a motorcycle..

Visiting San Juan So leyte (formerly known as CABALIAN)

Servicing LGU San Juan So. Leyte

Here are some photage while we are in San Juan, with my sister.

E.V.S.U Tanauan assesSment

On February 11-12 2010

I conduct an assessment on EVSU TANAUAN. eventhough V&G subdivision is celebrating it annual fiest Day.

It didn't bother me how the fiesta of V&G are going on, but in fairness the fiesta of V&G was a success to every one, cause it didn't rain just like before. 

Villar also dominates 'ground war'

NP presidential bet has most campaign materials in the streets, too

MANILA, Philippines—Not only do presidential candidate Manuel Villar’s political advertisements dominate the airwaves, his campaign materials also reign in the streets.

This observation resulted from the field research conducted by the Consortium on Electoral Reforms (CER) since the start of the official campaign period for national positions on February 9.

“Among the candidates it is again Manny Villar who has the most propaganda materials posted," said Gladstone Cuarteros, coordinator of CER field monitoring project during the launch of the “Pera’t Pulitika” 2010 (PAP) Wednesday.

PAP is a consortium of organizations monitoring the election expense of candidates in the upcoming elections. It is funded by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems and the United States Agency for International Development.

"He (Villar) has been consistent in both air war and ground war," he added.

CER still does not have any estimate on how much each candidate spent on propaganda materials. Cuarteros did not give either the exact number of materials that Villar’s camp supposedly posted.

The field research will be conducted until May 8 in 10 major cities across the country: Baguio City (Northern Luzon); San Fernando City, Pampanga (Central Luzon); Quezon City (National Capital Region); Lucena City (Southern Tagalog); Legazpi City, Albay (Bicol Region); Iloilo City and Cebu City in the Visayas; and Cagayan de Oro, Zamboanga, and Davao in Mindanao.

Regional monitoring
CER’s monitoring team will go to the 10 cities twice a week to record the number of propaganda materials posted in public areas.

Cuarteros said that in Lucena City, Lakas-Kampi-CMD presidential candidate Gilbert Teodoro has the most propaganda materials. Nacionalista Party’s Villar has the most posted materials in Iloilo, while former President Joseph Estrada and Liberal Party’s Benigno Aquino III are almost tied in Quezon City.

“Most of these candidates are violating common poster areas,” Cuarteros added.

The Omnibus Election Code provides that the Commission on Elections designate a common poster area for all national and local candidates in every locality.

He said that ground war is as competitive as “air war,” citing observations from field researchers in the different regions. The researchers noticed that yellow ribbons (for Aquino) and orange ribbons (for Villar) are tied around some lampposts.

Most air time
According to Malou Mangahas, executive director of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ), which is part of the PAP consortium, Villar has the most television airtime compared to other presidential candidates.

Estrada is the only presidential candidate who has not exceeded the airtime allowance dictated by law, said Mangahas at the PAP forum.

According to Section 6, Paragraph 2 of the Fair Elections Act (RA 9006), each candidate or political party for any national elective office would only be entitled to not more than 120 minutes of television advertisements but only during the official campaign period.

But on Nov. 24, 2009, the Supreme Court decriminalized premature campaigning. This gave opportunity for candidates to spend as much as they want on political ads—may it be on air or in the streets, said Ramon Casiple who is also a member of CER.

Mangahas also noted that other presidential candidates—Maria Ana Consuelo Madrigal, Nicanor Nick Perlas, John Carlos e los Reyes, and Vetellano Acosta—“did not spend a single cent” on television ads.

New ground war
Cuarteros said that they discovered a new medium for campaigning: transit ads, especially those on busses. He said that CER still does not know how much the political ads on busses cost.

He even noted that the Comelec does not have guidelines on using campaign materials on busses.

The consortium also noted that propaganda materials posted in the streets for the 2010 polls are less compared to previous elections.

“Contrary to what is expected, not much propaganda materials have been posted in the streets of the cities in the opening day of the election campaign period,” he said.

The reason could be that the decriminalization of premature campaigning allowed for more air time for TV ads, he said.

Cuarteros added that in the past elections, the first 30 days of the campaign period is usually for awareness building of the candidates. He said that this is not necessary at this time anymore. (Newsbreak)

After Luisita massacre, more killings linked to protest

Fourth of a series
The massacre did not put an end to the workers’ protest. Nor did it put an end to the violence.

After the wake for the victims, the picket lines were reestablished at various points around the hacienda. Soon after, however, eight people who supported the farmers’ cause or had evidence supporting their case were murdered one by one.

Goma barred from seeking congressional seat in Leyte

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) First Division has disqualified actor Richard Gomez from running for Congress in Ormoc, Leyte, making him the second Liberal Party (LP) candidate to be excluded from the 2010 race because of residency issues.

In a promulgation held Wednesday, the Comelec division said it disqualified Gomez for "lack of residency."

The Comelec had earlier disqualified LP Palawan gubernatorial bet Abraham Khalil Mitra from running in the May polls also because of residency issues.

A former barangay chairman in Ormoc, Buenaventura Juntilla, filed a petition asking the Comelec to disqualify Gomez for not being a bona fide resident of Ormoc. He said the actor lacks the one-year residence required by the law.

Juntilla, former chairman of the Barangay Libertad, said Gomez resides in East Greenhills, San Juan and not in Can Adien, Ormoc as he claims on his certificate of candidacy.

In earlier interviews, Gomez said he has been spending more time in Leyte – home province of his wife, Lucy Torres-Gomez – than in Manila since 2007. He accused his rival, Winnie Codilla, of having a hand in the disqualification case against him.

Gomez’s lawyer, meanwhile, said they would appeal the case to the Comelec en banc as he assured the actor’s supporters that they would exhaust all means to reverse the decision.

“Para sa mga mamamayan ng Ormoc, hindi pa ito final, temporary setback lang ito kay Richard Gomez. Ipaglalaban ni Richard Gomez ang karapatan ng lahat ng mamamayan ng Ormoc, tuloy-tuloy ang laban ni Richard Gomez," said Raymond Cajucom.

(I want to assure the people of Ormoc that this is not final, that this is just a temporary setback. The fight continues for Richard Gomez.)

In 2001, Gomez ran as party-list representative for Mamamayang Ayaw sa Droga (MAD), an anti-drug group that he headed. It gathered a lot of votes but was later disqualified after it was found that it was funded by the government.

He ran for senator in 2007 as an independent candidate but was unsuccessful. - KBK/RSJ, GMANews.TV

How a workers' strike became the Luisita Massacre

Third of five parts on the history of Hacienda Luisita, a burning issue facing frontrunner Sen. Noynoy Aquino's campaign for the presidency.

“It is an illegal strike, no strike vote was called," then-Tarlac Congressman Benigno “Noynoy" Aquino III said in a speech at the House of Representatives to defend the dispersal of strikers at his family’s plantation, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported on November 17, 2004.

The day before, the dispersal at Hacienda Luisita left at least seven people dead and 121 injured, 32 from gunshot wounds. In his speech, Aquino condemned the violence but defended the dispersal, saying the police and soldiers were “subjected to sniper fire coming from an adjacent barangay."

Luisita, 'the symbol of the failure of EDSA'

Five days later, Aquino was flogged by Inquirer columnist Conrado De Quiros.

“At the very most, workers have a right to strike. One would imagine congressmen would know that," De Quiros wrote in his November 22, 2004 column. “A strike is neither illegal nor immoral, it is sanctioned by the Constitution and enshrined in the tradition of the workers’ movement. Only Lucio Tan and now Ninoy’s namesake think it is not."

De Quiros further wrote: “Noynoy Aquino says leftists goaded the workers . . . to strike. Well, so what? . . . They could not have succeeded if the workers were not ripe for the goading . . . If leftists had not goaded workers, farmers, students, and other sectors to mount national strikes, or ‘welgang bayan’, during Martial Law, the Aquinos would not be there."

De Quiros also wrote: “The life of Ninoy is not more important than the lives of the workers who died in the blaze of gunfire . . . Hacienda Luisita will always be the symbol of the failure of EDSA to move the country from tyranny to democracy . . . As in the days of the feudal manor, serfs are owned by their landlords body and soul. They can be told to do anything, including to agree to ‘stock option’."

Finally: “Ninoy Aquino might have been talking of today when he said: ‘Here is a land consecrated to democracy but run by an entrenched plutocracy’. Here is a land of privilege and rank—a republic dedicated to equality but mired in an archaic system of caste’."

“If that ain’t broke, what is?" De Quiros concluded.

Lord of the Rings, Luke Skywalker, Noynoy

Five years later, De Quiros was handpicked by the Aquinos to speak at their mother Cory’s funeral.

Exactly one week later, (August 10, 2009), his column carried the headline “Noynoy for president".

“Noynoy running for president will deliver us back to . . . the time or place of the great fight between Good and Evil," De Quiros proclaimed. “Between Cory and Marcos, between Obama and Bush, between the Fellowship of the Ring and the Eye of Mordor, between Luke Skywalker and the Evil Empire. Use the Force, Noy."

Exactly 40 days after his mother’s burial, Aquino “used the Force"and announced he was running for President.

Double strike

Part Three of this special report begins in November 2004, the month of the Luisita massacre.

The tension began when management retrenched 327 farm workers, including union officers.

On November 6, 2004, the union of the farm workers (United Luisita Workers Union or ULWU) launched a picket and blocked Gate 1 of the sugar mill.

They were joined by the union of the sugar mill workers (Central Azucarera de Tarlac Labor Union or CATLU), who were in a deadlock in their own wage negotiations. The sugar mill workers blocked Gate 2 of the sugar mill.

The Philippine National Police (PNP) were called in, but were unable to disperse the strikers with tear gas, truncheons, and water cannons.

Almost all 5,000 members of ULWU and 700 members of CATLU joined the November 6 strike, while 80 CATLU members chose to continue working, according to a statement delivered under oath by Dr. Carol Pagaduan-Araullo of the Health Alliance for Democracy at the February 3, 2005 Senate hearing on the Luisita massacre.

Araullo’s group conducted their own medical examination and investigation because of fears of a government whitewash. (Araullo is also the chairperson of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan or BAYAN.)

Did Gloria help the Aquinos?

On November 10, 2004, four days after the strike started, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) declared an Assumption of Jurisdiction. Labor Secretary Patricia Sto. Tomas announced that quelling the strike was a matter of national interest because Luisita was one of the country’s major sugar producers. The Assumption of Jurisdiction legally cleared the way to use government troops to stop the strike. The picketers were ordered to vacate within five days, or else be removed by force.

Under normal conditions, the Labor Code protects the right of workers—even those who have been retrenched—to demonstrate against their employers. Police are not allowed to break up non-violent pickets, and the military cannot be used like a security agency to solve the problems of private businessmen.

The Assumption of Jurisdiction, however, is like a declaration of Martial Law in a labor dispute. It strips workers of their right to demonstrate, and authorizes the use of law enforcement agencies. The Assumption of Jurisdiction is allowed by the Labor Code only if a strike jeopardizes national interest.

The strikers in Luisita grumbled that management was able to get the DOLE to declare an Assumption of Jurisdiction because it had a direct line to Malacañang through former President Cory Cojuangco Aquino, whose children Kris and Noynoy supported President Gloria Arroyo in the presidential elections just six months before (May 2004). The Aquinos and their followers also helped put Arroyo in power after ousting President Joseph Estrada in 2001.

Was Luisita’s sugar mill indispensable to the national interest?
Labor Secretary Patricia Sto. Tomas declared an Assumption of Jurisdiction over the Luisita dispute on November 10, 2004. Sto. Tomas said quelling the strike was a matter of national interest because Luisita was one of the country’s major sugar producers. This paved the way for sending government troops to stop the strike. Continue reading...

The strikers stayed put, determined to make management come out and negotiate.

EDSA meets Mendiola

To protect themselves from the forthcoming forcible removal, the workers called on the people in the barrios around Luisita to form a human barrier at the picket line, says Lito Bais, current acting president of ULWU. In an eerie EDSA-meets-Mendiola spectacle, the villagers came, including priests, barangay officials, and children whose families sympathized with the workers. Concerned groups from out of town also sent contingents to help protect the strikers.

On November 15, 2004, the PNP returned as promised with reinforcements. According to Araullo’s report to the Senate, around 400 policemen tried to disperse about 4,000 protesters. CATLU president Ric Ramos was hit and collapsed from a large head wound, but the police were still unable to break the picket.

The trip to the Cojuangco house

Sometime in the afternoon of November 15, according to Bais, the union leaders were told to go to the house of Jose “Peping" Cojuangco, Jr. in Makati to talk. The negotiations were to be mediated by party-list congressman Satur Ocampo. Ocampo had gone to Luisita along with fellow Bayan Muna party-list congressman Teddy Casiño to aribitrate with the police.

The next morning, November 16, 2004, the union officers left Tarlac for Makati. “Kinabahan na ang mga opisyales namin, pagdating nila sa Makati, na parang may mangyayari dito (Our union officers got worried as soon as they reached Makati. They had a feeling something was going to happen here)," says Bais, who was not yet acting president of ULWU at that time, and had stayed behind. “Parang inalis lang sila dito (It was like they were just lured away from here)."

At the Cojuangco house in Makati, the CATLU officers were told negotiations could only happen if the strike was stopped first. The ULWU officers were not allowed in because they were considered retrenched and no longer authorized to negotiate for the farm workers.

While the union officers were in Makati, the military rolled into Luisita. The union officers now believe the meeting in Makati was just a ruse to lure them away so the military could move into the hacienda.

2 tanks, 700 police, 17 trucks of soldiers

When the union officers returned to the picket line around 3:00 pm after their fruitless trip to Makati, the place looked like a war was about to begin. Near Gate 1 of the sugar mill were “700 policemen, 17 truckloads of soldiers in full battle gear, 2 tanks equipped with heavy weapons, a payloader, 4 fire trucks with water cannons, and snipers positioned in at least 5 strategic places", according to Araullo’s report to the Senate.

One of the tanks and the payloader rammed through the sugar mill gate that management had previously locked. The protesters were pelted with tear gas and sprayed with water spiked with chemicals from the fire trucks. They fought back by burying the tear gas canisters in soil, and flinging rocks at the fire trucks and tanks using slingshots. Eventually, the tear gas and fire hoses ran out.

“Nagbi-biba na ang mga manggagawang-bukid (The farm workers were cheering their victory)," says Bais. The strikers surged through the gate, waving sticks and throwing rocks at the tank.

Then, gunfire erupted.

1,000 rounds of ammunition used

The first spray of bullets lasted for almost a full minute, as men, women, and children ran for their lives. This was followed by a series of rapid spurts. According to Araullo’s statement, the presidents of the two unions narrowly missed being shot by snipers while running to get behind some sugarcane trucks. Other protesters were beaten and dragged into army trucks and placed under arrest, regardless of gender or age.

Doctors who later autopsied the dead and examined the wounded said the victims were running, crouching, or lying down when they were shot. At the December 1, 2004 Senate hearing on the massacre, videos of the bloody dispersal caught by the media were shown. It was revealed that an astounding 1,000 rounds of ammunition were used by the military and police during the shooting.

Soldiers shut down hospital

Right before the assault on the picket line started, there were unusual movements at the Cojuangco-owned St. Martin de Porres Hospital near the sugar mill, Araullo told the Senate. Existing patients were moved out, and the Army and PNP moved in. At 8:00 pm, just hours after the massacre, the doctors, nurses, and staff of the hospital were told to go home by the police and military, who then took over until the next day. Corpses from the shooting were still in the hospital. The police and military later claimed three corpses tested positive for gunpowder. But no next of kin had given permission or were present during the paraffin tests.

A deliberate attack

The events at the hospital, coupled with the volume of fire, the character of the injuries, and the positions of the victims, Araullo told the Senate, belied the claim that the shooting was done as a defensive move, and indicated that there was “collusion and premeditation between management and the AFP/PNP" to deliberately attack and break up the picket.

When the body count was drawn up, there were seven dead and at least 121 injured. Of the 121 injured, 32 suffered gunshot wounds, 11 were children or in their teens, and four were over sixty years old.

Who were the 7 who died in the Luisita Massacre?
Jhaivie was the youngest of the victims who died. He worked part-time at Central Azucarera de Tarlac, cleaning sugarcane every Monday, to earn money after he stopped going to college when his father died six months before the massacre. His mother said Jhaivie was a homebody, but he went to support the strike because almost all the children in his barangay were children of farm workers in Hacienda Luisita, and he understood what they were fighting for. Continue reading...

Noynoy defends dispersal

On November 17, 2004, the day after the massacre, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported: “At the House of Representatives, Deputy Speaker Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino III (LP, Tarlac) , only son of the former President, defended the dispersal of the protesters … Aquino said that elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police who dispersed the workers were ‘subjected to sniper fire coming from an adjacent barangay’… Aquino noted that 400 of the 736 workers in question had decided to return to work."

In the same report, Aquino’s uncle, former Tarlac Rep. Jose “Peping" Cojuangco, Jr., said he received a copy of a press statement from ULWU saying it was not the group behind the picket. Ronaldo Alcantara of ULWU said in the statement that a small group of retrenched workers led by Rene Galang, a former official of ULWU, and Ric Ramos, president of CATLU, were behind the incidents at the hacienda.

The next day, November 18, 2004, the Philippine Star reported: “Tarlac Rep. Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino III said yesterday there was strong evidence that the clash was triggered by gunfire coming from the ranks of the strikers. He said when the police tried to break the barricade using an armored personnel carrier, they were fired upon by strikers. He cited there were at least eight bullet marks on the APC. Aquino also urged his militant colleagues in Congress against conducting fact-finding missions at the Hacienda, which he said could further ‘inflame the situation.’ Aquino earlier claimed that outsiders instigated the rioting."

PNP report echoes Noynoy defense

Months later, the PNP submitted its own report to the Senate dated January 24, 2005. The PNP’s account was similar to the statements Aquino gave right after the massacre.

Summary of the PNP’s final report on the Luisita massacre

The final report of the Philippine National Police (PNP) on the November 16, 2004 Luisita massacre was submitted on January 24, 2005. It cleared the PNP of blame, and reported that:

> The order to disperse the strikers was made only after the police saw that negotiations between the Department of Labor’s sheriff and the strike leaders had failed.

> The PNP observed maximum tolerance and were simply helping the sheriff implement a return-to-work order.

> The “initial burst of gunfire, single shots in succession, came from the ranks of the striking workers after they crossed the gate and invaded the CAT (Central Azucarera de Tarlac) compound".

> Evidence gathered confirmed the presence and participation of the New People’s Army (NPA), but “the evidence will not suffice for their criminal prosecution".

> The resistance put up by the strikers resulted in the death of seven strikers and wounding of 36 others.

> 100 policemen and soldiers were injured.

> 111 civilians were arrested and assorted guns and several bolos and knives were recovered from the scene.

> The violence was orchestrated by individuals who were not members of the striking unions, and firearms and explosives were used to generate a more violent reaction from the government forces.

>The slain workers were not residents of Tarlac or employees of Hacienda Luisita.

Read “Who were the 7 who died in the Luisita massacre?"

The PNP’s report was debunked point-by-point by the workers and the party-list group BAYAN, which had conducted its own fact-finding investigation.

(Manila Times, December 8, 2005)

In addition, the report said the PNP only went to Luisita on November 16, 2004 to assist the DOLE in implementing a return-to-work order. Maximum tolerance was observed, and the order to disperse was made only after the police saw that negotiations with the strike leaders had failed. Evidence gathered, according to the report, “confirms the presence and participation of the NPA (New People’s Army) in the strike." The report also said 100 policemen and soldiers were injured.

Noynoy on the Luisita massacre

“It is an illegal strike. No strike vote was called."
(Philippine Daily Inquirer, November 17, 2004)

“[The military and the police who dispersed the workers were] subjected to sniper fire coming from an adjacent barangay."
(Philippine Daily Inquirer, November 17, 2004)

The clash was triggered by gunfire coming from the ranks of the strikers.
(Philippine Star, November 18, 2004)

When police tried to break the barricade using an armored personnel carrier (APC), they were fired upon by the strikers. There were at least 8 bullet marks on the APC.
(Philippine Star, November 18, 2004)

Outsiders instigated the rioting. Among those injured were sympathizers who came from as far as the Visayas.
(Philippine Star, November 18, 2004)

The workers’ defense

The Department of Labor declared an Assumption of Jurisdiction to quash the workers’ right to strike. The government issued this radical order because the Aquinos had a direct line to Malacañang (Noynoy and Kris Aquino supported President Gloria Arroyo in the 2004 elections).

The sniper fire came from plainclothes men inside the sugar mill compound, which only Luisita management and the military/police could access until the military’s own tank rammed the sugar mill gate open shortly before firing started.

If the strikers started the shooting, why were there no casualties among the military/police, but seven killed and 32 wounded by gunshots among the strikers?

Why would the strikers fire bullets into an APC, which is resistant to bullets, but not shoot any of the 700 military/police around? The bullets on the APC could have been planted by the military/police.

The injured who came from the Visayas were sacadas (seasonal sugarcane cutters) from Negros who were hired by the Cojuangcos, but sympathized with the strikers.


The late journalist Teodoro “Teddy" Benigno was a long-time friend of Ninoy and Cory Aquino. He served as Cory Aquino’s Press Secretary from 1986 to 1989. On November 19, 2004, Teddy Benigno wrote about the Luisita massacre in his column in the Philippine Star:

“I would have wished that Ninoy’s son, Rep. Benigno (Noynoy) Aquino and brother-in-law Jose (Peping) Cojuangco just kept quiet. As it was they sort of blamed the dispersal and massacre on trouble-making outsiders—agents provocateurs—who had nothing to do with Luisita. Noynoy, you’re not Ninoy and you should have kept to yourself. Ditto for Peping. Those were self-serving statements and you knew it."

Noynoy and PNP statements refuted

The statements of Aquino and the PNP were refuted by the strikers and the leftist political alliance BAYAN, which had conducted its own fact-finding mission.

According to them, it was impossible for the sniper fire to have come from the ranks of the strikers because the shots emanated from inside the sugar mill compound, which only management, the military, and the police had access to until the gate that management had locked was rammed open by the military’s tank right before the firing started.

Moreover, they said, it was highly unlikely that the shooting started from the strikers’ side because there were no casualties among the military and police, while there were 7 killed and 32 wounded by gunshots among the strikers.

As for the bullets on the APC mentioned by Aquino, they said it did not make sense for the strikers to fire at a tank, which is bulletproof, but not shoot any of the 700 soldiers and policemen around. The bullets could have been planted.

The group also said no negotiations with strike leaders could have taken place on the afternoon of November 16, 2004, as the PNP claimed, because the union officers had barely arrived from the Cojuangco house in Makati when dispersal operations escalated. In their sworn statements, the police officers in charge of the dispersal could not even give the names of the strike leaders they said they negotiated with before launching the assault.

Misleading the media<>/quote

Furthermore, while the PNP linked the NPA to the strike, the PNP also said in their report that “evidence gathered against alleged members of the NPA will not suffice for their criminal prosecution", in effect negating their own claim.

Meanwhile, Ronaldo Alcantara, the officer of ULWU who denied ULWU was behind the strike in the Inquirer report, was a lower-level former officer of the union who was used to mislead the media, according to current ULWU acting president Lito Bais. The president of ULWU registered at the Bureau of Labor Relations at the time of the strike was Rene Galang. Bais says management encouraged splinter factions in the union led by persons under their control.

The PNP’s report did not say anything about the takeover of St. Martin de Porres Hospital that happened just before the dispersal was launched.

The wake at the sugar mill

Days after the massacre, five out of the seven dead bodies were brought by the farm workers and their sympathizers to the picket line near the gate of the sugar mill.

How were they able to go near the gate when the military was still there standing guard? “Sabi namin, siguro naman, patay na ang dala natin, igagalang naman nila. Sila ang pumatay, e (We just said, maybe, since the people we were carrying were already dead, they would respect that. After all, they were the ones who killed them)," says Bais.

The procession was led by a councilor from Tarlac City named Abel Ladera, who grew up in one of the barangays inside Hacienda Luisita. He became an engineer, and once worked inside the sugar mill. The workers relied on the presence of Ladera, an elected official, and some media men to keep management and the military at bay. As the coffins were being lowered and the barbed wire removed, the soldiers went inside the sugar mill so the mourners could prepare for the wake.

Little did Ladera know that his sympathetic involvement with the strikers would put him in mortal danger.

Union’s office destroyed

After the massacre victims’ coffins were brought to the picket line, Bais says the union’s office was destroyed by soldiers. “Nung balikan namin ang opisina namin, wala na lahat. Ultimo ang computer na gamit namin, giba-giba na. Yung mga file, lahat, wala na kaming inabutan. (When we went back to our office, everything was gone. Even the computer we were using was totally destroyed. Our files, everything, we were not able to save anything)." The collection of pictures of the union’s past presidents since the workers’ struggle began was also destroyed, he adds.

Hundreds of soldiers moved into Luisita’s different barangays. To justify the presence of the military, officials of the Northern Luzon Command (NOLCOM) presented a report to the media saying the workers’ strike at Hacienda Luisita was the “handiwork of the CPP-NPA (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army) and a culmination of long months of instigation and propaganda work to get the workers to rise up in arms against the Cojuangcos."

Asked for comment on this story, Sen. Noynoy Aquino’s spokesman Edwin Lacierda said, “Noynoy regrets the massacre but the mass action was infiltrated. It was started by infiltrators."

After conducting hearings about the massacre and recording the testimonies of witnesses, the Senate Committee on Labor and Employment never issued a formal report.



Cory’s land reform legacy to test Noynoy’s political will

Second of a series

“Hindi ka nag-iisa (You are not alone)," sing the ghosts of Luisita to Senator Noynoy Aquino. They won’t even leave his music video alone.

Noynoy Aquino's Campaign Music Video (2009)

A little-known fact about the Hacienda Luisita controversy is the haunting resemblance of Senator Aquino’s “Hindi Ka Nag-Iisa" music video to a real-life, torch-lit march of Luisita’s workers amid the sugarcane fields at night days before the November 16, 2004 massacre.

Sa Ngalan ng Tubo documentary about Hacienda Luisita (video recorded November 2004) (Torch scenes from 1:17 - 1:29)

A better known fact, but in danger of being forgotten, is the series of salvagings that took place after the massacre to eliminate those who supported the workers’ cause, or had evidence supporting their case. Among those killed were one Senate witness, two Aglipayan priests, a union president, a city councilor, and two peasant group leaders.

What could be worth all the blood that has been spilled? And why is everyone looking at Senator Aquino?

The answer lies in another little-known fact—a contentious 30-year stock distribution scheme that was implemented in lieu of land distribution on his family’s plantation that seriously complicates the campaign theme “good vs. evil."

The dark side of the Aquino legacy

Part Two of this series on Hacienda Luisita begins in 1989, the year the Stock Distribution Option (SDO) was introduced at the hacienda after the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) took effect in 1988.

Senator Noynoy Aquino’s mother, President Cory Cojuangco Aquino, was accused of including the SDO in her outline for CARP (Presidential Proclamation 131 and Executive Order No. 229, July 22, 1987) so her family could once again avoid distributing Hacienda Luisita to farmers.



Hacienda Luisita's past haunts Noynoy's future

First of a series

Senator Noynoy Cojuangco Aquino has said he only owns 1% of Hacienda Luisita. Why is he being dragged into the hacienda’s issues?

This is one of the most common questions asked in the 2010 elections.

To find the answer, GMANews.TV traveled to Tarlac and spoke to Luisita’s farm workers and union leaders. A separate interview and review of court documents was then conducted with the lawyers representing the workers’ union in court. GMANews.TV also examined the Cojuangcos’ court defense and past media and legislative records on the Luisita issue.

The investigation yielded illuminating insights into Senator Noynoy Aquino’s involvement in Hacienda Luisita that have not been openly discussed since his presidential bid. Details are gradually explored in this series of special reports.

A background on the troubled history of Hacienda Luisita is essential to understanding why the issue is forever haunting Senator Noynoy Aquino and his family.


Remnant of colonialism

Before the Cojuangco family acquired Hacienda Luisita in the 1950s, it belonged to the Spanish-owned Compaña General de Tabacos de Filipinas (Tabacalera). Tabacalera acquired the land in 1882 from the Spanish crown, which had a self-appointed claim on the lands as the Philippines’ colonial master. Luisita was named after Luisa, the wife of the top official of Tabacalera.

Tobacco used to be the main crop planted in Luisita, but in the 1920s, the Spaniards shifted to sugar. Sugar production had become more profitable because demand was guaranteed by the US quota. In 1927, the Spaniards built the sugar mill Central Azucarera de Tarlac to accompany their sugarcane plantation.

Around the same year, the wealthy Cojuangco brothers Jose, Juan, Antonio, and Eduardo also put up a small sugar mill in Paniqui, Tarlac. The eldest brother, Jose “Pepe" Cojuangco, Sr., was the father of former President Corazon “Cory" Cojuangco Aquino, and the grandfather of Senator Noynoy Aquino.

Ninoy brokers purchase of Luisita

In 1954, Corazon Cojuangco married Benigno “Ninoy" Aquino, Jr. with President Ramon Magsaysay as one of the ninongs (sponsor) at the wedding. In 1957, Magsaysay talked to Ninoy Aquino about the possibility of Ninoy’s father-in-law, Jose Cojuangco, Sr. acquiring Central Azucarera de Tarlac and Hacienda Luisita from the Spaniards. The Spaniards wanted to sell because of the Huk rebellion and chronic labor problems.

Ninoy Aquino wanted the azucarera and hacienda to stay only within the immediate family of his father-in-law, not to be shared with the other Cojuangcos, wrote American development studies expert James Putzel in his 1992 book A Captive Land: The Politics of Agrarian Reform in the Philippines.

(Dr. James Putzel did extensive research on agrarian reform in the Philippines between the late 1980s to the early 1990s. He is currently a Professor of Development Studies at the London School of Economics.)

The exclusion of Jose Cojuangco, Sr.’s brothers and their heirs from Luisita caused the first major rift in the Cojuangco family, Putzel wrote. This played out years later in the political rivalry of Jose’s son Peping and Eduardo’s son Danding. Today, this divide is seen between Noynoy Aquino (grandson of Jose Sr., nephew of Peping) and Gibo Teodoro (grandson of Eduardo Sr., nephew of Danding), who are both running in the 2010 presidential elections.

Government loans given to Cojuangco

Jose Cojuangco, Sr. received significant preferential treatment and assistance from the government to facilitate his takeover of Hacienda Luisita and Central Azucarera de Tarlac in 1957.

To acquire a controlling interest in Central Azucarera de Tarlac, Cojuangco had to pay the Spaniards in dollars. He turned to the Manufacturer’s Trust Company in New York for a 10-year, $2.1 million loan. Dollars were tightly regulated in those times. To ease the flow of foreign exchange for Cojuangco’s loan, the Central Bank of the Philippines deposited part of the country’s international reserves with the Manufacturer’s Trust Company in New York.


When Spain colonized the Philippines by force beginning 1521, its lands were claimed by the conquistadors in the name of Spain. The natives who were already there tilling the land were put under Spanish landlords, who were given royal grants to “own" the land and exact forced labor and taxes from the natives. After the Spaniards left, the Americans took over. When the Philippines became independent in 1946, history had to be set right by giving the lands back to the people whose ancestors have been tilling them for centuries. However, a new feudal system developed among the Filipinos themselves, and once again drove a wedge between the tillers and their land.
The Central Bank did this on the condition that Cojuangco would simultaneously purchase the 6,443-hectare Hacienda Luisita, “with a view to distributing this hacienda to small farmers in line with the Administration’s social justice program." (Central Bank Monetary Board Resolution No. 1240, August 27, 1957).

To finance the purchase of Hacienda Luisita, Cojuangco turned to the GSIS (Government Service Insurance System). His application for a P7 million loan said that 4,000 hectares of the hacienda would be made available to bonafide sugar planters, while the balance 2,453 hectares would be distributed to barrio residents who will pay for them on installment.

The GSIS approved a P5.9 million loan, on the condition that Hacienda Luisita would be “subdivided among the tenants who shall pay the cost thereof under reasonable terms and conditions". (GSIS Resolution No. 1085, May 7, 1957; GSIS Resolution No. 3202, November 25, 1957)

Later, Jose Cojuangco, Sr. requested that the phrase be amended to “. . . shall be sold at cost to tenants, should there be any" (GSIS Resolution No. 356, February 5, 1958). This phrase would be cited later on as justification not to distribute the hacienda’s land.

On April 8, 1958, Jose Cojuangco, Sr.’s company, the Tarlac Development Corporation (TADECO), became the new owner of Hacienda Luisita and Central Azucarera de Tarlac. Ninoy Aquino was appointed the hacienda’s first administrator.

In his book, Putzel noted that the Central Bank Monetary Board resolution from 1957 required distribution of Hacienda Luisita’s land to small farmers within 10 years. The controversies that would hound the hacienda for decades can be traced to the Cojuangcos’ efforts to retain control of the land long after the deadline for land distribution passed in 1967.

Land not distributed to farmers

“Ang pagkakaintindi ng mga ninuno naming manggagawang-bukid ng Hacienda Luisita noon, within 10 years, babayaran na [ng mga Cojuangco] ang utang nila sa gubyerno. Pagdating ng 1967, ang lupa ay sa magsasaka na (The way our elders, the farm workers of Hacienda Luisita, understood things at that time, within 10 years, the Cojuangcos were going to pay back the money they borrowed from the government. By 1967, the land would belong to the farmers)," says Lito Bais, one of the present-day leaders of the United Luisita Workers Union (ULWU). Bais was born on the hacienda in 1957, the year before the Cojuangco family took over. His mother was also born on the hacienda.

When 1967 came and went with no land distribution taking place, the farm workers began to organize themselves to uphold their cause. That year, Ninoy Aquino also became the Philippines’ youngest senator. His entry into national politics marked the start of his bitter rivalry with President Ferdinand Marcos.

After Marcos declared Martial Law in 1972, his most voluble critic Aquino, who was planning to run for President, was one of the first people arrested.

Government files case vs. Cojuangcos

The Cojuangcos’ disputed hold over Hacienda Luisita had been tolerated by Marcos even at the height of his dictatorship. However, as Ninoy Aquino and his family were leaving for exile in the US, a case was filed on May 7, 1980 by the Marcos government against the Cojuangco company TADECO for the surrender of Hacienda Luisita to the Ministry of Agrarian Reform, so land could be distributed to the farmers at cost, in accordance with the terms of the government loans given in 1957-1958 to the late Jose Cojuangco, Sr., who died in 1976. (Republic of the Philippines vs. TADECO, Civil Case No. 131654, Manila Regional Trial Court, Branch XLIII)

The Marcos government filed this case after written follow-ups sent to the Cojuangcos over a period of eleven years did not result in land distribution. (The Cojuangcos always replied that the loan terms were unenforceable because there were no tenants on the hacienda.) The government’s first follow-up letter was written by Conrado Estrella of the Land Authority on March 2, 1967. Another letter was written by Central Bank Governor Gregorio Licaros on May 5, 1977. Another letter was written by Agrarian Reform Deputy Minister Ernesto Valdez on May 23, 1978.

The government’s lawsuit was portrayed by the anti-Marcos bloc as an act of harassment against Ninoy Aquino’s family. Inside Hacienda Luisita, however, the farmers thought the wheels of justice were finally turning and land distribution was coming.

Cojuangcos claim hacienda has no tenants

In their January 10, 1981 response to the government’s complaint, the Cojuangcos again said that the Central Bank and GSIS resolutions were unenforceable because there were no tenants on Hacienda Luisita.

“Inilaban ni Doña Metring, yung nanay nila Cory, na wala raw silang inabutan na tao [sa hacienda], kaya wala raw benipesyaryo, kaya ang lupang ito ay sa kanila (Doña Metring, the mother of Cory, said there were no tenants in the hacienda when they took over, therefore there were no beneficiaries, therefore the land belonged to them)," recalls Bais. “E, tignan mo naman ang lupang ito. Paano mapapatag ang lupang ito? Paano makapag-tanim kung walang taong inabutan? (But look at this land. How else could this land have been tamed? How could it have been cultivated if there were no people here when they took over?)"

(The distinction between a tenant farmer and seasonal farmers hired from outside was key to the Cojuangcos’ defense. A tenant farmer is one who is in possession of the land being tilled. In his book A Captive Land, James Putzel noted that the Central Bank resolution mentioned distribution not to tenants but to “small farmers." Raising the issue of tenancy thus seemed ineffective in the defense.)

The Cojuangcos also said in their January 10, 1981 response that there was no agrarian unrest in Luisita, and existing Marcos land reform legislation exempted sugar lands. Further, they asserted that the government’s claim on Luisita had already expired since no litigation was undertaken since 1967.

Court orders Cojuangcos to surrender Luisita

In the meantime, vague rumors of a planned conversion of the hacienda into a residential subdivision or airport, or both, cropped up among the farm workers, causing anxiety that they would be left with no land to till. (This was likely due to the decline of the sugar industry in the Philippines after the US quota ended in the 1970s. Conversion became a buzzword among big landowners all over the country. The Cojuangcos formed Luisita Realty Corporation in 1977 as a first step to turning the hacienda into a residential and industrial complex.)

The government pursued its case against the Cojuangcos, and by December 2, 1985, the Manila Regional Trial Court ordered TADECO to surrender Hacienda Luisita to the Ministry of Agrarian Reform. According to Putzel, this decision was rendered with unusual speed and was decried by the Cojuangcos as another act of harassment, because Cory Aquino, now a widow after the assassination of Ninoy Aquino in 1983, was set to run for President against Marcos in the February 7, 1986 snap elections. The Cojuangcos elevated the case to the Court of Appeals (Court of Appeals G.R. 08634).

Cory promises to give “land to the tiller"

Cory Aquino officially announced her candidacy on December 3, 1985. Land reform was one of the pillars of her campaign.

A farmer GMANews.TV spoke to said they were told by Cojuangco family members managing the hacienda during this time that if Cory became president, Hacienda Luisita would once and for all be distributed to the farmers through her land reform program. He said this promise was made to motivate them to vote for Cory and join the jeepney-loads of people being sent to Manila from Tarlac to attend her rallies.

On January 6, 1986, Aquino delivered the first policy speech of her campaign in Makati and said, “We are determined to implement a genuine land reform program . . . to enable [beneficiaries] to become self-reliant and prosperous farmers."

Ten days later, on January 16, 1986, Aquino delivered her second major speech in Davao and said, “Land-to-the-tiller must become a reality, instead of an empty slogan."

In the same speech, Aquino also said, “You will probably ask me: Will I also apply it to my family’s Hacienda Luisita? My answer is yes."

This campaign promise would haunt her for many years to come. To this day, it haunts her son.

Marcos flees, Aquino dissolves Constitution

The snap elections took place on February 7, 1986. Marcos was declared winner, but was ousted by the People Power revolution. Cory Aquino was sworn in as President on February 25, 1986. She named her running mate Salvador “Doy" Laurel Prime Minister through Presidential Proclamation No. 1.

A month later, Aquino issued Presidential Proclamation No. 3 declaring a revolutionary government and dissolving the 1973 Constitution. This nullified Laurel’s position as Prime Minister, and abolished the Batasang Pambansa (Parliament). Aquino announced that a new Constitution was going to be formed. Legislative powers were to reside with the President until elections were held.

To critics, Aquino’s abandonment of Laurel and her taking of legislative power were early signs that a web of advisers was influencing her decisions. The sway of these advisers would be felt later in the choices Aquino would make regarding Hacienda Luisita.

Juan Ponce Enrile’s link to Hacienda Luisita

On September 16, 1987, Laurel formally broke ties with Aquino. The New York Times reported that Laurel had confronted Aquino about her promise in 1985 to let him run the government as Prime Minister after Marcos was ousted, because she had no experience. This was the reason Laurel agreed to shelve his own plan to run for President and put his party’s resources behind Aquino during the snap elections. “I believed you," the New York Times quoted Laurel saying he told Mrs. Aquino. Aquino just listened without response, Laurel said.

Laurel found an ally in Juan Ponce Enrile, another disenchanted EDSA veteran who now opposed Aquino.

Enrile also happened to be the lawyer of Tabacalera when Hacienda Luisita was taken over by the Cojuangcos in 1957. He was retained by the Cojuangcos after the sale. Enrile’s inside knowledge of the controversial transaction would be a big thorn in the side of the Cojuangco-Aquinos.

Mendiola, a portent of the Luisita massacre

On January 22, 1987, eleven months into the Aquino administration, the Mendiola massacre happened. Thousands of frustrated farmers marched to Malacañang demanding fulfillment of the promises made regarding land reform during the Aquino campaign, and distribution of lands at no cost to beneficiaries. At least a dozen protesters were killed in the violent dispersal. More were seriously injured.

In a protest march for land reform in January 1987, 13 protesters were killed near Malacañang in what has gone down in history as the Mendiola Massacre, a low point in the administration of former President Corazon C. Aquino. Photo by Mon Acasio

Under pressure after the bloodshed in Mendiola, Aquino fast-tracked the passage of the land reform law. The new 1987 Constitution took effect on February 11, 1987, and on July 22, 1987, Aquino issued Presidential Proclamation 131 and Executive Order No. 229 outlining her land reform program. She expanded its coverage to include sugar and coconut lands.

Her outline also included a provision for the Stock Distribution Option (SDO), a mode of complying with the land reform law that did not require actual transfer of land to the tiller.

(Aquino’s July 22, 1987 “midnight decree", as Juan Ponce Enrile called it back then, raised eyebrows because it was issued just days before the legislative powers Aquino took in 1986 were going to revert back to Congress on July 28, 1987, the first regular session of the new Congress after the May 1987 elections. The timing insured the passage of the SDO.)


Why is land reform a big issue in the Philippines?

Land reform is linked to social justice. When Spain colonized the Philippines by force beginning 1521, its lands were claimed by the conquistadors in the name of Spain. The natives who were already there tilling the land were put under Spanish landlords, who were given royal grants to “own" the land and exact forced labor and taxes from the natives. After the Spaniards left, the Americans took over. When the Philippines became independent in 1946, history had to be set right by giving the lands back to the people whose ancestors have been tilling them for centuries. However, a new feudal system developed among the Filipinos themselves, and once again drove a wedge between the tillers and their land.

What is the SDO (Stock Distribution Option)?

The Stock Distribution Option (SDO) was a clause in the 1988 Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) that allowed landowners to give farmers shares of stock in a corporation instead of land. The landlords then arranged to own majority share in the corporations, to stay in control. This went against the spirit of land reform, which is to give “land to the tiller". The SDO was abolished in the updated land reform law CARPER (CARP with Extensions and Revisions) that was passed in August 2009.

Cory withdraws case vs. Cojuangcos

Why is land reform a big issue in the Philippines?

Land reform is linked to social justice. When Spain colonized the Philippines by force beginning 1521, its lands were claimed by the conquistadors in the name of Spain. The natives who were already there tilling the land were put under Spanish landlords, who were given royal grants to “own" the land and exact forced labor and taxes from the natives. After the Spaniards left, the Americans took over. When the Philippines became independent in 1946, history had to be set right by giving the lands back to the people whose ancestors have been tilling them for centuries. However, a new feudal system developed among the Filipinos themselves, and once again drove a wedge between the tillers and their land.

What is the SDO (Stock Distribution Option)?

The Stock Distribution Option (SDO) was a clause in the 1988 Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) that allowed landowners to give farmers shares of stock in a corporation instead of land. The landlords then arranged to own majority share in the corporations, to stay in control. This went against the spirit of land reform, which is to give “land to the tiller". The SDO was abolished in the updated land reform law CARPER (CARP with Extensions and Revisions) that was passed in August 2009.

On May 18, 1988, the Court of Appeals dismissed the case filed in 1980 by the Philippine government—under Marcos—against the Cojuangco company TADECO to compel the handover of Hacienda Luisita. It was the Philippine government itself—under Aquino—that filed the motion to dismiss its own case against TADECO, saying the lands of Hacienda Luisita were going to be distributed anyway through the new agrarian reform law.

The Department of Agrarian Reform and the GSIS, now headed by Aquino appointees Philip Juico and Feliciano “Sonny" Belmonte respectively, posed no objection to the motion to dismiss the case. The motion to dismiss was filed by Solicitor General Frank Chavez, also an Aquino appointee. The Central Bank, headed by Marcos appointee Jose B. Fernandez, said it would have no objection if, as determined by the Department of Agrarian Reform, the distribution of Hacienda Luisita to small farmers would be achieved under the comprehensive agrarian reform program.

Stage is set for “SDO"

A month after the case was dismissed, on June 10, 1988, Aquino signed the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law. Soon after, Hacienda Luisita was put under the Stock Distribution Option (SDO) that Aquino included in the law. Through the SDO, landlords could comply with the land reform law without giving land to farmers.

On June 8, 1989, Juan Ponce Enrile, now Minority Floor Leader at the Senate, delivered a privilege speech questioning Aquino’s insertion of the SDO in her outline for the land reform law, and the power she gave herself through Executive Order No. 229 to preside over the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC), the body that would approve stock distribution programs, including the one for Hacienda Luisita.

Enrile also questioned the Aquino administration’s withdrawal of the government’s case compelling land distribution of Hacienda Luisita to farmers. All these, Enrile said, were indications that the Cojuangcos had taken advantage of the powers of the presidency to circumvent land reform and stay in control of Hacienda Luisita.

Aquino’s sidestepping of land reform would stoke the embers of conflict in Luisita, climaxing in the November 16, 2004 massacre of workers fifteen years later.



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Austin Health – Treating their print needs for a healthy bottom-line

Austin Health is the major provider of tertiary health services, health professional education and research in the northeast of Melbourne. It is world-renowned for its research and specialist work in cancer, liver transplantation, spinal cord injuries, neurology, endocrinology, mental health and rehabilitation.

Austin Health comprises Austin Hospital, Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital and the Royal Talbot Rehabilitation Centre. During 2006-07, its 6,400 staff treated a record 85,887 inpatients and 149,971 outpatients.

It is a busy environment at Austin Health and medical staff don’t have time to learn how to use different equipment as they move through the hospital and work in different wards and divisions. That and the need to reduce hefty equipment running costs was the impetus to go to tender and select a single multi function device (MFD) supplier in 2005.

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Kyocera in South West Alliance of Rural Health

South West Alliance of Rural Health – The benefit of lowering running costs.
The South West Alliance Of Rural Health (SWARH) is an Alliance of public health agencies in the South West of Victoria covering an area of approximately 60,000 square kilometres connecting all public acute hospitals and associated health services in a region extending from west of Melbourne to the South Australian Border. Their members range from big hospitals down to doctor’s surgeries and smaller bush nursing hospitals.

SWARH was formed in late 1997 to focus on the development of IT for the Acute Public Hospitals in the South West Region of Victoria. In addition to the financial incentive provided by the Department of Human Services, the SWARH Alliance has been fortunate to have a group of Chief Executive Officers and Hospital Boards who, although not technically expert, have appreciated the fact that as individual agencies, the capacity to invest in technology to improve service delivery and gain returns on the investment required was not possible on their own.

At the end of 2007 SWARH went through the tender process to select a single supplier for all their printing and multi function device (MFD) needs. The key criteria in their selection were service delivery to their vast and dispersed network of members, as well as running costs.

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Have you ever seen a strange phone2009?

I present to you the strangest phones.

I leave you with pictures

Kris Allen eats Balut

Kris Allen eats Balut

Rivals take digs at Villar's ads in presidential debate

After climbing to the top in opinion polls, Senator Manuel Villar Jr. of the Nacionalista Party found himself at the receiving end of verbal attacks from fellow contenders for the country's top post during the Philippine Daily Inquirer's presidential debate on Monday.

Villar's staunchest critic in the Senate, Senator Jamby Madrigal, was the first to criticize his numerous and frequent ads that play up his ascent from being a poor boy from Tondo to a self-made billionaire and influential politician.

"The jingles, the use of the children, the use of actors... just to endorse you is an insult to the Filipino intelligence," said Madrigal. "People who have spent P2 billion [on] ads who think they can buy Malacañang have no right ..." Madrigal said, trailing off as the crowd cheered wildly.

While the presidential candidates in the May elections also discussed their platforms during the debate, the taunts on Villar's advertisements stood out and elicited the strongest reactions from the audience.

Villar's ads play up his experience as a poor boy from the slums who made good, with jingles containing lyrics like "nakaligo ka na ba sa dagat ng basura?" He has also been endorsed by Comedy King Dolphy, popular comedian Michael V., TV host Willie Revillame, and pop star Sarah Geronimo, among others.

Villar and Senator Benigno Simeon "Noynoy" Aquino III were neck and neck in the latest Pulse Asia survey, with Aquino getting 37 percent and Villar 35 percent. The two were virtually tied at first place since the survey had a ±2 margin of error.

Bagumbayan candidate Sen. Richard Gordon also took a swipe at Villar, reminding the audience that the country’s political maturity would be measured by the votes cast in May.

"Makikita niyo diyan kung pwede ang pacute-pacute sa mga tao o pwede pa rin yung mga advertising na sinasabing makahirap pero nakikita mo ang record, hindi makamahirap," Gordon said.

(It will be reflected [in the vote] if playing cutesy or if advertising where a candidate is presented as pro-poor, even if his records say otherwise, will work.)

When asked whether he would still run for president if he had Villar's wealth, Olongapo councilor JC Delos Reyes of Ang Kapatiran party said, "I believe if you are to serve there should be a message that conveys principle and platform and not empty campaign messages that just says ako ang mahirap."

All the taunts elicited loud cheers from the crowd, composed of students and supporters of the eight presidential candidates who showed up at the forum.

Villar takes a dig at Noynoy

But Villar maintained that he pays for his ads himself using funds he acquired through the businesses he himself set up.

"Napakahalaga na tanungin din natin hindi lamang kung magkano nagagastos kundi sino ba ang nagbibigay sa kanila dahil baka ito ang hinahalal nating pangulo, hindi yung nakaharap dito (It's important to ask not just how much was spent, but who spent for the ads because those people might be the ones we are electing to the presidency, and not the one before you)," he added.

He also took a dig at his closest rival, saying "Sa akin, hindi naman ako artista, wala naman akong nanay na presidente, wala akong kapatid na artista. Kelangan din naman na yung mga mahihirap ang pinagsimulan na kagaya ko ay bigyan ng pagkakataon ng ma-lebel naman ang playing field.

(I am not an actor, I don't have a mother who was president, I don't have a celebrity sister. People who rose from poverty like me should be given the chance to level the playing field). His comment also drew cheers from the audience.

Aquino is the only son of the late former President Corazon Aquino. Popular celebrity Kris Aquino, his youngest sister, is said to be responsible for getting the support of major celebrities such as Sharon Cuneta, Regine Velasquez, and Ogie Alcasid for his presidential campaign.

Unlike the other contenders, Aquino did not tease Villar when asked if the latter's material success as depicted in his television ads was realistic.

Instead, Aquino said access to social services such as education is the key to success. "Kelangan po oportunidad para sa lahat at marami pong dapat gawin (There should be opportunities for everyone, and there is still much to be done)."

Lies and big budgets

"If you can see my ads they have no jingle. My ads are merely a reflection of my political platform and principles," Madrigal said.

When reminded that she herself used celebrity endorsement--that of popular actress Judy Ann Santos--in 2004 to propel herself to the Senate, Madrigal said she has "seen the folly of [her] ways."

"I would not repeat it because I do not believe in a repeat of mistakes and I do not believe that we should perpetuate lies that are perpetuated by big budgets," said the senator.

Asked if there was anything good she has to say about Villar, Madrigal quipped, "Meron naman ... maganda ang pagtina nung buhok niya." (There is ... I like the way his hair is dyed)

This was the second time Madrigal used Villar's physical appearance to answer a question on whether she found anything good in him. In a recent interview, the lady senator also said she likes Villar's alleged botox injections.

Madrigal initiated the investigation in the Senate about the controversial C-5 road extension project that allegedly benefited the real estate properties of Villar.

The presidential contenders' apparent digs at each other were the ones that got the strongest reactions from the crowd.

Alexandra Francisco, a third-year Journalism student who was among the spectators, said the focus on personality attacks strayed away from issues.

"It should be a presidential debate about issues. Unfortunately, that's what people will notice, Villar being hobbled by everyone," she told GMANews.TV after the debate.

Estrada a no-show

Other presidential contenders who took part in the debate were former Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr., Senator Richard Gordon, Bro. Eddie Villanueva of the Jesus is Lord movement, and environmentalist Nicky Perlas. Only former president Joseph Estrada was absent.

Estrada's spokesperson, Margaux Salcedo, said Estrada was not able to attend the forum because Estrada had other commitments.

"Various delegations from all over the country have sought an audience with former President Josepsh Estrada today at the PMP headquarters, including delegations from as far as Lanao del Sur and other parts of Mindanao, which President Estrada had to prioritize, for which reason former President Estrada was not able to attend the forum of the [PDI]," she said in a statement.

Supporters of the candidates flocked to the event clad in their presidential bets' campaign colors: Villar supporters were in orange and Teodoro campaigners came in green. Other groups also carried signs bearing the names of their presidential bets.

Other topics

The candidates also tackled how they plan to deal with problems concerning the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the environment.

Gilberto Teodoro Jr., a former Defense chief, and Gordon agreed for a modernized military.

Teodoro said the AFP’s P5-billion modernization budget is measly compared to other countries like Taiwan.

“We have to address the material needs of the Armed Forces which are really not addressed by the modernization budget. Five billion pesos a year may look big but it is not enough, Teodoro said. "You cannot have good culture if you don't have competence."

Alleged corruption in the AFP should also be eradicated, said Gordon, adding that soldiers are being deprived of their privileges because funds go into the wrong hands.

Meanwhile, independent candidate Nicanor Perlas vowed to protect the environment. A known environmentalist, he disagreed that there is conflict between development and the indigenous peoples desire to protect the environment.

"I think this conflict is artificial," Perlas said "I know for a fact that due to my direct contact to the indigenous peoples that they consider environment and development as one whole."

To reconcile the problem, Perlas said the government should come up with a process where development could be done while respecting the people's culture.

"This is not being done properly in the past. So, we to look for a solution that respects their rights as well as their aspiration for development," Perlas added. - YA, GMANews.TV