Token Social Justice And Caciques: The Hacienda Luisita Experience
I wanted this to simply be an update.
But the events of the past two days since this blog post ( http://atmidfield.com/2010/08/11/hacienda-luisita-and-president-noynoy/ ) are affirming this writer’s fear/s that the HLI is foisting a fait accompli upon the hapless sacadas of the estate that effectively deprives them of rightful benefits as declared ‘co-owners’ of the property.
With 7 calendar days to go before the Supreme Court hearing on the legality of that much-debated Stock Distribution Option (SDO), bedraggled farmers with poverty and the ravages of back-breaking labor etched on the bodies were made to queue up at the Hacienda cashier’s booth.
The announced event was the release of the first tranche of the millions of pesos in “aid” due them as hacienda shareholders.
HLI spokesman Antonio Ligon:
Ang risk dito, ni walang sinabi ang Supreme Court na go signal. Kung hindi naaprubahan, mababalewala ang P20 million. (The company took a risk in giving out the initial cash payments since there is still no decision from the Supreme Court on both the land dispute and on the compromise agreement [between the owners and over 7,000 farmer-beneficiaries who have signed on to the deal]. If the SC does not approve the deal, the P20-M will be lost).
Ang shares of stocks ng farm workers ay 118 million. Kung kukuwentahin mo sa P150 million lalabas na P1.27 [per share]. Kung may 10,000 shares ka, P12,700 (The total shares of stocks of the farm workers is 118 million. If you divide it to P150 million, each share would be equivalent to P1.27. If you have 10,000 shares, you should get P12,700).
P20 million was distributed to the farmers on August 12 after HLI representatives and 3 labor unions signed an agreement in Tarlac on August 6 giving farmers the choice to retain their shares in HLI via the stock distribution option (SDO) or own a parcel of land in the sugar estate.
The Hacienda spokesman, who is also its lawyer, reveals that the share of each farm worker from the initial financial package depends on their shares of stocks in the HLI with the farm workers who have big shares of stocks not getting big amounts because the HLI only distributed P20 million of the P150 million financial package.
The Hacienda is hedging its bet and will release the balance of P130-M only if the Supreme Court decides in favor of the compromise agreement.
So in the mean time the poor sacadas are being told to content themselves with the morsels handed out to them.
And there’s a seeming ‘pakunswelo de bobo’.
Ligon says HLI will not take back the P20 million even if the SC decides against the compromise agreement and that even farmers who opt for land distribution, instead of the SDO, will still be covered by the compromise agreement.
How generous of the Hacienda.
The sacadas had to endure instead was insult upon insult – measly sums not unlike bread crumbs thrown to vassals by village caciques.
(Cacique (in Spanish and Portuguese) (female form: Cacica) is a title derived from the Taíno word for the pre-Columbian chiefs or leaders of tribes in the Bahamas, Greater Antilles, and the northern Lesser Antilles. The Spanish, subsequent to encounters with the Taíno upon their arrival in the New World, used the word as a title for the leaders of the other indigenous tribes they encountered in the Western Hemisphere territories they occupied. The term is still used in the Portuguese language to describe the leaders of indigenous communities in Brazil (which is a Portuguese speaking country). In Mexico and Central America, the term refers to any local “political boss”. – Wikipedia
Further: The Spanish RAE (Royal Academy of the Spanish Language) dictionary states:
cacique, ca. (De or. caribe). 1. m. y f. Señor de vasallos en alguna provincia o pueblo de indios. 2. m. y f. Persona que en una colectividad o grupo ejerce un poder abusivo. 3. m. y f. coloq. Persona que en un pueblo o comarca ejerce excesiva influencia en asuntos políticos. 4. f. coloq. p. us. Mujer del cacique.
Lord of vassals in any province or village of Indians. 2. m. and f. Person in a community or group exercising power abuse
In Spain the word is most commonly used in the third sense, meaning “a person in a village or region who exercises excessive influence in political matters.”
Exhibit A for Filipinos is what’s brazenly taking place in Tarlac’s Hacienda Luisita – cacique-style social justice.
In the Philippine context, the cacique influence appears to still be national in scope.