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Military won’t pull out forces from Luisita

MANILAPhilippines - The military will not pull out forces from the Hacienda Luisita despite demands from several farmer groups.

The Philippine Army’s 7th Infantry Division spokesman, Major Enrico Gil Ileto, said no less than the barangay officials themselves have asked that the military remain there. “They support our presence.”

The Alyansa ng Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Lusita, the Luisita Unyon ng mga Manggagawa and the Luisita Peasants and People's Alliance have started a signature campaign for the pullout of the military.

They said the Aquino administration wants the presence of military there as a psychological war. They said the military reminds them of the “Luisita massacre,” where seven of their companions died.

The farmer beneficiaries are still waiting for a final resolution of the Supreme Court in connection with the distribution of the land in the Cojuangco-led sugar estate. They said the case is one of the reasons why Malacanang supported the impeachment of Chief Justice Renato Corona.

Ileto noted that the barangay officials have signed an affidavit in connection with their need for military presence.

"They believe that the presence of the military in that area is necessary in order to maintain the peace and also serve to monitor and immediately respond to security, disaster and development concerns on a day to day basis,” he said.

He said the military’s presence is also a "testament of our commitment to protect the rights of the people" in line with the Internal Peace and Security Plan Bayanihan, the military's blueprint in winning the peace.

"The affidavit also stated that the presence of the military neither institute fear nor creates anxiety among the barangay chiefs and their constituents," he said.

Ernest Vidal | ABS-CBN News Central Luzon | March 12,2012 | Article Link

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