MANILA, Philippines – Farm workers belonging to the Alyansa ng mga Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita (AMBALA) staged a picket in front of the gate of the Department of Justice(DOJ) this morning to call on Justice Secretary Leila De Lima to help them in their efforts to have military detachments allegedly situated inside the 6,435-hectare sugar estate owed by the family of President Benigno Aquino III transferred to other locations.
The small group, composed of some 20 individuals, submitted a one-page letter to De Lima seeking an audience with her to discuss the issue. They claimed martial law still rules in Hacienda Luisita, due to the presence of the military.
“[F]or the past years the military had augmented its military presence by recruiting Civilian Auxiliary Force Geographical Unit or CAFGU among the community. Their mere presence are causing fear and intimidation not only among the ranks of the farm workers but also in the populace of Hacienda Luisita,” the letter read.