Luisita farmers expose ‘Oplan April Spring’

HACIENDA Luisita farmers led by the militant peasant group exposed a grandiose plan allegedly designed by a former lawmaker to deny farmers their rightful claim over the lands.

The document titled “Oplan April Spring” which was sent via email, on April 30, by former Marikina congressman Romeo Candazo to lawyer Anacleto Diaz who represents the Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) in the more than 500-hectare disputed land inside Hacienda Luisita aims “to mobilize the community in the completion of the fencing and enclosure of the property, eviction of the intruders and
its defense against future saboteurs.”

Oplan April Spring, according to the document, has a P1.545 million budget for operations that includes “propaganda and counter-propaganda, organizing and mobilization, special operations (psyops).” More than half of April Spring’s total budget or P770,000 was allocated for law enforcement support (P650,000), and PNP food and drinks (120,000).

KMP deputy secretary general Willy Marbella, in a news conference in Quezon City today, said “Hacienda Luisita farmers should be forewarned against Candazo’s Oplan April Spring because RCBC and the Cojuangcos are now maneuvering to deny them anew of their rights to the lands.”

“April Spring is in place in Hacienda Luisita and Candazo himself serves as RCBC’s hatchet man and psywar agent of the Cojuangcos. He is now using money, deception, and intimidation inside the Hacienda to
sow disunity among the farm workers,” Marbella said.

Marbella noted that under “Special Operations (psy-ops) of Candazo’s Oplan April Spring, special activities are designed to weaken the influence of the ‘intruders’ over the community.” The KMP said ‘intruders’ refer to organizations supporting the struggle of the farm workers.

“It is the interest of the Cojuangco-Aquinos to weaken the organization and struggle of Hacienda Luisita farm workers. Candazo’s special operations directly serve the interests of President Aquino’s family,” Marbella stressed.

“For sure, the Cojuangco-Aquinos are closely monitoring these developments. The inclusion of state security forces and other legal instrumentalities in Oplan April Spring are concrete proof that the Aquino regime is aware of it,” Marbella said.

Hacienda Luisita farm worker leader Lito Bais, President of the United Luisita Workers Union (ULWU) urged his colleagues in the hacienda to resist the attempt of the former Marikina congressman to manipulate
the situation under Oplan April Spring and defend the hard-won victory of the farm workers.

“On this day, the Hacienda Luisita farm workers declare ex-Rep Candazo a persona non-grata. We don’t want to see even his shadow inside the hacienda,” Bais said.

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