Reaction paper: Hacienda Luisita
Where Rights Go Wrong
The documentary we watched served as an eye-opener. I always knew about the issue regarding Hacienda Luisita, but I never really saw the gravity of the problem. Through watching the documentary, I realized that the greatest burden of both parties was each side’s definition of JUSTICE. My question is, does justice cease to matter when legal rights and human rights clash?
The government and the Cojuancos’ definition of justice obviously revolved around the ownership of the land. They had the lawful right to ask the farmers to leave their land because these informal settlers had no right to be there in the first place. It was reasonable to ask these people to leave; however, the issue exploded when the possibility of diplomacy failed and they felt the forceful need to resort to violence.
The people’s definition of justice, on the other had, was more about life. Their dependence on the land was too much to lose in terms of survival and therefore felt that the government and Cojuancos had no right to take human rights—such as right to labour and right to life—away from them. People died protecting the land they had treated as their own. Risking their lives and losing their lives for the land showed how their lives would be meaningless or impossible without it. Sadly, lives were lost before this was made clear to the public.