An ecumenical service to pay tribute to victims of extra-judicial killings in Hacienda Luisita, organized by the Alyansa ng Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita (AMBALA), Unyon ng Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA), Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI) was held today in Brgy. Mapalacsiao, Tarlac City, coinciding with the observance of World Hunger Day and the start of Philippine Peasant Week.

Among those given tribute were IFI Bishop Ramento who was killed on October 3, 2006, Bayan-Muna Central Luzon secretary general Florante Collantes, killed October 15, 2005, Central Azucarera de Tarlac Labor Union president and Mapalacsiao brgy. chairman Ricardo Ramos, killed October 25, 2006, and local AMBALA leader Dennis de la Cruz who was killed in November 1, 2013.

The event also inaugurated a marker for Ricardo Ramos, honoring the late village chief’s “principled leadership and militant advocacy for genuine unionism in the sugar workers’ struggle and for genuine land reform.” After the ecumenical service, the participants joined a march around Brgy. Mapalacsiao which stopped at the exact spot where Ramos was shot by a sniper eight years ago. Witnesses at that time identified Private First Class Roderick U. Dela Cruz and another soldier, Romeo Castillo Jr. as perpetrators of the crime. The case against Castillo was immediately dismissed while de la Cruz was absolved of the killing on December 14, 2013 after spending 4 years in jail.

Among those who participated in the activity included foreign delegates for an International Fact Finding Mission (IFFM), members of various trade unions, teachers and students organizations, religious groups, and human rights and peasant advocates.