On the tenth day of the camp-out set up by Hacienda Dolores farmers in front of the Dept. of Agrarian Reform Region III office in San Fernando, Pampanga, Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luson (Amgl, Farmers’ Alliance in Central Luzon), Aguman Dareng Capampangan (Amc, Alliance of Pampanga Farmers), Aniban ng Nagkakaisang Mamamayan sa Hacienda Dolores (United People of Hacienda Dolores) and Anakpawis Party-list held president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino for his inaction that resulted the protraction of resolution of the dispute at the said hacienda. Hacienda Dolores is the 2,000-hectare estate located in Porac near the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) now being claimed by Leonardo-Lachenal-Leonio Holdings, Inc. (LLL) and FL Property Management Corp. (FL), both connected to Ayala Land, Inc. who plans to construct the 1,125-hectare Alviera eco-residential, commercial, light industrial and tourist estate.
“We hold Aquino’s ‘noynoying’ about the issue for the continuing abuses against Hacienda Dolores farmers. We demand his immediate action to stop the land grabbing of farm lands and order the immediate arrest of those who killed Arman Padiño last January and Menelao Barcia this last May 2,” Joseph Canlas said, Amgl chairperson during the press conference held at the camp-out.
Prior to the recent extra-killings and violent attacks against Hacienda Dolores, Aniban has filed a petition for a “cease and desist” order at DAR last year, hoping to put halt on the violent grabbing and fencing of farm lands by LLL and FL that barred farmers to enter and harvest their crops. With the delayed and indefinite action from the said agency, LLL and FL encroached more lands and deployed hundreds of private guards that violently attacked farmers who attempted to harvest their crops such as the case of Padiño last January 12, who died the following day.
Despite the atrocities, that the groups believed is part of the holistic effort to terrorize the farmers, the protest against land grabbing was sustained. Thus, this followed by the filing of trumped up charges, arrest and detention Aniban leader and barangay chairman Antonio Tolentino, subsequently, another killing of a local leader and barangay councilor, Menelao Barcias last May 2, leaving his wife Maria wounded.
“The eventualities in Hacienda Dolores is obviously these corporations trying to terrorize the farmers to give up their rights to land and livelihood, so that they could easily implement their plans to rake up profit from the lands,” Canlas said.
The groups added that since 2011, LLL and FL fenced lands and barred farmers to attend their crops. Aside from the extra-juidicial killings, violence against farmers are unabated, on November 29, 2013, unidentifed men shot a burning arrow at the house of farmer Jessel Orgas; December 6, 2013, unidentified men threw a grenade again at Orgas’ house, wounding him; December 11, 2013, farmer Modesto Posadas was shot and wounded by two motorcycle-riding men near the SCTEX-Porac interchange.
Thus, the farmers were driven to set up a protest camp at the DAR regional office last May 12 to put up pressure for it to decide on the pending issue and resolve the dispute. Consequently, on the May 13-dialogue with DAR central office, the groups learned that the case is already pending at the office of the president, as disclosed by DAR Undersecretary for Legal Affairs Anthony Parungao.
“At last, this agency was broke its silence and spilled the beans that it’s already pending at Aquino’s office. But obviously, this ‘slow-paced’ and ‘noynoying’ gov’t ignored the plight of the Hacienda Dolores farmers,” Canlas said.
Amgl said that it is worse that Aquino himself is promoting this project category through his Public-Private Partnership (PPP) program that the farmers are to expect him favoring his campaign funder Ayala Land. The group added that LLL and FL were able to touch base on the lands using the exemption and conversion orders released by DAR in 2005, basing them from the provisions of the Republic Act 6657 or the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).
Amgl, Amc and Aniban reiterated its demand that justice be served to the victims and their families, and the farmers’ immediate return to their lands. The groups said that the people’s camp-out is to last until the last week of June, on their scheduled eight-day long march from Angeles city towards Manila to demand the complete expiration of CARP.
“We call on millions of poor farmers in Central Luzon to join us in the Hacienda Dolores struggle and eight-day Lakbayan this June 24 to 30. Don’t wait for the day to come to suffer the same fate, instead, let us educate our class, get organized and mobilize to struggle for our rights to land and livelihood,” Canlas called. #