“We don't believe that Aquino is fast-pacing the implementation of land reform. He may pace up the implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), but it would only result to massive agrarian unrest as the law itself is anti-farmer and its provisions are the exact instruments of landlords to keep lands and eject farmers,” Joseph Canlas said, Amgl chairperson.
“He promised of 100% land distribution within his term while the present accomplishment report of the Dept. of Agrarian Reform is even questionable. DAR counts those lands with issued Certificate of Land Ownership Awards (CLOA) as 'distributed' when in reality they are subject to a long-running legal struggle or agrarian dispute between the landlord and the tenant-farmer. They don't even disclose their data on cancelled CLOAs and foreclosure,” he said.
“Aquino promised to follow the law but could not even distribute Hacienda Luisita and at the time the Supreme Court decided, he ousted the former chief justice and now DAR under his total control is violating the decision by making up its own list of farmworker-beneficiaries,” Canlas said.
Amgl has affirmed that nothing has changed on the state of farmers in Central Luzon. They are still victims of ejectment, cancellation of CLOAs, foreclosure, land grabbing and even human rights abuses.
“Everyone in the region knows that being a farmer means poverty and misery and farmers has been struggling for their rights on the land. Actually, there is an increasing number of farmers who come to us asking for help on their land problems. These are farmers who used to cultivate lands peacefully, but are now facing land grabbing cases from former and new landlords,” Canlas said.
Amgl belied Aquino's statement that farmers he meet are grateful for reforms he implemented. “It is mind-boggling that farmers are grateful when he could not even meet the farmworkers of Hacienda Luisita eye-to-eye,” Canlas said.
The group added that Aquino's omission on the state of human rights in the country is also threatening as it implies tolerance on extra-judicial killings and other forms of rights abuses.
“This simply proves that his counter-insurgency program Oplan Bayanihan is geared to violate the basic rights of farmers and other poor sectors. He totally ignored that early this month, a Dutch national who served poor Filipinos was killed by suspected agents of the military and Hacienda Luisita farmworkers are usual victims of physical attack from RCBC's hired goons,” Canlas said.
“We somehow anticipated this kind of speech, all blabbering and not about the real state of poor sectors. This should remind the region's farming sector that the days of freely tilling their lands are numbered as Aquino is geared to promote the 'development' that only big foreign and local corporations and big landlords would benefit. We call on the region's farmers to unite and stand up for their rights on their land and oppose Aquino's program and policies,” Canlas called. #