“It is already public that Ayala has benefitted for the many years of harassment against the farmers of Hacienda Dolores. This was possible as DAR issued exemption and conversion orders in 2005 that licensed the violent fencing and encroachment by LLL and FL,” Joseph Canlas said, Amgl chairperson.
The groups said that even before year 1835 under the Spanish colonialism, ancestors of present-day farmers have tilled the lands, still named Hacienda Ramona, thus, their rights to land are historical and moral. The claims of LLL and FL, consequently Ayala are unjust and partial that further oppressed the already marginalized farmers. DAR based their orders on provisions of the Republic Act 6657 or Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) that favored LLL and FL.
“Earlier than the founding of the first Philippine republic and the first Philippine law was enacted, their ancestors were already developing the lands of Hacienda Dolores, but since 2004, coinciding the construction of the SCTEX, farmers were being driven out of the lands,” Canlas added.
Amgl said that big landlords and companies such as Ayala Land are taking advantage of CARP provisions that serve their interests and detrimental to poor farmers. They asserted that the case of Hacienda Dolores is a crystal-clear manifestation of the bankruptcy of CARP. Ayala Land is constructing the 1,125-hectare Alviera project, composed of eco-residential, commercial, light industrial and tourist facilities and establishments similar to Nuvali in Sta. Rosa city, Laguna province.
“Ayala Land’s project is drenched with blood and we vow that we Hacienda Dolores farmers will continue to demand genuine land reform and justice,” Elmer Franco said, Amc chairperson and farmer-leader of Aniban ng Nagkakaisang Mamamayan ng Hacienda Dolores (Aniban, United People of Hacienda Dolores).
“We demand justice for our martyr, Arman Padiño and Menelao Barcia, who were killed for asserting their rights to land, we demand justice for the violations of our socio-economic rights, right to life, liberty and safety, perpetrated by LLL and FL,” Franco said.
Since 2011, LLL and FL Property Management Corp. (FL) fenced lands cultivated by farmers, barring them from attending and harvesting 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.
“We challenge DAR to immediately order LLL and FL to stop barring farmers and allow them to cultivate their lands, bring an end to the encroaching and fencing of farms,” Canlas said.
The groups also hold the Aquino government responsible for the killings and harassments as this is promoted by the president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino’s Public-Private Partnership (PPP) program, as well as Central Luzon Regional Dev’t Plan (CLRDP). Hacienda Dolores farmers witnessed that elements of Philippine National Police (PNP) and Philippine Army are always coordinating with LLL and FL when they arrest their local leaders but of no use to them, particularly when they are violently attacked. The farmers also blame the local government of Porac for approving the land reclassification and promoting Ayala Land’s project.
“Ayala Land’s project is definitely backed up by the Aquino gov’t as it funded his election bid. Also, government machineries from all levels are utilized by LLL and FL. The only way to resolve this conflict is for all the poor farmers of Pampanga and Central Luzon to wield the strong unity to concretely defend our rights to land and livelihood. Thus, we call on all poor farmers facing agrarian problems to organize and struggle with Hacienda Dolores farmers and by doing so, we could protect our ranks and our children’s future,” Canlas said. #