“Our call is whether we put CARP and CARPer six feet under or we cremate it as long its existence is totally ended. We advice the public to be vigilant of other groups in favor of its extension or completion of using our affiliated farmers to advance their objectives,” Joseph Canlas said, Amgl chairperson.
The groups are watchful against deceptive schemes of some groups to legitimize their campaign such as taking advantage of the decades-long agrarian dispute in Hacienda Luisita and in APECO area in Casiguran town, province of Aurora. Hacienda Luisita was covered by the stock distribution option (sdo), provisioned by CARP on section 32 during the administration of former president Corazon Aquino.
“The peasant struggle in Hacienda Luisita has reached the Supreme Court and it is clear that they demanded the junking of sdo, and by provision sdo is CARP in the hacienda's circumstance,” Canlas said.
Ambala asserted that sdo has failed to uplift their socio-economic well-being, worse it has put them into deep poverty and misery. The group claimed that their unbearable situation obliged them to wage the strike and demand junking of the sdo. Even during the protracted deliberation at the high court, the farm workers demanded immediate and free distribution of land and not another implementation of CARP or CARPer.
“CARPer is an insult to the Hacienda Luisita farm workers, it resulted their inconceivable hardship, the massacre, and at present land grabbing by Cojuangco-Aquino family,” Canlas said.
Amgl and Ambala said that the Aquino government is implementing CARPer in Hacienda Luisita, which paved the way for the land grabbing by Tarlac Dev't. Corp. (Tadeco) since December to present. The Dept. of Agrarian Reform (DAR) reduced coverage from 4,915-hectares as ordered by the high court to only 4,099-has. While DAR claimed that the discrepancy of 900-has. is not missing, Tadeco has fenced about 400-has. in brgy. Balete and Cutcut. Ambala said that Tadeco has violently demolished or bulldozed farms they were cultivating without any legal basis, and used police forces to arrest without justification those who protested.
In addition, Amgl and Pamana – Aurora clarified that they are demanding the repeal of Apeco and immediate distribution of lands, not just to farmers, fisherfolk and indigenous people. Apeco has covered about 13,000-hectares of land in Casiguran town, including the 500-hectare rice granary in brgy. Esteves and Dibet, and Dumagat ancestral lands in brgy. San Ildefonso, Cozo and Culat. Apeco is authored by then-senator Edgardo Angara and his son, then-congressman Sonny Angara.
“The people living in the Apeco-affected barangays has cultivated the lands for more than 50 years, many agrarian reform programs has been passed and implemented and they ignored the people of Casiguran, thus, CARPer is no exception,” Canlas said.
Amgl, Pamana – Aurora and the broad alliance Resist Apeco Movement have asserted that CARP and CARPer implementation has come out futile as it served no protection to poor farmers from laws such as Apeco. The groups added that CARPer is an all-out deception to the farmers who actually cultivated the lands, transforming them into value.
“CARPer obliges farmers who sacrificed on the land, amortization and compelling them to accept land ownership of Angara or any landlord,” Canlas said.
Amgl said that CARPer is an instrument of the land-owning class against the poor farmers. It added the case of Hacienda Dolores, where farmers are now facing violent attacks from Leonardo-Lachenal Holdings, Inc. (LLL), FL Property Management Corp. (FL). The two firms are claiming about 754-has. of land that are actually cultivated by farmers and took advantage of an exemption order and conversion order issued by the DAR on 2005. The group said that Ayala Land is planning to convert 1,000-has. As Alvierra, an eco-residential and commercial project similar to Nuvali in Sta. Rosa city, Laguna province. The latest atrocities committed by security personnell of LLL and FL is the killing of Arman Padiño and wounding of Noel Tumali last January 12. Padiño, Tumali and his son attempted to harvest their crops as they have no other source of livelihood, but were fired upon by LLL and FL security guards. Padiño succumbed to gunshot wounds on January 13 while being treated at the Jose B. Lingad Memorial Hospital in San Fernando City, Pampanga. Amgl added that farmers' ascendants cultivated the lands in Hacienda Dolores as early as 1835 during the Spanish colonialism, ironically, DAR basing on the exemption provisions of CARP favored the private firms.
“Everybody knows that Central Luzon is a theater for agrarian struggle. It is because of programs such as CARPer. The fundamental rights to land of farmers are systematically and continuously violated, thus, farmers' resistance is inevitable. CARPer would only fuel more peasant unrest, hence, it must be repealed,” Canlas said.
Amgl and its affiliate organization are pushing for the passage of House Bill 252 or the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill filed by Anakpawis Party-list Fernando Hicap. GARB proposes free and immediate distribution of lands to farmers and prohibition of land grabbing by big landlords and private firms.
“We intend to clarify to our utmost sincerity. We call for the repeal of Republic Act 6657 or CARP and Republic Act 9700 or CARPer and the passage of House Bill 252 or GARB. Farmers from Hacienda Luisita and Apeco-affected areas are not supporting the call of CARP extension or completion. We want CARPer six feet under,” Canlas said. #