“The high court’s declaration would cause massive confusion and disunity among farmworkers, instead of resolving the issue decisively of junking the stock distribution option in Hacienda Luisita,” said Joseph Canlas, AMGL chairperson.
“The Hacienda Luisita issue is transforming the Supreme Court, supposed to be the highest deciding body of legal issues in the country, into a hesitant body of legal illuminaries upholding the interest of the landlord class. We are now hearing a high court that is pushing the farmworkers to fight among themselves instead of issuing a decision that would finally resolve the matter,” he added.
Amgl said that as the high court’s decision spirited the interest of the landowning class in the country and evading the rationality of implementing free land distribution as it would serve as precedent that threatens feudal control of the rich and powerful landlords.
The group has also raised the issue that farmworkers who would whould choose “stocks” would remain exploited as it is within the framework of the SDO.
“The high court junked the stock distribution plan (SDP) not the SDO, thus, farmworkers who would choose ‘stocks’ would be compelled to work for it as SDO only granted the farmworkers, the ‘right to purchase’ the stocks of HLI,” Canlas said.
The group also claimed that the SC decision would give the Cojuangco-Aquinos the right to put together a new stock distribution plan that would be worse than that was scrapped.
In addition, the choice of land distribution of the SC decision would legally be through the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with “Reforms” (CARPer). Amgl said that CARPer would compel the farmworkers to acquire an “attestation” from the Cojuangcos that they are actual “tenants.” CARPer also provisioned that landowners have the right to set the price of land the farmer-beneficiaries would pay through amortization.
“The SC decision is firmly a win-win for the Cojuangco-Aquinos, as neither stocks or CARPer would actually give the lands to the farmworkers. Thus, Hacienda Luisita farmworkers have only their united strength to rely on to actually till the lands such as what they are carriying on Brgy. Balete,” Canlas said.
“The only option for the Supreme Court is to decide the junking of SDO in Hacienda Luisita and immediately distribute the lands to the farmworkers. Unless this is realized, they should prepare for the intensifying rage of farmers and sectors who are struggling for genuine and fundamental reforms in the country,” Canlas said. #