“The farmworkers should prevail in the Hacienda Luisita issue, as this would serve as an instrument of big landlords in case the Supreme Court favors the Cojuangco-Aquinos. The only moral and just option for the high court is to decide revocating the SDO and freely distribute the lands to the farmworkers,” said Joseph Canlas, AMGL Chair in a press statement.
The group said that land distribution would not only be beneficial to the farmworkers of Hacienda Luisita but also the farmers from nearby barangays and towns. Rice cultivation provide opportunities for their food requirements that is a total reversal compared to the era when the lands were cultivated with sugarcane.
AMGL added that the Luisita issue is a trigger to massive land grabbing and land use conversion, initially in the Tarlac province. As a result of the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx) project the Cojuangco-Aquinos have facilitated, land speculators, real estate developers have been seizing productive agricultural lands at adjacent barangays, Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco has pushed through with the construction of 88.52-km Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEx) converting 442-hectares of lands and massive cancellations of Certificate Land Ownership Awards (CLOAs), Certificate of Land Transfer (CLT) and Emancipation Patent (EP) have been taking place in nearby towns of Nueva Ecija province.
“If we are to see Hacienda Luisita on the map of Central Luzon, it serves as an interchange or a bottleneck of National Capital Region from the south, the Ilocos region to the west and Cagayan Valley to the east side, thus, the Cojuangco-Aquinos are keen to clutch on the lands as they are foreseeing a sudden surge on their market value,” Canlas said.
“We believe that the Cojuangco-Aquinos would do almost everything to keep their control on the lands, even pressure the Supreme Court, through their ‘golden son’ president Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino,” he added.
AMGL claimed that president Aquino is now pushing for his Public-Private Partnership program, showcasing the construction of superhighways in Central Luzon, such as TPLEx, Central Luzon Expressway (CLEx) 1 and 2 and North Luzon East Expressway (NLEx East). The group is looking forward on Aquino’s measure to keep their control over Hacienda Luisita.
AMGL also condemned the option of covering Hacienda Luisita to the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with ‘Reforms’ (CARPer) as proposed by its proponents. The group have monitored that pro-CARPer groups are working with government agencies for its coverage.
“CARPer coverage is synonymous to keeping Cojuangco-Aquino’s control over Hacienda Luisita lands. It is unacceptable to the farmworkers and it would only set off massive dislocation of farmworkers and land use conversion,” Canlas said.
“We reiterate that Hacienda Luisita lands were developed by the farmworkers, the Cojuangco-Aquinos never paid for its acquisition, they scammed the government and the public, they implemented the SDO that resulted poverty and hardship to the supposed beneficiaries, the farmworkers went on strike to defend their rights and Cojuangco-Aquinos massacred them, the government revoked the SDO, they TROed at SC, they fabricated a compromise deal, we should never forget the history,” he added.
“This is a mission for social justice for the Hacienda Luisita farmworkers and Filipino people, the Cojuangco-Aquinos are symbols of greed, oppression and exploitation. We all should support the farmworkers and push for immediate and free distribution of Hacienda Luisita,” Canlas called. #