Farmers from the regional group Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luson (Amgl, Peasant Alliance in Central Luzon) warned the Dept. of Agrarian Reform (DAR) of its declaration that it would push through with the referendum in Hacienda Luisita forcing the farmworkers to choose to “stocks” or land distribution. Farmworkers from the Alyansa ng mga Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita (Ambala) are holding a camp-out outside the central office in Quezon City.
“DAR’s mandate is to process land distribution and not organize such referendum that is totally contradictory to land reform. Pushing farmers to being stockholders to a corporation established by the Stock Distribution Option (SDO) is like pushing them to jump over a hill to their death,” said Joseph Canlas, Amgl chairperson.
“If DAR push through with the referendum, it would be the end of its quiet time at their central office in Quezon City and president Noynoy Aquino’s headache would not be remedied by any paracetamol medication,” Canlas added.
The Supreme Court ruled on July 5 on the Hacienda Luisita issue but dilluted into invalidating the Stock Distribution Plan (SDP) implemented but not the SDO provision particularly Section 31 of the Republic Act 6657 or Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP). This controversial decision is opposed by Chief Justice Renato Corona who affirmed that agrarian reform means land distribution and absence of such would lead to a social volcano. He also said that the high court is deciding on the SDO not simply on the SDP implemented in Hacienda Luisita.
“We advise DAR to apply caution on its action as it is a representative of the Aquino government, the department should actually be pushing its decision to revoke the SDO as it decided on the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council Resolution 2005-32-01 and not towards the referendum,” Canlas said.
“We demand that DAR be decisive to defend its decision, revoking Sec. 31 or the SDO provision,” he added.
Amgl belied president Aquino’s declaration that he is carrying out a “hands off” policy on the Hacienda Luisita when DAR, PARC, the office of the Solicitor General are obviously not defending its resolution and even considering the referendum.
“The referendum is not even a referendum as it is not a majority issue, undemocratic and has no check-and-balance mechanism, thus, being manipulated by the Cojuangco-Aquinos. It is illegal as it has no guiding laws and DAR is not mandated to implement such,” Canlas said.
“The Aquino government should prove itself of sincerely serving the interest of poor Filipinos by leading the distribution of Hacienda Luisita to the farmers. Aquino should by now quit being dysfunctional to the Filipino farmers as the support for the farmworkers is quickly broadening and intensifying,” he demanded. #