“It is already Aquino's third SONA, and still we call for the immediate and unconditional distribution of Hacienda Luisita. Nothing has changed since Aquino became president, the farmworkers are still victims of harassment and land grabbing, this time around, the Cojuangco-Aquinos have a conspirator, the Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC),” Joseph Canlas said, Amgl chairperson.
“The whole country, even the world know about the issue of Hacienda Luisita, but Aquino being president has the guts to protect the interest of his family, the Cojuangco-Aquinos. His promises of 'daang matuwid' or reforms are total lies and garbage,” Rodel Mesa said, Ambala chairperson.
“As farmers of Central Luzon, we have concluded that Aquino is hopeless, poor sectors such us have nothing to hope from Aquino, he is a haciendero or landlord president, in power only to protect the interest of his class, such as the Cojuangco-Aquinos,” Canlas said.
“Our demand today is not aimed for Aquino but for other sectors in our society to support us, learn of the fundamental problems stirring at present. We are here to inform the people of the true state of farmers in Hacienda Luisita and Central Luzon,” he added.
The groups said that DAR has been “sleeping” on the petition to revoke the conversion order of the 500-hectare land in Brgy. Balete, where the 184-hectare land being claimed by RCBC is located. The petition was filed by Ambala on January 5, this year.
“DAR is totally acting on Aquino's dictate, instead of weighing the basis of our petition, it has been conspiring with the Cojuangco-Aquinos to undermine the decision of the Supreme Court. The court's decision has involved a list of 6,296 farmworker-beneficiaries, but DAR is inventing a new list, involving 8,000 residents within Hacienda Luisita,” Canlas said.
“Imagine the consequences of DAR's actions, we are certain that they would attempt to redirect the blame on Ambala in case the court's decision would be upheld,” he added.
Amgl and Ambala called on other sectors to support the struggle of Hacienda Luisita farmworkers. The groups said that we are witnessing the concrete maneuverings of Aquino, using DAR, public funds to protect their interest,
“This is betrayal of public trust right in front of our face, an impeachable offense,” Canlas said.
Amgl also demanded the immediate distribution of lands involved in agrarian cases in Central Luzon such as 3,100-hectares in Fort Magsaysay Military Reservation (FMMR) in Nueva Ecija, 400-hectares in Bayambang, Pangasinan; rice lands in southeastern Pampanga, Tarlac, Nueva Ecija; ancestral lands of Ayta, Dumagat, Bugkalot and Igorot communities in Pampanga, Zambales, Aurora and Nueva Ecija. Lands cultivated by indigenous people's communities are usual sites of mining in the region such as in Zambales and Aurora.
“Aquino is pushing the Central Luzon Regional Development Plan (CLRDP), blueprinted from the Arroyo administration. This simply means converting productive agricultural lands and ejecting farmers from their land, such as the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEx) and the planned Central Luzon Expressway (CLEx) in Nueva Ecija. Thus, we fundamentally call for passage of House Bill 374 or Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB) as this would guarantee the farmers their lands, opposite of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with 'Reforms' (CARPer) which is an instrument of landlords, speculators, developers and foreign corporations, ” Canlas said. #