residence at Times St., Quezon City. (Photo by AMGL)
“Aquino and everyone in the country should accept that without genuine land reform, there would be no social justice and fundamental reforms and all deception and lies about CARPer would be exposed and its multi-billion budget allocation would all go to waste or to the pocket of rich landlords,” Joseph Canlas said, Amgl chairperson.
Amgl primarily demanded Aquino to abandon his and his family's interest on Hacienda Luisita and immediately order its distribution to the 6,296 farmworker-beneficiaries (FWBs) as ordered by the Supreme Court.
“Aquino is sending a wrong signal by delaying the distribution of Hacienda Luisita. He and the Cojuangco-Aquinos promised to follow the law but when the Supreme Court decided, here he goes ordering DAR to make a new list of FWBs, prolonging the process,” Canlas said.
“DAR's action on Hacienda Luisita is risky as making the new list would sow chaos and unnecessary confusion among the farmworkers. It is apparent that DAR is making the distribution process complicated, thus, Aquino is not sincere in abiding the law or the SC order,” he added.
Amgl is also demanding the immediate distribution of 3,100-hectares agricultural lands formerly part of the Fort Magsaysay Military Reservation (FMMR) in Laur, Nueva Ecija being claimed by the 7th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army (IDPA).
“The issue of Fort Magsaysay Military Reservation is the very concrete example of the uselessness of CARPer. Imagine, its coverage was already ordered by former president Cory Aquino through her executive orders 407 and 448 in 1990, and Deed of Transfer (DOT) between DAR and the Dept. of National Defense (DND) signed by sec. Benjamin Leong and Renato De Villa, respectively in 1990, but the process is being opposed by the AFP, a government entity itself,” Canlas said.
“CARPer could not even compel the AFP to follow the law, thus, harassment against farmers continue and retired police and military officials are grabbing lands in Fort Magsaysay,” he added.
Amgl also demanded Aquino to stop the massive land use conversion(LUCs) in Central Luzon, ejecting farmers from their land.
“These LUCs in Central Luzon is a threat to farmers' rights on land, as well as to the food security of our country,” Canlas said.
Amgl said that the construction of Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEx) and Central Luzon Expressway (CLEx) projects in Nueva Ecija has ejected and continue to threaten farmers out of their lands.
“If Aquino was sincere in realizing fundamental reforms, CARP should have covered the subjected lands decades ago and distributed to legitimate farmer-beneficiaries, but he did not. Hence, farmers are now defending their rights,” Canlas added.
“We call on other sectors to support our demand to junk CARPer and enact House Bill 374 or GARB. We should learn that CARP and CARPer is not a real land reform program in its 24 years of implementation. If we want to keep our country's food supply secure, we must defend the farmers' cultivation of productive agricultural lands and protect it from LUCs. The absence of a genuine land reform program would lead to an agrarian unrest in our country,” Canlas said. #