Farmers belonging to the Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luson (Amgl, Farmers' Alliance in Central Luzon), particularly its member organizations Amgl-Nueva Ecija and Alyansa ng Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita (Ambala) joined the call for justice for the victims of 1986 Mendiola Massacre and criticized president Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, for ignoring land reform as an agenda and promotes lands to remain undistributed to poor farmers. The groups are referring to the highly disputed Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac and productive ricelands in Nueva Ecija.
"Aquino has affirmed his landlord class as he continues to keep farmers landless, farmworkers in Hacienda Luisita are yet to be benefit to the land distribution as his controlled-land reform department delays the process. While in our rice granary province Nueva Ecija, the government revokes land distribution, taking back lands from poor farmers such as the case of former Hacienda Davis in barangay Manggang Marikit, Bagong Barrio and Yuson (Mambayu) in Guimba town," Joseph Canlas said, Amgl chairperson and Anakpawis Partylist Central Luzon Regional Coordinator.
The groups said that after a long and gruelling legal battle at the Supreme Court, farmworkers in Hacienda Luisita has yet to concretely benefit from Aquino's commitment to abide by the hight court decision. The farmers believe that the Dept. of Agrarian Reform (DAR) is deliberately delaying the land distribution process and would guarantee that their list of farmworker-beneficiaries (FWBs) would be crammed by Cojuangco-Aquino lackeys, to keep their control over the land.
In Nueva Ecija, where Manila sources its rice supply, productive rice lands are now being threatened to be converted, as local offices of DAR and land grabbers are ganging up against poor farmers and literally attempting to snatch lands from them such as the case of Mambayu. The 82-hectare disputed land is formerly part of Hacienda Davis which was acquired by DAR, but leased to Philippine Cotton, a Taiwan-owned agro-corporation. The company abandoned the land, subsequently poor farmers cultivated them in 1992. After more than a decade of peaceful cultivation, the local office of DAR made up ListaSaka or list of farmer-beneficiaries in 2007. ListaSaka listed those who are known as lackeys of land grabbers and excluded the poor farmers of Mambayu. Since then, DAR
"There were many attempts of land grabbers, backed up by police and military to physically take away lands such as blocking farmers to work on their lands, attempting to fence around it and putting a 'no trespassing' sign. They were always thwarted by the resistance of many local farmers," Canlas said.
The latest attempt was on December 6. About 200 elements of the Phil. National Police (PNP) 307th company and Nueva Ecija police and military belonging to 7th Infantry Division of the Phil. Army loaded by 2 six-by-six truck and paid lackeys of land grabbers tried to occupy the lands and set up camp but Mambayu farmers were able to block the police and military, as well as dismantle tents. Mambayu farmers did so as it is obviously illegal as the case is pending the the DAR central office, where officials initially claimed that the certificate of land ownership awards (CLOA) being used by ListaSaka are questionable.
Amgl and Amgl-NE is also opposing the conversion of productive rice lands to give way to the Central Luzon Expressway (CLEx). The construction of CLEx phase 1 from Tarlac City to Cabanatuan City are to eject farmers from Zaragosa, Aliaga, Quezon towns.
"If productive rice lands in Nueva Ecija are subjected to land use conversion, Manila and other parts of the country would be affected by the decline of rice supply coming from the province. We would be eating poor quality imported rice if LUC in the province pushes through, it is a problem that concerns all of us," Canlas said.
"Aquino is protecting the interests of the rich landlord class and abandoning the poor farmers. The Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) prolonged by CARP Extension with 'Reforms' is already 24 years old but poor farmers remain landless. There was injustice in Mendiola Massacre and a repeat in Hacienda Luisita Massacre in 2004," Canlas said.
To call for justice for the victims of Mendiola Massacre and drum up their issue, Hacienda Luisita farworkers and Amgl-NE farmers joined the protest on Tuesday at Mendiola, led by the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and Anakpawis Partylist. #