“The high court affirmed the junking of the SDO, but they still recognized the Cojuangcos as owners of the hacienda who deserved ‘just’ compensation,” said Joseph Canlas, AMGL chairperson.
“While other groups are ecstatic about this, we are now on heightened vigilance as by the point Hacienda Luisita is to be covered by the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with ‘Reforms’ or CARPer, this is also synonymous as the farmers giving back the lands to the Cojuangco-Aquinos.
The group does not see the Supreme Court and Aquino government as contending parties as the decision has no hint of immediate and free distribution to the farmers, instead it has instructed the Dept. of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) to valuate the lands.
“DAR and LBP are presently notorious among farmers as the latter, is on the stage of issuing massive foreclosure notices that means cancellations of the Certificate of Land Ownership Awards (CLOA), Certificate of Land Transfer (CLT) and Emancipation Patents (EP),” Canlas said.
AMGL said that farmers in Nueva Ecija are facing foreclosure cases initiated by DAR and LBP, thus, implementing such program in Hacienda Luisita is clearly a threat to the right of the farmworkers.
“We still abide by our long-standing call that Hacienda Luisita should be distributed immediately and free to the farmworkers. The Cojuangco-Aquinos who immorally reaped their riches through slave-like exploitation of the farmworkers should not be compensated, doing so is against the principle of social justice but strengthening the continuing poverty and misery of the latter,” Canlas said.
The group said that they are definite that the Cojuangco-Aquinos have anticipated this decision and came up with a back-up plan to retain control over the hacienda.
“CARPer is an effective instrument for landlords to keep their lands away from the farmers, this is still within the spectrum of options of the Cojuangco-Aquinos, to add that president Aquino is on the stage of further selling the country’s natural resources,” he added.
AMGL said that Aquino has long identified the hacienda to be converted as Hacienda Luisita Economic Zone as part of the regional development plan “w-growth corridor.” Thus, the SC decision simply puts the Hacienda Luisita issue to the standard path of how big landlords rake up profits from selling and converting prime agricultural lands. #
“To totally affirm the rights of the farmworkers on the land, the Supreme Court should firmly decide to immediately distribute the lands without the farmworkers shelling out a single peso and not compensate the Cojuangco-Aquinos,” Canlas called. #