Five years after the April 2012 decision of the Supreme Court ordering the distribution of Hacienda Luisita lands to farmworker-beneficiaries, the lands are still controlled by the Cojuangco family, through its firm Tarlac Development Corporation (Tadeco), Central Azucarera de Tarlac with co-owner Martin Lorenzo and partner firm Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC). This is according to Anakpawis Party-list Representative Ariel “Ka Ayik” Casilao during the commemorative activity of the decision inside Hacienda Luisita.
“The claim of the farmers in Hacienda Luisita is moral, historical and even legal, but after five years following the decision of the highest court in the country, the lands remain under the control of the landlord oligarchy Cojuangco family,” Casilao said.
Casilao blamed the preposterous “tambiolo land reform” implemented by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) under the Aquino administration, that even exempted 358-hectares of land located in Brgy. Balete and Cutcut, which were grabbed by Tadeco and the 500-hectare land in Brgy. Balete, controlled by RCBC, Luisita Industrial Park Co. (Lipco) and Luisita Land Co. (formerly Luisita Realty Corp.). Based on the Supreme Court decision, 4,915 hectares of land should be distributed but DAR was only able to cover a little more than 4,000 hectares.
“DAR under the new leadership of Secretary ‘Ka Paeng’ Mariano has already issued a notice of coverage for the Tadeco lands, and revoked the conversion order involving the RCBC lands, hence, there are no legal impediments for the farmers to occupy these lands, but only the outright opposition of the Cojuangco and its partner oligarchs,” Casilao mentioned.
Casilao said that DAR of the Aquino administration clearly failed the Hacienda Luisita farmers, and even the Philippine National Police who serves as paid guard dogs of landlord oligarchs in the country.
“Recently, the PNP is proving that they are paid mercenaries of the rich landlords and this ‘rule of law’ babble is sham, especially when they failed to execute the writ of installation of ARBs in former Lapanday lands located in Tagum City, and now in Hacienda Luisita, they responded in favor of RCBC, without knowing that their client is illegally and immorally occupying the lands,” Casilao said.
The police in Tarlac province has a long history of abuse against Hacienda Luisita farmers, including the September 2013 illegal arrest of former Anakpawis Representative Fernando Hicap who was inspecting the impact of “tambiolo land reform.”
“State agencies and machineries are clearly favoring the rich and powerful, hence, the farmers are only left with their amalgamated unity and collective effort, or through mass movement actions to attain fundamental reforms in society, “Occupy Luisita” and the numerous land occupations in Mindanao are forms of such,” he said.
He concluded that farmers across country is clamoring for free distribution of lands, as fundamantal reform, which was even agreed upon on the peace negotiations between the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) during the fourth round in Netherlands. It is also being proposed on the House Bill No. 555 or the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill filed by Anakpawis and the Makabayan bloc representatives.
“Regimes after regimes, agrarian reform laws after another, genuine land reform was systematically repressed and opposed, that led to an arrested development in the countryside and nation as a whole, consequently, it is only correct that the Filipino farmers, through the peasant movement to accomplish this noble task to advance social and economic reforms and land occupation, is its normative form at the present,” Casilao concluded.
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