Thursday, October 17, 2013

Cojuangco-Aquinos’ power, corruption and lies continue in Hacienda Luisita, farmers said

Tarlac City-Coinciding the anniversary of Marcos’ land reform program Presidential Decree 27 on October 21, farmers belonging to the Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luson (Amgl, Farmers’ Alliance in Central Luzon) and Alyansa ng Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita (Ambala) condemned the machinations of the Aquino government and the Cojuangco-Aquino family in Hacienda Luisita.  The groups said that the Aquino is utilizing the Dept. of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to implement the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with “Reforms” to compel the farm worker beneficiaries to pay amortization for the land, consequently benefiting the Cojuangco-Aquinos.

“They used up public funds to acquire Hacienda Luisita, they rake up immeasurable profits from the sweat and blood of the sugar workers, their self-serving stock distribution option scheme was exposed and trashed, now they want to suck up from the farm workers in the form of amortization of the land,” Joseph Canlas said, Amgl chairperson.

Amgl affirmed that the Cojuangco family used public funds from the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) and Manufacturers Trust of New York which was guaranteed by the Central Bank, to acquire the 6,453-hectare sugar plantation in 1957 through their influence to then president Ramon Magsaysay.  Thus, their claim of ownership is groundless.  The groups said that the Cojuangcos were able to generate huge profits from sugar production while farm workers live in poverty and hunger.

“Since the Magsaysay administration, the Cojuangcos were only able to protect their interests by clinging on those who were on power.  Even during the Marcos dictatorship, Hacienda Luisita was untouched and during the Arroyo government, the Cojuangco-Aquinos were able to secure an ‘assumption of jurisdiction” from labor secretary Patricia Sto. Tomas,” Canlas said.

The groups said that even the Arroyo government revoked the stock distribution option (sdo) scheme in 2005, military forces were deployed in the hacienda during the implementation of the counter-insurgency program Oplan Bantay Laya.

“The Cojuangco-Aquinos would not be able to keep control of Hacienda Luisita if they did not traded political favors.  They take advantage of the failure of the Marcos dictatorship and were able to rise to power,” Canlas added.

Amgl said that the Cojuangco-Aquinos were able to temporarily salvage their interest in the hacienda with the Aquino presidency.  But the favorable decision of the Supreme Court for the farm workers were uncontestable triumph brought about by the intensifying farm workers struggle for genuine land reform.

“Amidst having a member of the family being the president, the Supreme Court junked the sdo and ordered the distribution of the lands.  To subvert the decision, Aquino is using DAR to guarantee the Cojuangco-Aquinos’ interests,” Canlas said.

On the first week of October, DAR distributed certificate of land ownership awards (cloa) to about 2,400 farm worker beneficiaries from barangays Pando, Motrico, Lourdes and Parang.  DAR officials boast as if cloa distribution is already land reform itself.

“The farm workers who applied for these cloas are now in grave danger as they are legally liable in case of non-payment of amortization.  The Cojuangco-Aquinos are now rejoicing thinking they are successful in deceiving the farm workers,” Canlas said.

While DAR is launching its mass deception activities, the Cojuangco-owner Tarlac Dev’t Corp. (Tadeco) is grabbing lands in many barangays in Hacienda Luisita.  Tadeco fenced around 200 hectares in brgy. Balete and 100 hectares in brgy. Cutcut, which is guarded by elements of the military and private security guards.  Farm workers have questioned the land grabbing to DAR officials but denied knowledge.

“These so-called public officials from DAR who smiled heavily during their photo ops at the cloa distribution, are now claiming they knew nothing of what Tadeco did.  Worse, they are doing absolutely nothing to question Tadeco and the Cojuangco-Aquinos.  These DAR officials are clearly minions of president Aquino to safeguard his family’s interests,” Canlas said.

“Our society is really at the stone age from being national democratic.  We have a government who protects the interests of the rich few and keeps the majority of the people in deep poverty and misery.  The only path to fundamental reforms is our struggle for national democracy.  We call on the people of Central Luzon to support the struggle of Hacienda Luisita farm workers as it is long overdue to concretely realize genuine land reform, for our whole society to develop,” Canlas said.


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