Thursday, February 13, 2014

This valentine's day CL farmers plea against “dead heart” of Cojuangco-Aquinos and Ayala Land

SAN FERNANDO CITY, Pampanga-The militant regional farmers group Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luson (Amgl, Farmers' Alliance in Central Luzon) and its affiliate organizations Aguman Dareng Maglalautang Capampangan (Amc), Aniban ng Nagkakaisang Mamamayan sa Hacienda Dolores (Aniban), Alyansa ng Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita (Ambala) and Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Tarlak (Amt)  appeal to different sectors for support their struggle against big and rich landlords such as the Cojuangco-Aquino family and Ayala Land.  The groups said that the former attempts to preserve their control over the vast lands of Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac city, while the latter plans to convert about 1,000-hectares of land in Hacienda Dolores in Porac town, Pampanga province.

“This valentine's day, we appeal not to the big and rich landlords as their hearts are hopelessly dead, but to the people of Central Luzon who adhere to the principles of nationalism and democracy.  The very interests of the Cojuangco-Aquinos and Ayala Land are the negation of these historic and valued ideals,” Joseph Canlas said, Amgl chairperson.

The groups are appealing to the so-called middle sectors such as the local businesses, church, professionals, institutions, cultural groups and more.  They claimed that feudal control of big landlords such as the Cojuangco-Aquinos and Ayala Land is a big stumbling block to development, affecting not just the peasant class, but also the middle classes.

The groups said that the Cojuangco-Aquino family is planning to convert Hacienda Luisita into an economic zone, as insinuated by the signage put up by their controlled firm, Tarlac Dev't. Corp. (Tadeco) in brgy. Balete, while Ayala Land plans the Alvierra project, similar to Nuvali in Sta. Rosa city in Laguna province.  They added that these plans totally disregard the interests of poor farmers and only serve their greed and interests of big, foreign and local investors.  This type of projects offer no room to local businesses but big and foreign such as what is taking place in Clark freeport zone in Angeles city and worse become competition.  Big landlords also enjoys monopoly control, dictating prices and distribution of agricultural would-be raw materials for local businesses.

“If Ayala Land pushes through with their project, this is another blow to the poor farmers and also the middle sector, as obviously this would result competition,” Canlas said.

The groups are citing the planned construction of residential and commercial establishments, including educational institutions.  They learned that well-known private schools in Manila are reportedly being asked to construct satellite campus in Alvierra.  Commercial establishments would clearly draw in the market similar to what is taking place in Angeles city, consequently affecting low-capital businesses.

“If these projects proliferate in the region, this would threaten our food supply, putting the people into deep poverty and hunger.  Poor farmers who actually cultivated food products are usual victims of hunger as their harvests immediately go to land rent and other costs.  If supply is depressed further, aside from the poor farmers, this would affect the workers, urban poor and other sectors,” Canlas said.

The groups claimed that these projects are holistic consequences.  It primarily affects poor farmers through seizure of their lands and ejectment, subsequently, other sectors and even the environment.  Thus, these projects are negate prioritizing national welfare and democracy.

“Let us not forget that love is not just romantic love.  Patriotism is love to one's people and we urge sectors to concretize this historical ideal into practice by supporting the struggle of Hacienda Luisita and Hacienda Dolores farmers,” Canlas ended. 

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