Sunday, August 17, 2014

Hacienda Dolores farmers condemn DAR’s broken promises

SAN FERNANDO CITY, Pampanga-More than a hundred farmers from Hacienda Dolores, Porac town in Pampanga province trooped in front of the office of the Dept. of Agrarian Reform Region III office in city of San Fernando and protested its inaction and broken promises regarding the former’s plight on the land.  The farmers belonged to the Aniban ng Nagkakaisang Mamamayan ng Hacienda Dolores (Aniban) affiliated with Aguman Dareng Maglalautang Capampangan (Amc) and Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luson (Amgl, Farmers’ Alliance in Central Luzon).

“DAR as expected, has broken its promises to the farmers of Hacienda Dolores who camped out in front of their office for three months,” Joseph Canlas said, Amgl chairperson.

Last May, farmers of Hacienda Dolores set up camp in front of the said office as their lands were systematically seized by Leonardo-Lachenal-Leonio Holdings Inc. (LLL) and FL Property Management Corp. (FL), both partners of Ayala Land, Inc. who plans to construct a 1,000-hectare Alvierra eco-residential-commercial-light industrial and tourist project, akin to Nuvali in Sta. Rosa city, province of Laguna.

As the farmers’ protest is intensifying, DAR officials promised (1) to install farmers who have certificate of land ownership awards and emancipation patents for the lands they are tilling; and (2) to conduct an ocular inspection of the site, particularly to witness the fences and security posts set up by LLL and FL on the lands.  But for more than three months that passed, DAR never accomplished any of it committed.

“This showed the negligence of DAR, and the uselessness of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program against land grabbing measures of big companies such as Ayala Land,” Canlas said.

In light of advancing their legitimate interests of the land, the Hacienda Dolores farmers are to transfer their camp out at the site to serve as rallying point of their activities within the hacienda.  The farmers vowed to defend their remaining lands from possible encroachment of LLL and FL, as well as abuses of private guards and goons.

“From the successul drumming up of the Hacienda Dolores issue through setting up camp, marching from Pampanga to Metro Manila and joining the state-of-the-nation address (sona) protest, the camp out at the site symbolizes the farmers’ assertion of their rights on the land on ground level,” Canlas said.

The groups said that farmers’ situation worsened under the present administration of president Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino (BS Aquino) as Ayala Land was a big financial backer of his presidential campaign in 2010 and DAR’s inaction, as well as other agencies such as the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) are only part of the political favors enjoyed by the said company.

“Hacienda Dolores farmers became usual victims of mass arrests, extra-judicial killings and filing of trumped up charges under Aquino’s term.  Thus, we hold his corruption-ridden presidency seriously accountable for the abuses against the farmers,” Canlas said.

“We will never tire of reiterating our call for justice for Hacienda Dolores farmers such as Arman Padiño, who was killed on January 13, Menelao Barcia killed on May 2, and also for jailed former Aniban chair and elected barangay chair Arturo Tolentino,” he added.

The groups said that the Hacienda Dolores farmers’ rights on land remains threatened under BS Aquino government, thus, they are joining the nationwide support for his impeachment and call for his removal from office, especially brought about by his disbursement acceleration program (DAP) that used billions of pesos of public funds. 


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