Launching the Philippine Land Reform Movement

 

UP CSWCD Tandang Sora Hall

 

May 28,  2015

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The Organizers and Convenors
                          
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Opening Message by BAYAN Chair Dr. Carol Araullo
Photo by KMP
 


Prof. Bobby Tuazon: Feudalism and Land Reform
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RosB Guzman: Land Reform and Economic Development
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Prof. Roland Simbuland:
Land Reform and National Sovereignty/Economic Independence
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Click here to download paper (still under construction)

MAKABAYAN President Satur Ocampo: Land Reform and Peace
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Emcees for Part I: Zen Soriano and Shen Maglinte
     

IWA chair Liza Maza: Land Reform and Women
     

Anakbayan Chair Vencer Crisostomo: Land Reform and Youth
           
     
  UP CMC Dean Roland Tolentino: Land Reform and Culture
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ANG TUNAY NA PAGLAYA AY NASA KAMAY NG URING MAGSASAKA

(Tungkol sa paksang Piyudalismo at Reporma sa Lupa ng PLRM, Mayo 28, 2015)

Bobby M. Tuazon
Director for Policy Studies|
Center for People Empowerment in Governance (CenPEG)

www.cenpeg.org

 Ang isyu ng lupa ay laging nasa sinapupunan ng mga makasaysayang pakikibaka ng sambayanan sapul pa ng panahon ng kolonyalismo – mula sa mga mumunting pag-aalsa, hanggang sa mga paghihimagsik, hanggang sa unang rebolusyon sa Asya noong 1896;  hindi ito napigil noong Digmaang Pilipino-Amerikano;  at lumarga sa maraming paghihimagsik at rebelyon pagkalipas ng direktang kolonyalismo;  na nagtuloy-tuloy sa kontemporaryong pakikibaka para sa lupa, na, kung ating matatandaan, ay humantong sa pagpapabagsak sa diktadurang Marcos noong 1986; at  rumaragasa ngayon sa pambansang armadong rebolusyong  isinusulong sa kalakhan ng uring magsasaka.    Sa mga nasabing makasaysayang pakikibaka,  ang mga kolonyal na mananakop at reaksyonaryong rehimen ay gumamit ng matinding karahasan  laban sa mga rebeldeng magsasaka, na tinawag nilang “bandido” at “terorista.” 

 Ang ganting salakay ng mga reaksyonaryong administrasyon ngayon  – maging laban sa mga lehitimo at mapayapang protesta ng mga organisasyong magsasaka -- ay walang ipinagkaiba sa mga masaker, pwersahang pagpapalayas,  at iba pang pagmamalupit sa mga magsasaka mula Luzon hanggang Mindanao, pati na sa mga magsasaka sa kabundukan ng Cordillera at iba pang katutubong pamayanan,  kabilang ang mga Lumad at Muslim sa Bangsamoro.  Kailangang idiin, gayunman, na ang inhustisyang ipinapataw sa magsasakang Pilipino – at sa malawak na masa ng sambayanan,  sa katunayan – ay hindi lamang sa anyo ng dahas ng bala kundi ng dahas ng mga ahensya ng estado at sistema ng korte (o court system).  Kaytagal nang natutunan ng magsasakang Pilipino na tanging sa kolektibong pagtutol lamang nila masasagkaan ang karahasang ginagawa sa kanila ng estado kaugnay ng kanilang makatarungang pakikibaka para sa lupa.

 Ang paglaya ng uring magsasaka mula sa pagkaaliping pyudal, at mula sa kahirapan at inhustisyang panlipunan, ay hindi magmumula sa mga panginoong pyudal o sa gobyernong nagsisilbi sa mga nasabing panginoon.  Anumang repormang gagawin ng uring panginoong maylupa sa pamamagitan ng gobyerno ay pangunahing  nakadisenyo upang patahimikin ang panlipunang ligalig o upang pahupain ang armadong rebolusyon na likha ng umiiral na pagkaaliping pyudal.  Matutukoy ang mga ganoong mapanlinlang na reporma sa karamihan ng mga proyekto sa tenancy relations at land settlement mula noong dantaong 1900 hanggang noong matapos ang Ikalawang Digmaang  Pandaigdig.  Halimbawa, ang kunwa’y biniling may 166,000 ektarya ng lupang prayle, halimbawa,  noong maagang yugto ng panahon ng kolonyalismong Amerikano ay napunta lamang  sa sandakot na panginoong maylupa (o landed elite) habang ang patakarang free trade  ng U.S., na naging daan kung bakit ang Pilipinas ay naging pangunahing pinagkukunan ng mga hilaw na materyales at cash crops, ay humantong naman sa pagbubukas ng malalaking plantasyon sa Kabisayaan at Mindanao, na nagsimulang umiral kaalinsabay ng mga tradisyonal na asyenda sa Luzon.  

 Noong 1954, wala ring silbi ang Land Tenancy Act na tadtad ng butas na legalidad na pumapabor sa mga panginoong maylupa sa kabila ng sharing arrangements nito.  Ang PD 27 ni Ferdinand Marcos naman noong panahon ng batas-militar ay ganap na huwad  dahil limitado lamang iyon sa mga lupaing tinatamnan ng palay at mais;  ang mga manggagawang bukid sa mga lupaing sinasaka ng mga kasamà ay inietsa-pwera ng nasabing batas.  Ang resulta, naging simpleng pirasong papel ang PD 27 – pinayagan nito ang mga panginoong maylupa na tamnan ng iba ang mga lupaing dapat sana ay saklaw ng batas; at naging daan rin sa malawakang pagpapalayas at ibang anyo ng karahasan na dinanas ng mga kasamàng magsasaka o yaong hindi nagmamayari o umuupa ng lupa.

 Sa halip na ipagyabang bilang centerpiece program ni Corazon Aquino, ang Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP, 1988-2014) ay mas dapat tawaging pinakamalaking  pandurugas ng lahat ng panahon.  Sa panahong si CA – isang malaking panginoong maylupa - ay naging presidente noong 1986, 90% na ng tanimang lupain  ay pag-aari ng may 10% lamang ng populasyon.  Nang magkabisa noong 1988, ang CARP  ay isang hungkag na instrumentong pampulitika para sagkaan ang sumusulong na radikalisasyon ng kilusang magbubukid – na lubhang lumakas noong panahon ni Marcos – at upang kabigin ang ilang lider nito tungo sa repormismo at palayo sa makabuluhang pagbabago.  Ang estratehiyang kontra-insurhensyang Low-Intensity Conflict (LIC) ng militar ng U.S. sa Pilipinas ay sumuporta din sa CARP bilang bahagi ng “komprehensibong” solusyong pang-ekonomya sa ligalig at insurhensyang magsasaka.  Ipinagyabang ng Kongresong dominado ng mga panginoong maylupa at ng mga sangay-ehekutibo ng gobyerno na ang CARP ay magiging sandata ng katarungang panlipunan habang nagmamaniobra sila na manatili sa sandakot na panginoong maylupa o landed elite ang karapatan sa pag-aari ng mga lupain: una, sa pamamagitan ng pagpapaliit ng mga lupang “dapat-repormahin” mula 10.3M ektarya hanggang 8.2M ektarya, na sinundan pa ng mga limitasyon sa retensyon, eksempsyon, at ekslusyon gaya ng mga pakanang stock distribution option, land-use conversions (tulad ng kumbersyong komersyal, residensyal, at eko-turismo), voluntary land transfer (VLT), voluntary offer to sell (VOS), at mga pakanang leaseback. Lahat nito ay nauwi  sa pagpapalayas  sa malalaking bilang ng mga pamilyang kàsama.  

 Ang pagiging inutil ng reporma sa lupa sa pamamagitan ng iba’t ibang susog na lehislatiba ay nagsimula bago pa man lumarga ang CARP. Ito ay isinulong kasabay ng pananakot ng mga despotikong asendero sa pamamagitan ng kanilang mga pribadong sandatahang armi laban sa mga grupong magsasaka na nagbunga sa maramimg masaker sa Negros at iba pang rehiyon. Patunay na isa lamang malaking pandurugas ang CARP ay ang magarbong paglulunsad nito kasabay ng pagtutok ng baril – o “Total War Policy” - laban sa uring magsasaka sampu ng mga organisadong pambansang demokratikong aktibista sa ilalim ng estratehiyang kontra-insurhensyang LIC na pinamunuan ng US.

 Inilalantad ng mga independyenteng ulat, taliwas sa sinasabi ng DAR, na sa 27 taon ng CARP, nananatiling 1% lamang ng populasyon ang nagmamay-ari sa halos 1/5 ng kabuuang lupaing agrikultural ng bansa;  ang mga dambuhalang plantasyon at asyenda ay nanatiling pag-aari ng mga panginoong maylupa sa iba’t  ibang pakana;  samantalang  8 sa 10 magsasaka ay nanatiling naghihirap sa ilalim ng sistemang kasamà.  Dagdag pa, umaabot sa 1.5M ektarya ng lupa na sinasabi ng DAR na naipamahagi na ay wala sa kamay ng mga benepisyaryo ng CARP.

 Sa kabilang banda, ang CARP, na ipinatupad sa panahon ng globalisasyong tulak ng market economy, ay lalong nagpaliit sa produktibidad ng lupain ng bansa dahil ang buong ekonomya  nito ay naging palaasa sa farm imports laluna ng bigas at asukal.  Sa paglubha ng kahirapan at disempleyo sa kanayunang bukid, mas maraming Pilipino – 7 sa 10 – ang nagsasabing sila ay mahirap ngayon.  Ang agwat ng kita ng mayaman at mahirap ay lalong lumaki sa ilalim ni  Benigno Aquino III:  Noong 2014, ang net worth ng 40 pinakamayayamang Pilipino ay lumobo sa $72.2 billion (PhP 3 trillion) o katumbas ng pinagsamang kita ng  60 milyong Pilipino . Sa Southeast Asia, ang income disparity sa Pilipinas, ayon sa Gini coefficient, ang siyang pinakamalaki.

 Katunayan, ang kawalan ng tunay na reporma sa lupa at ng pamamahagi ng lupa ay hindi aksidente; sa halip, ito ay luwal ng isang sistemang pampulitika na pinangingibabawan ng dominanteng uring maylupa  -- kakampi ng iba pang dominanteng elite interest – na siyang nagmomonopolyo sa poder.  Pyudalismo ang patuloy na bumubuhay sa mga istrukturang pampulitika ng bansa, na nagbibigay-laya sa mga dinastiyang pamilya upang maghari sa pambansa at lokal na antas.  Ang pag-aari sa lupa ng iilan ay kaytagal nang nakakubabaw sa gobyerno, at nitong kalilipas na mga dekada, ang kanilang mga interes ay lumawak pa at nag-iba-iba ng anyo ng monopolyo, kabilang ang real estate, energy distribution, konstruksyon, banko, shipping, shopping malls at otel, at maging sa midya at logistics/forwarders.  

 Sa mga bagong industriya man o pag-aari sa lupa, nananatili ang  pyudal na relasyon – at ang kaayusang ito ay nananatili  rin sa anyo ng political patronage na ipinamamarali ng uring dominante sa panguluhan, Kongreso, at maging sa mga local government units (LGUs).  Ang panguluhan, sapul simula naman, ay dominado ng elite – pinapatakbo ng punong ehekutibo ang burukrasya na tila siya ay isang panginoong pyudal:   Libo-libong mahahalagang posisyon sa gobyerno ay pinupunuan sa pamamagitan ng pabor-pampulitika dahil ang  civil service eligibility ngayon ay maliit na bagay na lamang.  Sa kabila ng konstitusyonal na pagbabawal sa mga dinastiyang pampulitika, na ang paglawak ay nakaugat sa monopolyo sa lupa, ang Kongreso ay nananatiling dominado ng mga nasabing dinastiya – halos 75% sa mababang kapulungan, 80% sa Senado, samantalang ang Partylist naman ay nanangamba na ring mapasailalim sa dominasyon ng dinastiyang pulitika.  Sa suma,  pinapayagan ng mga istrukturang pyudal ang patuloy na pangingibabaw ng elite, na kumakamkam sa kapangyarihan at maging sa mga rekurso, na inilalaan naman sa  pork barrel, korupsyon, at sa higit pang pagkakamal nila ng kayamanang pang-ekonomya.  Ang pagpapanatili ng paghaharing elite sa pambansa o lokal mang antas ay pinagiging-lehitimo ng sistema ng eleksyong isinusubo ng U.S., na gumagarantiya sa “pananalo” ng mga dinastikong pulitiko,  gamit ang poder, salapi, at kalimitan, pandaraya.

 Sa harap ng mga nasabing kondisyon – at makalipas ang higit sa 100 taon ng samutsaring huwad na reporma sa lupa – walang magagawa ang uring magsasaka kundi ang maggumiit sa kanilang pakikibaka para sa tunay na paglaya, kapwa bilang isang kalipunan, at sa mahigpit na pakikiisa sa ibang pwersang demokratiko sa bansa.  May hiyas na aral mula sa dugo at mga sakrispisyong inihandog sa mga dantaong pakikibaka:  Hindi mailalagak  ang inyong tiwala at pag-asa sa isang gobyernong pinaghaharian ng – at kumakatawan sa  -- mga oligarkong panginoong maylupa, sa sandakot na kumokontrol sa komersyo (business elite), at sa dayuhang monopolyo-kapitalismo.

Ang paglaya ng uring magsasaka ay ang paglaya mula sa pyudal na pagkaalipin sa pamamagitan ng tunay na repormang agraryo at ang pagwasak sa paghahari ng uring panginoong maylupa. Sa buong daigdig, walang bansang umunlad na hindi dumaan sa paglaya ng uring anakpawis mula sa kuko ng mga mapagsamantalang naghaharing-uri at dayuhang pandarambong, pagtatayo ng bago at matatag na pampulitikang kaayusan na nagsisilbi para sa karapatan at interes ng malawak na mamamayan, at ang pagkakaroon ng pambansang industryalisasyon tungo sa pantay-pantay at kumprehensibong pagunlad ng mamamayan. ◙

 (Salamat kay Boni Ilagan sa pagsalin nito mula sa English.)

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Emcees for Part II: Prof. Marion Tan and KMP's Ka Daning Ramos
     
     
     
           

Rafael Ka Paeng Mariano
Chair, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP)
           
OPEN FORUM
           
     
     
     
     

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Missing out land reform thrice: Aquino not leader enough to face the land issue, groups said

by Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP, Peasant Movement of the Philippines) on Friday, October 8, 2010 at 11:42pm

Peasants belonging to the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP, Peasant Movement of the Philippines), Katipunan ng mga Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan (KASAMA – TK, KMP Southern Tagalog) and Alyansa ng mga Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita lambasted president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino’s deliberate omission of the land reform issue on his report of his first 100 days as president.

No land

“This is the third time he did not mention about land reform, following his inaugural and SONA speech. This is already intentional and it is clear that he is not a leader enough to face the land issue,” said Antonio Flores, KMP Spokesperson.

“Aquino’s omission of the land issue on his 100-days report is an indicator of his intellect and leadership competence.  He does not comprehend the scale of the landlessness issue and the implication of his continuous negligence of the farmers,” Axel Pinpin, KASAMA-TK Secretary-General said.

“He is scared of us [Hacienda Luisita farmers]. He knows the land issue is his quicksand, being a hard-core landlord from the Cojuangco-Aquinos who are clinging on their control over the 6,453-hectare Hacienda Luisita,” Felix Nacpil said, AMBALA chair.

The groups are now on the third day of resilient protest at Mendiola which they dubbed as “Battle of Mendiola.”  They have been on protest since October 6 and attempted to set camp but elements of the Manila police as ordered by Malacañang already dispersed them twice.  The farmer groups condemned the violent dispersals and are demanding Aquino to resolve the land problem and bring out fundamental reforms to Filipino peasants that are the majority in the country.

“He blabbered about cancelling bonuses of government officials, suspending government projects, again criticizing again the former Arroyo government, sacking the PAGASA chief, this and that, but not touching the most fundamental problem in the country that is landlessness,” Flores said.

The groups said that he even acted as an opposition of the P18.5-billion Laguna Lake dredging project when his own justice secretary Leila De Lima issued a statement that it not covered by the government’s bidding process.

“He is totally lying and grandstanding when the exact opposite is being pursued by his government.  All those he mentioned are very far from the farmers’ belly, farmers and their families could not eat that.  They are all useless to farmers when we are being kicked out of our farms, Aquino should work for our lands to be distributed to us,” said Flores.

The groups are primarily demanding Aquino to push Genuine Land Reform, particularly the distribution of Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac, Hacienda Yulo in Calamba, Laguna and Hacienda Looc, in Nasugbu, Batangas.  These areas have imminent threats of dislocation of farmers, thus, groups are tencious in drumming up the issue.  In addition, with Aquino’s inaction of their issues, the groups gave Aquino a grade of “zero” for his first 100-days in office.

“His presidency did nothing end the dislocation of farmers from the lands of haciendas, 3,100-hectare lands of Fort Magsaysay Military Reservation in Laur, Nueva Ecija, 2,074-hectare lands in Alangalang, Leyte, 13,000-hectare Hacienda Santa Isabel and San Antonio in Ilagan, Isabela and many more.  Aquino is no hope for the Filipino farmers who are longing for Genuine Land Reform,” said Flores.

No justice, continuing rights abuses

“He is brutal, he continued in criticizing the hated Arroyo government but he continued its counter-insurgency program Oplan Bantay Laya, he never mentioned anything about human rights violations.  His first 100-days tolled 9 peasant victims of extra-judicial killings, the latest was Rene Quirante of Kaugmaon (KMP Negros Oriental) killed on October 1 and the latest political prisoners were Darwin Liwag and 2 peasant activists.  Liwag is the Vice-Chair of KASAMA-TK and Secretary-General of PUMALAG (KMP Laguna),” Pinpin said.

“Liwag was with us at our press conference at the peasant camp-out in front of the Dept. of Agrarian Reform (DAR) on September 29, he joined the protest against the P18.5 Laguna Lake dredging project on September 23, in front of the Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), now he was arrested and being accused as a member of the New People’s Army (NPA).  This is an all-out attack of the Aquino government against the peasant movement,” shared Pinpin.

The groups are also calling for the Aquino government to end the rights abuses against peasants and give justice to the victims.  Tanggol Magsasaka (Peasant Network for Land, Justice and Human Rights) reported that 9 were victims of extra-judicial killings, including Pascual Guevarra, a 78-year old farmer inside the 3,100-hectare Fort Magsaysay Military Reservation, 2 from Paquibato District in Davao City, 4 peasants including a high school student were massacred in Mobo town, Masbate, a copra farmer in Mawab, Compostela Valley and Quirante from Negros.  The human rights group also said that 2 peasants were abducted and still missing in Marihatag, Surigao del Sur since September 1.

They are also calling for the immediate release of Liwag and 2 of his colleagues, Dario Tomada, a peasant leader from Eastern Visayas arrested July 22, Felicidad Caparal of Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura and groups of peasant political prisoners in various jails across the country.

Burning down the Haciendero Republic

As symbol of the groups over-flowing protest, they burned an mock presidential seal written with “Republika ng Haciendero” at Mendiola bridge.  They are on the conclusion of the 3-day Battle of Mendiola and the groups said that they are successful in exposing Aquino as an anti-peasant haciendero president.

“We were ignored, we were beaten up, we are being killed and arrested.  The Aquino government is a ‘Haciendero Republic’ and we are burning it down at the very foot of Mendiola bridge.  The Filipino people witnessed how insensitive and brutal Aquino is,” Pinpin said.

“It is crystal clear that Aquino is an enemy of the Filipino peasants.  He is only capable of monkey jokes.  We vow to launch more protest to put his back against the wall and work for Genuine Land Reform.  Aquino is destroying his already dwindling down artifical popularity, in due time, no paid survey firms and media apologists could ever save his incompetent presidency,” said Flores. #

 

Farmers and supporters stand ground at Mendiola against police dispersal unit

 

     
     
     
     
     
           
     
     
     

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LAND REFORM AND NATIONAL DEMOCRACY
Speech delivered in Pilipino by Jose Maria Sison before the first Central Luzon Regional Conference of Kabataang Makabayan at Republic Central Colleges, Angeles City, on October 31, 1965; and in English at the College of Agriculture, University of the Philippines, Los Banos, Laguna, on March 23, 1966

The Colonial Question and the Agrarian Question

At the present stage of our national history, the single immediate purpose to which our people are committed is the achievement of national democracy. On this single purpose, all are agreed, irrespective of social classes, unless one belongs to a class aggrandized by the perpetuation of semi-colonial and semi-feudal conditions in our society. Unless one is a landlord or a comprador, one aspires to have his nation free from colonial and imperialist exploitation. Every patriotic Filipino wishes to liquidate imperialism and feudalism simultaneously in order to achieve national democracy.

The relation between national democracy and land reform is very clear. We can achieve genuine land reform only if we, as a nation, are free from colonial and imperialist domination. In fighting for national democracy against U.S. imperialism and feudalism today, we need to unite the peasantry—the most numerous class in our society—on the side of all other patriotic classes and we need to unite with the peasantry, as the main force or backbone of our national unity and anti-imperialist struggle.

The peasantry will join the anti-imperialist movement only if it is convinced that the movement can bring about a state capable of carrying out land reform. In his long struggle for social justice, the Filipino peasant has learned that there must first be a decisive change in the character of the state, brought about largely and fundamentally by the worker-peasant alliance. He has learned the lesson a long time ago that before democratic reforms can be completely effected the national state must be secured from imperialist control and must be firmed up by the overwhelming support of the peasantry and the working class, whose alliance is far more reliable and more qualitatively powerful than the peasant-ilustrado combination which became frustrated by U.S. imperialism at the start of this century.

If we study closely the early development of the national-democratic movement, we can see its profound basis in the agrarian situation in the Philippines during the Spanish colonial era. The demand for political freedom became a valid demand to the masses only when they realized that a national state, their own popular sovereignty, could protect them against the exploitative colonial power which could only benefit the colonizers and their local agents. The Philippine Revolution of 1896 took full form only after the peasantry became mobilized into a powerful national liberation movement against colonialism and serfdom. The peasantry provided the mass support for the Philippine revolutionary government and fought the most intense patriotic war against colonial authority, especially in those areas where the contradiction between the peasant and the landlord was most intense. Colonial domination meant feudalism. It had to be overthrown by the armed might of the peasantry.

If we study assiduously the writings and experience of the old national-democratic heroes, we cannot help but find the insistent line that the lack of political freedom of a nation is based upon economic exploitation and control by an alien power. In the case of the Filipino people, during the Spanish era, the theocratic unity of church and state and the lack of national and individual freedom were based upon the feudal economic order and upon the mutual landlordism of lay and ecclesiastical authorities.

In Dr. Jose Rizal’s El Filibusterismo, you will note how the story of Cabesang Tales cries out for a nation-state capable of protecting its own citizens against foreign exploiters. The story of Cabesang Tales is no different from the lives of our peasant brothers today. He is a victim of excessive land rent, usury, servitude, extortion, insecurity from both lawless elements and legal authorities, ignorance of laws made by landlords for their own benefit, and even of his own industry which only attracts more exploitation from the exploiters. His daughter, Huli, is sacrificed to the unjust circumstances that afflict her father’s goodwill as she falls prey to the pious hypocrisies of usurious do-gooders and the local curate who would even violate her virginal virtues as she seeks his fatherly assistance. On the other hand, while her family suffers all these difficulties, her brother is conscripted into the colonial army—in the same way that our youth today are conscripted into the U.S.-controlled military machinery—to fight peasants that are in revolt in other islands and in neighboring countries. As the unkindest cut of all to her family, Tano her brother—now called Carolino after his share of fighting for Spanish colonialism against the rebellious natives in the Carolines—finds himself in his own country to hunt down a so-called bandit called Matanglawin, his own father who has turned into a peasant rebel leading multitudes of those who had been dispossessed of their own land.

In an ironic situation where the peasant conscripts must fight their own peasant brothers upon the orders of a foreign power, when the mercenaries must face mountains and mountains of guerrillas, Carolino shoots down his own grandfather, the docile and overpatient old peasant who has always advised Cabesang Tales, his aggrieved son, never to respond to the provocations of the powerful. Old as he is, representing several generations of peasant oppression and patience, he has finally become a peasant fighter after the brutal death of his dear granddaughter only to be shot down in an objective act of colonial reaction by his own unwitting grandson. It is too late when Tano or Carolino realizes it is his own grandfather he has shot, unwittingly betraying his own family and his own class. Such is the ironic situation into which many of our peasant brothers are drawn whey they enlist in the military, follow the orders of U.S.-trained officers, use U.S. arms, be guided by U.S. intelligence, ideology and advice, and allow themselves to be used against their own peasant brothers in other towns or provinces in our own country, or in foreign countries where they are used by U.S. imperialism to fight peasants who are fighting for their national freedom, as in many countries of Southeast Asia today.

The story of the peasant rebel, Matanglawin, has its basis in the life of Dr. Jose Rizal. As a young man and as a leader of his people, he showed courage in exposing the exploitative practices of the friar landlords and drew up a petition seeking redress which was signed by the tenants, leaseholders and leading citizens of Calamba. What followed the petition came to be ......

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IBON Features | October 2010

OCTOBER PEASANT MONTH: THE REMOTENESS OF REAL LAND REFORM

The bitter plight of Filipino farmers continues past the Aquino administration’s first 100 days and into October which the peasant movement marks as Peasant Month

IBON Features—The First 100 Days Report of Pres. Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino’s administration made no mention of its program for land reform. This was also true in Pres. Aquino’s first State of the Nation Address (SONA) in July, which only mentioned public-private partnerships for farming facilities and infrastructure.

All these betray that working for real land reform is not in the list of priorities of Pres. Aquino, a known haciendero. In the past, he had declared support for the one-year-old Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extended with Reforms (CARPer), which peasant groups have denounced as a futile law that is biased against peasants. In fact, a year after the enactment of RA 9700 or the CARPer, past the new administration’s first 100 days and into October which the Philippine peasant movement marks as Peasant Month, the bitter plight of Filipino farmers continue.

Only three days after Aquino was sworn into office, scores were hurt and 42 were arrested in authorities’ violent dispersal of a camp-out by peasants and their supporters only a stone’s throw from Malacañang. The camp-out was conducted to lobby farmers’ demands to the new administration, representing stark and recent cases of landgrabbing and landlessness as in Haciendas Luisita, Looc and Yulo. The new administration has also not been heard to condemn the extrajudicial killings of at least 12 farmers within its first 100 days.

The attempt to hype up the ‘compromise deal’ in Hacienda Luisita between the Cojuangco-Aquinos and ‘representative peasants and farmworkers’ – as the ‘solution’ to the Luisita controversy fails by any standard. The deal was a no-win solution for the peasants who were given a choice between embracing the stock-distribution option (SDO) as ‘shareholders’ who have only so far gotten coins – or getting a parcel of land from 33% of the hacienda divided by thousands of farmers and farm workers.

Thus dealing with the basic demand for genuine agrarian reform not only remains out of the picture after the CARPer’s first year. Even the faltering implementation of the flawed extended land reform law merely underscores its pro-landlord, anti-farmer framework.

Landlord compensation

The CARPer’s bias in favor of landlords is in the tradition of past land reform programs bearing the premise that landlords are entitled to “just compensation” in exchange for land distribution as opposed to distributing for free both landholdings and all rural wealth justly to farmers who have been tilling and making the land productive. Since 1972-2008, landlords have received P289 billion in payments for 1,619,513 hectares by virtue of these land reform programs. An additional 19,133 hectares compensable by the Land Bank of the Philippines have been distributed from January 2009 to June 2010.

The nature of the program coupled with the absence of political will for real and redistributive agrarian reform resulted in the requirement for “just compensation” which, in turn, has created the conditions for land reform to drag on and be subverted. The chronic underfunding for agrarian reform in the national budget has also caused land redistribution to drag on for decades. Worse, protracted implementation has even given landlords the time to find, create and exploit loopholes in the program and so circumvent land reform.

Under the CARPer, the required down payment for such compensation has even been raised from 25% to 50 percent.

Landlord testimony required

The CARPer also requires landlords’ testimonies that prospective farmer beneficiaries indeed worked on the land in question before the issuance of titles. Data from the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) show that as of July 2010, 106 landowners nationwide either would not attest to tenants, leaseholders or farmworkers or have pending protests over 3,318.4 hectares of land targeted for 1,602 Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries (ARBs). DAR Assistant Secretary Dominador Andres himself observed that this continued landlord resistance is a big problem that will hinder the targeted completion of CARPer implementation within five years.

Moreover, 5,703.1 hectares owned by 54 landlords and targeted for 2,703 ARBs are listed by the DAR as ‘problematic landholdings’ involving land disputes, more cases of revocation of emancipation patents and certificates of landownership award, and criminal cases filed by landowners versus farmers, as well as several complications in contacting landowners, locating markers, land valuation by the Land Bank of the Philippines and transferring titles of landholdings with many claimants.

Circumventing land distribution remains prevalent

In its 2010 report, DAR reported its land distribution accomplishment from 1972-June 2010 to have already reached 4,183,524 hectares or 81% of its target. During CARPer’s first year, 64,329 hectares or 39.5% of 163,014 target hectares were distributed.

Last year, the ‘breakthroughs’ in land distribution cited by DAR were attributed to the enactment of the CARPer and the ‘restoration of compulsory acquisition (CA) to its principal role.’ But Anakpawis Partylist Representative Rafael Mariano lamented that in the same DAR report, only 1,777 hectares or 4% of 42,428 hectares of private land were distributed through CA.

From January-June 2010, of 17,501 hectares distributed, only 1,061.51 hectares or 6% were distributed through CA. Meanwhile, land distributed through the voluntary offer to sell (VOS) mode – which landlords can use to their advantage by dictating the price – covered a bigger 7.7% or 1,340.44 hectares. Land distributed through the voluntary land transfer (VLT) mode – which allows landlords to retain control over their landownings by choosing whom to transfer land ownership to – covered the largest percentage at 40.7% or 7,119.14 hectares, all of which are landholdings over 50 hectares. This shows that the CARPer itself has allowed the bigger landowners to work around genuine land distribution.

Also, under the extended law not a single case of non-land transfer schemes – not the ’stock distribution option’ in Hacienda Luisita, the ‘corporative scheme’ by the Eduardo Cojuangco Jr. & Sons Agricultural Enterprises Inc. in Negros Occidental, the ‘cooperative scheme’ between San Miguel Corporation and the Valley Planters Development Cooperative in Isabela nor other ‘stock-sharing schemes’ in Iloilo and Davao – have been revoked.

Conversion to non-agricultural use and multinational gains

Under the CARPer, the conversion of hundreds to thousands of agricultural lands to non-agricultural use persists, which puts the livelihood of thousands of farmers’ families and the country’s food security at risk. This includes 200 hectares of Araneta-owned land for the MRT7 project in Tungkong Mangga, San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan and 375 hectares of land planted to rice, fruits and vegetables for lawmaker Luis Villafuerte’s Green Earth Heritage Foundation and export cash crops. A test case for the new administration is its handling of a recent application to convert 157 hectares of sugarland Hacienda Bacan into industrial use even if this had been placed under the defunct CARP as early as 2001. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, whose family owns Hacienda Bacan, earlier even promised to distribute the hacienda lands to 67 farmer beneficiaries.

The CARPer also retained CARP’s provision allowing multinational corporations to control and operate the country’s agricultural lands through lease, management, grower or service contracts for a period of 25 years and renewable for another 25 years. In the case of transnational companies Dole and Del Monte, 220,000 hectares of agricultural lands in Mindanao are devoted for export production and geared for further expansion.

Rep. Mariano also noted the obscurity of the status of a comprehensive inventory system congruent with the national land use plan, which the CARPer tasked the DAR to draft during the extended law’s first year of implementation. He said that the provision further narrows the scope of the CARPer in that aside from lands reclassified from agricultural into non-agricultural use under DOJ Opinion No. 44 until June 15, 1988, all land reclassified since then until August 2010 could no longer be covered by CARPer.
 

In spite of the efforts by the CARPer’s lawmaker proponents to drumbeat the extended and reformed CARP, its provision on the creation of the Congressional Oversight Committee on Agrarian Reform (COCAR) has not been implemented. Led by the Chairpersons of the Agrarian Reform Committees of both Houses, the COCAR could have been vital in recommending and monitoring the progress of land acquisition and distribution under the CARPer.

The non-establishment of a basic body in any undertaking of such high national importance as agrarian reform is another sad telltale sign of the remoteness of a great push for genuine land reform coming from the country’s currently landlord-dominated legislative branch.

 

     
     
     
     
     
     

Indecisive implementation

The great push for a truly progressive land reform can only come from the ranks of farmers and farmworkers who have, for generations and centuries, worked hard to battle landlessness amid rigorous tilling and production. It would be helpful for legislature and the people as well to consider tackling the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill being endorsed by several farmers’ groups and networks as an alternative to the CARPER, which after a year has shown its real color as the landlord-endorsed, loophole-battered, made-over CARP. IBON Features
 

           
     
     
           
Bonus Tracks
           

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NEWS RELEASE: November 14, 2013
Reference:
Florida “Pong” Sibayan,
Acting- Chairperson, AMBALA , CP # 09293201477

For details of the Hacienda Luisita Caravan on Nov. 15-16,
Please contact UMA at (02) 4269442 or 09087624520

Terror and impunity in Aquino’s own backyard:
9 years after Hacienda Luisita Massacre,
P-Noy kin involved in new land grab, rights violations
 

Amidst global relief efforts for victims of typhoon Yolanda, Hacienda Luisita farmers who were hit by Typhoon Santi in October currently face the man-made calamity of terror and impunity in the Cojuangco-Aquino-controlled sugar estate. 

Farmers in Barangay Balete clashed with around 60 security guards of the Cojuangco firm Tarlac Development Corp. (TADECO) and the Tarlac City police headed by OIC P/Supt. Bayani Razalan yesterday morning, after TADECO ordered the farmers’ eviction from agricultural lands aggressively claimed by the company. After Typhoon Santi ravaged homes and crops in Hacienda Luisita, TADECO guards prevented residents from rebuilding their huts and ruthlessly demolished other huts repaired by farmers.  

Injured during yesterday’s clash were three women – Luisita farmworkers’ alliance AMBALA acting chairperson Florida “Pong” Sibayan, a survivor of the 2004  Massacre; her 76-year-old mother, Maria Versola; and her sister, Ermisa Baldeviano. 

A bulldozer had been in the area since 2 days ago. Earlier this morning, farmers’ vegetable crops were destroyed by TADECO guards as a truck of soldiers belonging to the AFP Northern Luzon Command (NOLCOM) patrolled the area. Farmers have occupied and tilled the farmlots since 2005, during the height of the Hacienda Luisita Strike. 

TADECO guards are also suspects in the death of AMBALA leader Dennis de la Cruz who was found dead near the bungkalan farm lot in Barangay Balete on November 1. In Barangay Cutcut, TADECO recently filed unlawful detainer cases against 81 farmers. TADECO and the Tarlac City police headed by Supt. Razalan were also involved in the illegal arrest of 11 fact-finding delegates headed by Anakpawis Rep. Fernando Hicap in September.   

TADECO started to install outposts and security personnel around nearly a thousand hectares of choice agricultural lots in Brgy. Balete and Cutcut during the Department of Agrarian Reform’s (DAR) land distribution activities in Hacienda Luisita last July. Eviction letters were also sent by TADECO to hundreds of farmers. TADECO claims that the hundreds of hectares of agricultural land are not part of the April 2012 Supreme Court (SC) decision to distribute Hacienda Luisita to farmworker-beneficiaries. DAR officials have been defending TADECO’s claims in recent media pronouncements. 

TADECO administered Hacienda Luisita and the sugar mill Central Azucarera de Tarlac when the Cojuangcos acquired the estate from its original Spanish owners in 1957. However, TADECO lost all claims to agricultural land in Hacienda Luisita after it created the Hacienda Luisita, Inc, (HLI) in 1989, a  spin-off corporation to implement the Stock Distribution Option (SDO) of land reform. Farmworkers’ “co-owned” the HLI through agricultural land that should have been physically distributed to them.  

The historic April 2012 SC decision revoked the SDO and ordered the distribution of all agricultural land to farmworkers. The DAR claims to have accomplished this task last October, after distributing photocopies of land award certificates to thousands of Luisita beneficiaries. However, not an inch of land has been physically distributed to these beneficiaries up to this moment.  

The Unyon ng Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) and AMBALA released a 40-page comprehensive fact-finding report today that confirms anomalies and irregularities in DAR’s land distribution activities.  AMBALA through its counsel SENTRA will continue to challenge the DAR’s actions through a motion to be filed before the SC tomorrow morning.   

Due to intensified military operations in the area, Hacienda Luisita farmworkers will commemorate the 9th anniversary of the Hacienda Luisita Massacre under tense circumstances. A caravan, bungkalan activity, cultural night and mass will be held at Hacienda Luisita starting tomorrow up to the Massacre’s anniversary on November 16. Justice remains elusive to victims of the massacre and several other subsequent killings related to the agrarian dispute. After nine long years, nobody has been held liable for the gruesome incident. ###
 

     
     
           
     
     
     

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Paglala ng kawalang lupa, panganib sa mga magsasaka ng Gitnang Luzon
10/14/2013

Mahigit isang daang magsasaka mula sa Gitnang Luson, sa pamumuno ng Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luson (Amgl), ang lumahok sa pambansang protestang magbubukid ngayong araw sa Quezon city, bilang pagmarka ng anibersaryo ng programang PD 27 ng diktaduryang Marcos. Kasama ang mga lider at kasapi ng Aniban ng Nagkakaisang Mamamayan ng Hacienda Dolores (Aniban) at Amgl-Nueva Ecija, ang Amgl ay lalahok sa limang-araw na protesta ng magsasaka sa pangunguna ng Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (Kmp). Kasalukuyang nagpo-protesta ang mga magsasaka mula Hacienda Dolores at Nueva Ecija sa harap ng pambansang tanggapan ng Dept. of Agrarian Reform sa Quezon city. Ito ay susundan ng paggunita sa International Rural Women’s Day bukas Oktubre 15 at World “Foodless” Day sa Oktubre 16. Sa Oktubre 17 at 18, ilulunsad ng mga magsasaka ang protestang karaban tungong Hacienda Luisita sa Tarlac city, para kundenahin ang mga pakana ng pamilyang Cojuangco-Aquino, DAR at AFP, bilang suporta sa mga manggagawang bukid na nanawagan ng tunay na reporma sa lupa at libreng pamamahagi ng Hacienda Luisita.

“Sa kabila ng ilang dekadang pagpapatupad ng PD 27 at CARP, palala ang kalagayan ng mga magsasaka. Lalong dumami ang napalayas at nawalan ng kabuhayan dahil sa malawakang pangangamkam ng lupa at land use conversion na nakabalangkas sa programang Public-Private Partnership (PPP) ni Aquino at huwad na programang CARPer,” ani Joseph Canlas, tagapangulo ng Amgl.

Ang Nueva Ecija na tinaguriang “rice granary” ng bansa ay humaharap ngayon sa malaking panganib dahil ang mga magsasaka ay humaharap sa malawakang pagpapatalsik mula sa lupa bunga ng pagkansela ng mga certificate of land ownership award (cloa), emancipation patent (ep), certificate of land title (clt) at foreclosure. Karaniwan din ang pangangamkam ng lupa ng mga malalaking panginoong maylupa, lokal at dayuhang negosyante.

“Ipinagmamalaki ng gubyerno at DAR na 36% ng farmer-beneficiaries (FBs) ng rehiyon ay mula sa Nueva Ecija sa lupang 42% ng coverage ng CARP sa rehiyon. Ngunit ang mga FBs ngayon ay humaharap sa pagpapalayas at pagbawi ng lupa ng mga panginoong maylupa, kakutsaba ang DAR at Land Bank,” dagdag ni Canlas.

Ang mga FBs sa Nueva Ecija ay ngayo’y nakatatanggap ng “notice of foreclosure” mula sa Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) at DAR. Ayon sa datos ng AMGL-Nueva Ecija, maraming magsasaka sa halos anim (6) na hacienda na nasa Nueva Ecija ang nakakatanggap ng ‘notice of foreclosure’ mula sa LBP at DAR. Ang mga asyendang ito ay ang sumusunod: ang Hacienda De Santos sa Guimba, Cuyapo at Nampicuan na may saklaw na 9,700 ekt. Lupain; Hacienda Davis sa Brgy. Manggang Marikit, Brgy. Bagong Barrio at Yuson ng Guimba na sumasaklaw ng 120 ekt. Lupain; Hacienda Alzate sa Brgy. Edy, Meling at Ambassador ng bayan ng Nampicuan; Hacieda Rueda na sumasakop ng 238.34 ekt. lupain sa Brgy. San Andres I, Quezon; Hacienda Tinio sa Guimba na saklaw ang 7,000 ekt.; at Hacienda Bueno sa bayan ng Caranglan na may 6,000 ekt. lupain.

Dagdag ng grupo, malaganap ang pagtutulak ng foreclosure. Ito ay patakaran ng gobyerno ng pangangamkam ng lupa at pagpapalayas sa magsasaka. Partikular sa Hacienda Bueno, tinaningan ng DAR at LBP ang mga magsasaka ngayong 2013 lalupa’t ang lugar na ito ay babagtasin ng Dalton East Alignment Road Project (DEARP) . Taong 2012, naging malawakan ang pagpapadala nito sa mga magsasaka at ilan sa mga magsasaka ay nakaramdam ng pangangamba lalupa’t nagkakahalaga ng P100,000 ang utang nila sa LBP bilang amortisasyon na dapat bayaran sa loob ng 15 araw.

“Maliban sa kanselasyon ng mga CLOA, ang foreclosure ay isa lamang sa pagpapalala ng kalagayan ng mga magsasaka. Isa itong negosyo ng gobyerno kasabwat ang DAR at LBP para agawin sa mga magsasaka ang kanilang lupain. Ang mga magsasaka ay walang kakayahang magbayad laluna sa napakalaking gastusin sa pagsasaka, mahal na bilihin, epekto ng kalamidad at marami pang iba. Matibay pa din ang panawagan na dapat magkaroon ng suportang serbisyo ang gobyerno,’’ dagdag ni Canlas.

Kaugnay nito, nanganganib din ang probinsya bilang ‘Food Bowl’ o ‘Rice Granary’ lalupa’t libu-libong magsasaka ang biktima ng pangangamkam ng lupa at pagpapalayas dulot ng pagtatayo ng dam at expressways kagaya ng Central Luzon Expressway (CLEX) na mula Cabanatuan- San Jose patungong Aurora at Northern Luzon Expressway (NLEX)-East sa bayan ng Gapan at Balintingnon dam sa General Tinio. Dagdag dito, patuloy pa ding inaagawan ng lupa ang mga magsasaka sa Fort Magsaysay Military Reservation (FFMR), at iba pang bahagi ng probinsya.

“Sa Pampanga, isa sa matingkad na isyu ng pangangamkam ng lupa at pagpapalayas ang mga magsasaka at residente ng Hacienda Dolores, Porac, Pampanga. Pinag-iinteresan ng LLL at FL Development Corporation ang mahigit 700 ekt. produktibong lupain ng asyenda. Sa kasalukuyan, pinagbabawalan silang makapasok sa kanilang mga sakahan at tuluy-tuloy na nakararanas ng harassment mula sa kamay ng mga security guards, goons at PNP.’’

“Ang isyu naman ng Hacienda Luisita sa Tarlac ay tinik sa lalamunan ni Aquino at kanyang pamilya kaya kaliwa’t kanan ang maniobra para manatili ang kontrol sa asyenda. Sa katatapos na tambiolo noong Agosto, nilinlang at tinakot ang mga magsasaka para diumano sa tapat na pamamahagi ng lupa. Sa kasalukuyan, ibinubuslo na naman ang mga magsasaka sa pagtanggap ng CLOA kung saan taliwas sa panawagang libreng mapasakanila ang lupain. Ang patutunguhan ng Hacienda Luisita ay kagaya sa mga nararanasan ng mga magsasaka sa iba’t ibang lugar sa bansa na kung saan babayaran ang amortisasyon ng 30 taon at kapag hindi makapagbayad sa 3 magkakasunod na taon ay papadalhan ng notice o kaya mas maagang bahagi ay ikakansela ang lupain.’’

“Ibang usapin pa ang umiiral sa kasalukuyan, malawakan ang pangangamkam ng lupa ng Tarlac Dev’t. Corp. (TADECO) at Lusita Realty Corporation (LRC) sa mga sakahan ng Brgy. Cutcut, Balete, Asturias at Mapalacsiao na aabot sa mahigit 300 ekt. lupain. Kaugnay nito, tuluy-tuloy ang pananakot, paniniktik at harassment sa mga magsasaka lalupa’t nakakapanatili ang mga sundalo at CAFGU sa sampung barangay ng asyenda.’’

“Ang kalagayan ng mga magsasaka sa rehiyon ay hindi dapat ipagkibit-balikat lalupa’t ang plano ng gubyernong Aquino ay PPP o kutsabahan umano ng gubyerno at pribadong sektor para pagkakitaan ang mga likas na yaman ng bansa. Ang proyektong Metro-Luzon Urban Beltway, kasama ang SCTEx, Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEx), Central Luzon Expressway (CLEx) at North Luzon East Expressway (NLEx East) ay ipanapatupad ng gubyernong Aquino para pabilisin ang panghuhuthot sa likas na yaman ng rehiyon at bansa, kasama na ang malawak at produktibong kalupaan ng Gitnang Luson.’’

“Plano ni Aquino na itransporma ang rehiyon bilang isang malawak na eco-zone kung saan, pawang interes ng mga dayuhan at mayayamang negosyante ang namamayagpag at pangunahin. Nais ni Aquino na ipatupad mga proyektong eko-turismo at komersyal na establisyemento para sa interes ng mga dayuhan. Wala itong konsiderasyon sa maliit na mamamayan, tulad ng mga magsasaka at patuloy lamang ang pagyurak sa kanilang mga karapatan sa lupa at kabuhayan,’’ pagtatapos ni Canlas. #
 

     
     
     
     
           
     
     
     
     

.Private corporations and gov’t plan to wipe out communities in Hacienda Dolores, experienced
11/03/2013

Led by Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luson (Farmers’ Alliance in Central Luzon), Aniban ng Nagkakaisang Mamamayan sa Hacienda Dolores (ANMHD), Karapatan-Central Luzon, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and Anakpawis Party-list, a National Fact-finding and Solidarity Mission (NFFSM) was held at the Hacienda Dolores in Porac town last October 30 to 31 to investigate alleged land grabbing and displacement efforts by Leonardo-Lachenal-Leonio Holdings Inc. (LLL or LHI), FL Property Management Corp. (FL Corp.) and Ayala Land, Inc. The activity was also joined by groups such as the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP), Social-Pastoral Apostolate of Holy Family Academy (Angeles city) and St. Scholastica Academy – Manila, Central Luzon Ayta Association, Aguman Dareng Maglalautang Capampangan (AMC), Ambala – Hacienda Luisita, Karapatan – National, Sinagbayan, Anakbayan, Bayan Muna – Pampanga, PDIARS and KM 64. LHI and FL Corp. have claimed about 754 hectares of the 2,099-hectare Hacienda Dolores which is connected by an interchange of the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx).

“The people of Hacienda Dolores is in grave distress, facing the land grabbing measures of LHI, FL Corp. and Ayala Land. The children, women, elderly and farmers have their own stories shared in the activity,” Joseph Canlas said, Amgl chairperson and Anakpawis Party-list regional coordinator.

“The private corporations have violated the socio-economic rights of the people of Hacienda Dolores, when they were barred to attending their farms since 2011. LHI and FL Corp. also destroyed crops, bulldozed of their farms, and their guards snatched livestock and poultry owned by the farmers. They filed trumped up charges against the farmers resulting to illegal arrests. These corporations are essentially killing the people as their sources of livelihood are being cut off,” Canlas said.

The NFFSM group initially documented 26 cases of destruction and divestment of properties, victimizing 21 farmers, 5 peasant women, 1 case of illegal mass arrest victimizing 12 farmers on November 4, 2011 and 1 case of illegal arrest and detention on July 28 this year, 2 separate cases of harassment, threat and intimidation and a case of coercion to a farmer to sign a waiver of voluntary surrender of land and recruitment of local and indigenous Ayta to serve as goons and security guards.

According to a certain Ruben Zalta, 79 years old, one of the eldest in the village cultivating 1.5 hectare of rice land, 7 hectare with vegetable crops, 20 mango trees and 15 coconut tree, 2 hectare with guava trees. He was a victim of coercion to sign the waiver on August 24 this year when about 20 unidentified men in jackets and bonnet surrounded him with his 81-year old wife, Teresita Zalta and said “papatayin kita kapag hindi ka pumirma sa waiver” (I will kill you if you don’t sign the waiver). Zalta then trembling, signed the waiver in front of a man with hand inside the jacket’s pocket, apparently holding something. After the incident, he filed a complaint at the barangay hall but told to complain at the municipal hall. At the town hall, he was advised to return to the barangay hall but faced with chairman Nestor Tolentino, his son-in-law replying “wala na tayong magagawa dahil nasa korte na,” (there is nothing we can do as it is already at the courts). At present, his house was being used by the security guards as post and his poultry are missing.

In addition, some women, namely Rossan Colobong, Mercedita Angeles, Filipina Franco, Iluminada Ignacio, Rowena Santiago, Josephine De Jesus and Virginia Ayson resort to other work such as laundry, farm work, marketing and retail as they were not able to harvest their crops as their farms were fenced by LHI and FL Corp. They said that their crops were stolen by the goons and security guards and this has affected their way of life as they lost source of income, for food and schooling of their children.

 

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The women also supposed that they were able to harvest 10 to 15 tons of guava daily, and they were delivered to Pampang market in Angeles city, a guava jam factory in Bulacan and some parts of Metro Manila. Thus, they were able to earn weekly about P3,000 to P7,500 from a price set to P10 to P25 per kg of guava. Since May this year, as their farms were seized from them, they lost about P180,000 of potential income.

The land grabbing of LHI and FL Corp. also affected the youth in Hacienda Dolores. A young girl named Merry Jane G. Franco, 18 years old, was not able to go to college as her family lost their source of income. She witnessed how the security guards barred her parents to attend their farm, demolished their house, declining number of livestock and poultry and destruction of their crops.

The LHI is claiming 298 hectares covering Purok 3 to 8 of Hacienda Dolores, while FL Corp. is claiming 456 hectares ranging from th plains to the mountain tops involving some ancestral lands of Ayta communities. Ayala Land has publicized their plan with Hacienda Dolores, covering 1,000 hectares to be developed similar to the Nuvali project in Sta. Rosa city in Laguna province. Nuvali is an eco-residential and tourism project catering rich foreign and local businesses. LHI and FL Corp. has already barred at least 350 farmers from attending their farms.
 

“The case of Hacienda Dolores is an unquestionable instance of bankruptcy of past and present land reform laws. The farmers’ ancestors have cultivated the lands since the Spanish colonialism, even before any Philippine government or constitution was established. But now, they are being displaced and their livelihood seized,” Canlas said.

Hacienda Dolores farmers said that their ancestors have cultivated the lands since 1835, in a farming community of 20 households. The lands were then claimed by Gregorio Macapinlac during the late 19th century and from 1916 to 1975 were claimed by the Champourchin family. During the Marcos dictatorship, part of Hacienda Dolores was claimed by the Puyat family and in 1999 by Dayrit family. In 2005, LHI began claiming lands and attempted to displace farmers while FL Corp. started in 2007.

“It is very clear that government laws did not serve the farmers of Hacienda Dolores. Since the Land Reform Act of Magsaysay in 1955 until the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with “Reforms” or CARPer, the farmers still do not secure the lands they have cultivated,” Canlas said.

“The moral and just demand of Hacienda Dolores farmers and residents is their lands to be given back, punish the private corporations and their goons and security guards,” Canlas added.

Amgl said that it would take a miracle for the Aquino government to serve the interest of the people of Hacienda Dolores. With Aquino’s family scheming to keep control over the vast lands of Hacienda Luisita, Aquino is clearly on the side of private corporations and his financial backer Ayala Land. Aquino is also pushing the implementation of the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) program which means nothing but the collusion of the government and rich foreign and local business to rake up profits from the country’s natural and human resources.

“It is imperative that poor Hacienda Dolores farmers and residents to firmly defend their rights to land. We call on different sectors to support their struggle as it is one with the poor and oppressed sectors of the country. Their emancipation is the genuine step to development in our country, not the concrete, superficial projects of Ayala Land and similar corporations,” Canlas called. #

           
           
           
           

 

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