Left-leaning group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas on Monday slammed the Department of Agrarian Reform for tambiolo land reform at the 358-hectare land within Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac.
Antonio Flores, KMP secretary general, said DAR and the Cojuangco clan, owner of the Hacienda Luisita Inc., “are once again in connivance with the DAR in employing the bogus Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program to deny farmers of their rights to the lands.”
“The 358 hectares are the very same lands where the farm workers are carrying out their collective cultivation campaign,” he added.
“The sham CARP, from the stock distribution option up to the tambiolo land reform, has been used by the Cojuangcos to displace legitimate farmer beneficiaries and maintain control over the lands.”
He hit President Benigno Aquino III’s family for using the agrarian reform program to “plunder hundreds of millions of taxpayers’ money from the DAR under the guise of so-called just compensation.”
According to KMP, the government paid the Cojuangcos P471.5 million in the guise of just compensation for the 4,099 hectares of Hacienda Luisita lands.
“The money was sourced from the controversial and corruption-driven disbursement acceleration program,” Flores said.
“In connivance with the Aquino-controlled DAR, the Cojuangco family will once again receive hundreds of millions of pesos for the 358 hectares without eradicating their stranglehold over the whole hacienda,” Flores said, adding that “the compensation for lands will be DAR’s pabaon (farewell gift) to the Cojuangco family,” KMP’s statement read.
Flores urged the Hacienda Luisita farmers to resist and expose, through protests, the brazen corruption of the Cojuangco-Aquinos.
Citing reports from Alyansa ng mga Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita, Flores said on Dec. 29, the agrarian reform department posted in every barangay hall in Hacienda Luisita an announcement for the coverage of 358 hectares of lands and a list of so-called applicants of over 1,700 farm workers.
DAR is set to interview farmers today (Jan. 5) and will last for 30 days, Flores said.
At least 258 hectares in Barangay Balete and 100 hectares in Barangay Cutcut 2nd were covered by a notice of coverage belatedly issued by DAR on Dec. 17, 2013.
Jobert Pahilga, executive trustee of the Sentro para sa Tunay na Repormang Agraryo, said the 358 hectares should have been included in the distribution of all agricultural lands in Hacienda Luisita since 1989.
“The Supreme Court in 2012 reiterated and ordered the distribution of all agricultural lands in Hacienda Luisita due to the DAR and the Cojuangcos maneuver to evade land distribution through the stock distribution option scheme,” he added.