“The long and arduous struggle and sacrifices of Hacienda Luisita farmers for the land are slowly being repaid. The CLOA distribution to Luisita farmers is just the start.” By CERES BUSY Bulatlat HACIENDA LUISITA, Tarlac — The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) chose this day to grant Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOAs) to some…
“We are elated by Ka Paeng’s words. He said no one would be harassing us anymore. We could now go back to our farms.” –Florida Sibayan, chairperson of Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Asyenda Luisita (Ambala)
Known for his sharp memory, Ka Paeng admitted that he deliberately memorized the facts and figures about agrarian reform programs of all the administrations.
Incoming Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano and incoming Social Welfare and Development Secretary Judy Taguiwalo vowed to continue serving the people. Mariano said he would strengthen the possession of farmer-beneficiaries to the lands while Taguiwalo said she would ensure that the services and programs of government actually reach the people.
“Two Cojuangco-Aquinos have won the presidency with the promise to distribute Hacienda Luisita to us farmworkers. But look at what’s happening to us here now,” Sibayan said.
Two years after the Supreme Court ordered the distribution of Hacienda Luisita lands to farmworker-beneficiaries, the Cojuangco-Aquinos, with the help of the Department of Agrarian Reform, have been doing everything to maintain their stranglehold on Luisita, and to provent farmers from taking control of their own land.
On the second anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling on Hacienda Luisita, farmworker-beneficiaries stormed the main office of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR). They called on Secretary Virgilio delos Reyes to face them in a dialogue but neither the DAR chief nor any of his representative talked to the farmers. Instead, anti-riot police pushed Hacienda Luisita farmers out of the DAR compound.
Two years after the SC decision, Hacienda Luisita farmers said DAR has not performed its mandate of distributing the land.
“What they are doing to us is inhumane. Where is justice?” – Jaime Quiambao, one of the arrested farmers of Hacienda Luisita
“The DAR must stop the continued bulldozing and fencing of agricultural lands by the Cojuangco-Aquino owned Tarlac Development Corporation (Tadeco), Luisita Realty Corporation (LRC) and Central Azucarera de Tarlac (CAT).”
Ironically, after the Department of Agrarian Reform declared that the distribution of the land of Hacienda Luisita has been completed, the Tarlac Development Corporation has been driving out the farmworker-beneficiaries from the land they have been tilling.
“We cannot rely on DAR to implement genuine land reform. We cannot rely on Noynoy Aquino. We must continue implementing our own version of agrarian reform.” – United Luisita Workers Union