Farmers set nationwide protest on CARP’s 24th year

THE militant peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) today said the government’s Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) weakens the legal victory of farmers from the more than 6,000 hectare Hacienda Luisita owned by President Aquino’s family and announced that farmers from vast Haciendas and landholdings across the country are set to launch protest actions on the 24th year of the sham CARP.

“Despite the Supreme Court decision ordering total land distribution, the main legal framework to be used in Hacienda Luisita’s distribution would still be the sham CARP. The very same law used by the Cojuangcos to evade land distribution in 1989,” says KMP deputy secretary general Randall Echanis.

Echanis said “the Aquino government’s CARP Extension with Reforms (Carper) completely undermines the legal victory of Hacienda Luisita farmworkers.”

“Under Carper, big landlords were given the power to identify the beneficiaries of the land. This landlord right provided by Carper is exactly the reason why the Cojuangcos are sowing disunity inside Luisita, placing dummies and pseudo-farmworkers’ groups, and along with the DAR, are now maneuvering in pushing the highly questionable re-registration of farmworker beneficiaries in Luisita,” Echanis, also the chairperson of Anakpawis party-list said.

Sec. 5 of RA 9700 or Carper states that “only farmers (tenants or lessees) and regular farmworkers actually tilling the lands, as certified under oath by the Barangay Agrarian Reform Council (BARC) and attested under oath by the landowners, are the qualified beneficiaries.”

Echanis added, “Carper allows non-land transfer schemes worse than the notorious stock distribution option (SDO) scheme, such as leasehold, contract growing, and joint venture schemes, among others.’

The KMP said that among the loopholes of the April 24 high court decision “is the affirmation that the Aquino-controlled DAR, Land Bank, or even the special agrarian court would determine the value of the lands. The SC also wanted the farmworker beneficiaries to pay for the interest of just compensation when, in fact, the Cojuangcos and not the farmworkers have benefitted from the Hacienda for more than half a century now.”

Echanis said also said that “even the 240 sq. m. homelots that was long been distributed to farmworkers for free was ordered by the SC to be paid by the farmworkers. The homelots would also increase the computation of the just compensation.”

The KMP leader also announced that on June 11 and 12, farmers from Hacienda Luisita and vast Haciendas across the country like Hacienda Reyes in Bondoc Peninsula in Quezon, Hacienda Looc in Batangas, Hacienda Araneta in the boundaries of Bulacan and Rizal provinces, Hacienda Villasor and Baldevia in Negros Occidental, among others, will troop to DAR offices nationwide to stage protest actions marking the 24 years of the sham CARP.

“No amount of Carper’s political exhumation and reincarnation of the dead CARP by the Aquino government can stop the Filipino peasantry from hammering the final nail on the coffin of the bogus and pro-landlord Carper,” says Echanis.

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