Militant farmers slam Palace con artists’ well-staged zarzuela

THE militant peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) today describe President Aquino’s face-off with farmers and so-called vow to give land as an “all-for-show”.

“It’s nothing but an all-for-show, a well-staged zarzuela directed by Palace con artists to project the haciendero President as a champion of land reform,” says KMP deputy secretary general Willy Marbella.

“Malacanang and the yellow gang are exploiting the peasantry’s real-life landlessness and rural poverty, turning our hardships into a reality show with President Aquino as the ultimate beneficiary,” the peasant leader said.

Marbella blasted Aquino for giving false hopes to farmers on the bogus Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), the very same law that was used by his family to evade Hacienda Luisita’s distribution.

“May we remind the people that the bogus CARP was originally designed by the then landlord-President Cory Aquino to evade Hacienda Luisita’s distribution. CARP and the notorious Stock Distribution Option is not a glowing legacy but the biggest embarrassment of the former President,” Marbella said.

“Today, after the Supreme Court ordered Hacienda Lusita’s distribution, the ball is now at the hands of Aquino’s executive department and the Cojuangco-Aquinos are now using the very same CARP to again evade Hacienda Luisita’s distribution,” he said.

The CARP was enacted on June 10, 1988 during the administration of then President Corazon Cojuangco-Aquino. Activist farmers said the CARP was crafted by Aquino’s family to exempt Hacienda Luisita and other vast haciendas in the country from actual land distribution. The CARP also includes the operation land transfer (OLT) under Presidential Decree 27, enacted in 1972 by former President Marcos.

Marbella said that “CARP is the longest-running and most expensive agrarian reform program in the world simply because it is not meant to address the problem of landlessness and rural poverty. 24 years of CARP is enough.”

“CARP is no less than a milking cow of big landlords. Only hacienderos like Aquino have profited immensely from CARP,” Marbella said citing that from 1972 to June 2005, total approved Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) compensation to 83,203 landowners for only 1.3 million hectares has already reached P41.6 billion ($783.2 million, based on an exchange rate of P53.115 per US dollar) in cash and bonds, or an average of P500,463 ($9422.25) per landlord.  The five-year extension of CARP or CARPER, (2009-2014) also have a P150-billion budgetary allocation.

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