Farmers to DAR: “What preliminary master list?”

THE militant peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) today questioned the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) for the so-called preliminary master list of farm worker beneficiaries and challenged the DAR to produce the original list of beneficiaries of more than 6,000-hectare estate owned by President Aquino’s family.

The KMP issued the statement after DAR secretary De los Reyes said a preliminary master list will be made available to the public so that interested parties, particularly farmers’ groups and civil society groups, may scrutinize the list.”

“Why is the DAR insisting on its highly questionable verification process when there is already a list of beneficiaries? Where is the original list of beneficiaries?” asked KMP deputy secretary general Willie Marbella.

Marbella said the reported 8,482 farmworkers interviewed and screened shows that the DAR is hell-bent in sowing confusion, disunity, and chaos in Hacienda Luisita.

“8,482 is a far cry from the original 6,296 original farmworker beneficiaries. And, what is totally revolting is that the number of beneficiaries under this so-called master list could even reach more than 10,000 which is exactly the number of alleged beneficiaries pegged by the Cojuangcos,” Marbella noted.

The KMP leader maintained that the DAR’s “questionable verification process” was part of the Cojuangcos’ scheme to bloat the number of beneficiaries, slash the size of the land for distribution, sow confusion among the farmers, and put their dummies on the list.

Marbella said that “with a majority of Cojuangco loyalists in the DAR’s new master list,” Hacienda Luisita will continue to be under the control of the President’s family.

“The Cojuangcos will continue to dictate the whole process of agricultural production and control the lives of the poor farmworkers of Hacienda Luisita, courtesy of the Aquino-controlled DAR,” he said.

The KMP called on Hacienda Luisita farmworkers to remain vigilant in front of the obvious political maneuvers of the Cojuangcos to continuously deny the farmworkers of their rights to own the land.

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