Group eyes Luisita sugar mill, refinery as payment to P 1.33-B debts to farm workers

THE Hacienda Luisita Incorporated (HLI) should turn over the sugar mill and other company assets to farmworkers as payment to the P 1.33 Billion share of farmworker beneficiaries to previous sale of some 580 hectares of the sugar estate.

Anakpawis party list vice chairperson Fernando Hicap made the suggestion during the press conference called by Hacienda Luisita based groups Alyansa ng mga Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luista (Ambala) and Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) at the latter’s secretariat office in Quezon City this morning.

“The Supreme Court decision on Hacienda Luisita is clear. Aside from land distribution of nearly 5,000 hectares of land to agrarian reform beneficiaries, the HLI management should also pay the share of farm workers to the previous sale of some 580 hectares of Luisita lands to private groups amounting to P 1.33 B. And that should be done in six-month’s time upon the issuance of the ruling by the high tribunal,” the Anakpawis party list official said.

Hicap added: “The P 1.33 B is payable within six months. It would be unfair to Hacienda Luisita farmworkers to wait another six decades just to get their moral and just share from the landed aristocracy of the Cojuangc-Aquino family in Tarlac. That is extreme injustice.”

The Anakpawis leader said as part of payment, agrarian reform beneficiaries can operate the Central Azucarera de Tarlac, the HLI’s sugar milling company that produces raw and refined sugar, alcohol and carbon dioxide.

“The farmworkers of Hacienda Luisita can operate the sugar mill through cooperation and cooperativization, there’s no doubt about it. The turn over of the 334,268 square meter plant in Barrio San Miguel to farmworkers for control, collective ownership and effective operation is politically correct idea.

As to the present debts of HLI, it is the principal responsibility of the Cojuangco-Aquino clan and the farm workers have nothing to do with these debts spent on Cojuanbgco’s life of aristocracy and elite lifestyle, nothing more, nothing less,” Hicap pointed out.

The HLI sugar mill has provided around 33 percent of the sugar cane requirements of the company as well as nearby sugar cane farms. The sugar mill and refinery has a capacity of 7,200 toness cane and 8,000.50 kg bags per day respectively.

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