Luisita farm workers question DAR’s final list of beneficiaries

THE Alyansa ng mga Manggagwang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita (AMBALA) together with the Unyon ng mga Mangggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) and the Anakpawis Party List questioned the integrity of the DAR’s upcoming final list of beneficiaries of which they said will only perpetuate irreparable injustice to bonafide beneficiaries.

“We are wary that this is not the last maneuver of the Malacanang backed DAR to derail the efforts of the beneficiaries to attain social justice through a genuine land reform program,” AMBALA chair Rodel Mesa said.

In a protest action held in front of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) today in support of coconut farmers, Mesa said that “for the past nine months, there are questions left unanswered by the DAR on the integrity of its list.

As early as May last year after the April 24 Supreme Court decision, AMBALA already made its opposition on the verification and listing scheme that the DAR conducted”.

“AMBALA stands firm on its position that the DAR should release and utilize the 1989 MOA Voters List of 5276 as its basis to pinpoint the bona fide beneficiaries. But since DAR ignored AMBALA’s position, it is their fault why Cojuangco-Aquino backed list of beneficiaries will be included on the final master list,” Mesa added.

At the same time the AMBALA chair wishes to clarify that FWB’s never asked the permission of HLI management to plant whatever crops they would want on the land they cultivated as part of their “Bungkalan” campaign.

The FWB’s themselves initiated this as the land has been theirs ever since and HLI management even harassed them when they embarked on the bungkalan, by threatening to file cases against them and by the visit of soldiers to areas planted to other crops.

In addition to this, Mr. Mesa chided the DAR for washing its hands off the arriendo arrangement between a number of FWB’s and financiers who rented their land to plant sugar cane. In effect, the DAR would want to perpetuate the legality of the leaseback agreement and corporation scheme of the Stock Distribution Option (SDO) after the land has been distributed the land to the FWB’s as stipulated in the fake Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms (CARPER), even if the Supreme Court had already ruled that the SDO in HLI is illegal.

Furthermore, Mesa said that when the lands are finally distributed to the FWB’s, they should not be compelled to pay any monthly amortization to the Cojuangco’s-Aquinos even if this is stipulated in the CARP and CARPER as there is no ruling mentioned by the SC and even by the Constitution of the Philippines on this.

Genuine agrarian reform should break-up land monopoly and foreign control of our lands, and implement free land distribution that will render social justice to millions of landless farmers, including those in HLI, Mesa added.

He also warned DAR and its Malacanang backers not to come out with other schemes to derail the efforts of the beneficiaries to attain social justice.

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