DAR Sec, PNoy united for non-distribution of Hacienda Luisita lands

MALACANANG’s announcement that Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes continues to enjoy President Benigno Aquino’s confidence does not bode well for the farm worker beneficiaries (FWB’s) in Hacienda Luisita (HL).

It only reinforces the perception of the FWB’s and their advocates that both are united in ensuring the non-distribution of HL lands, said Rodel Mesa, Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura .

Sec. de los Reyes has recently announced that the DAR will come out with a final list of FWB’s this month even if such list includes non- FWB’s. He also ignored calls by Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA), Alyansa ng mga Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita (AMBALA), United Luisita Workers Union (ULWU) and Anakpawis to recognize only the 1989 MOA Voters List of 5276 as its basis to pinpoint the bona fide beneficiaries.

Mesa said other than that, it has not acted decisively on two petitions by the FWB’s. The first is on the revocation order on the conversion order of RCBC made on January 5, 2012. What DAR did was only make an ocular inspection on March 27, 2012 and nothing more. The second is a petition on the cease and desist order on RCBC’s fencing of its disputed land made May of 2012 which has not been acted up to now.

“We are also sure that the tandem of the DAR Secretary and PNoy would maneuver to their advantage the surveying of the HL lands for distribution and even of the planned auditing of the  P1.33B share of the FWB’s on the sale of 500 has. to RCBA and 83 has. to SCTEX. Our organizations though are monitoring these vigilantly,” he said.

The groups expressed alarm at the admission made by Undersecretary Abigail Valte, deputy presidential spokesperson that “there are more challenges in the process of acquiring and distributing target lands for land distribution because what’s left to cover (by DAR) are mostly private agricultural lands.

The litmus test of Pinoy’s administration in land reform is the actual distribution of these lands including that what he co-owns in Hacienda Luisita, he said.

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