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DAR’s report all lies

/ 09:17 PM January 26, 2014

The more one tries to obscure the truth with rambling accusations, the more likely one gets

exposed as a liar.

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Take the Department of Agrarian Reform in its yearend report. In bragging about its supposed right-on-target achievements in Hacienda Luisita, it has instead betrayed utter duplicity—in fact, its culpability for having completed nothing in Tarlac or anywhere else, except sham land distribution. This loud yearend pronouncement from the DAR is meant to drown out the din of yet more fever-pitched agrarian unrest developing in this vast and historic estate.

Meanwhile, in all its statements, it has remained conspicuously mum on the renewed and escalating violence against the Luisita farm workers by the military, police and the private armed goons of the Cojuangco-Aquinos. This once again proves the department’s complicity and direct collusion with this presidential clan in the latter’s bid to dodge and sabotage land reform for the nth time and, systematically, with a vengeance, reassert its big landlord interest.

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OPINION

The land distribution in Hacienda Luisita is a sham for

the following reasons:

1. No physical land distribution, despite all the grand government pronouncements that the sufferings of the farm workers have already ended.

2. The exclusion of hundreds of hectares of agricultural land from distribution, thus causing confusion and dispute among beneficiaries, and dislocation, too.

3. The exclusion of a number of bona fide farm workers in the final master list of beneficiaries, and the underhanded insertion of names of unqualified ones.

4. The imposition of compulsory signing of promissory notes to ensure amortization payments.

5. The grant of overpriced landlord compensation to Hacienda Luisita Inc. (HLI)/Cojuangco-Aquinos.

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6. The inept facilitation of the audit of P1.33 billion in assets that HLI and Centenary Holdings

acquired from the sale of agricultural land.

7. The inaction on farm workers’ appeal for the revocation of a conversion order covering 500 hectares.

8. The deceit and coercion of beneficiaries through false

statements and excessive use of armed state forces during the so-called distribution process.

9. The exclusion of other lands for distribution, such as what

Tarlac Development Corp.

(Tadeco), one of the many corporate avatars of the Cojuangco-Aquinos, is grabbing at present even though the Supreme Court has already ruled that the DAR, under its mandate, should subject other agricultural lands in the area to agrarian reform.

10.  The silence and inaction of the DAR over the continued violent harassment being committed by Tadeco guards against farm workers through the wanton bulldozing of crops, and the illegal arrest and detention of organized farm workers and agrarian reform advocates.

All these point to the total failure of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms, and thus the urgent need for a Genuine Agrarian Reform law.

—FLORIDA SIBAYAN, acting chair, Alyansa ng mga Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda; RANMIL ECHANIS, deputy secretary general, Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura

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