Reference: Gi Estrada, UMA Media officer, 09166114181

Cojuangco-Aquinos’ and former DAR Secretary Should be Held Accountable in Latest Destruction of Crops in Hacienda Luisita

The Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) condemned the destruction of crops in barangay Mapalacsiao, Hacienda Luisita hatched by the Cojuangco-Aquinos’ and former DAR Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes. UMA also stated that the Cojuangco-Aquinos’ and former DAR Secretary should be held accountable for this crime.

According to UMA Secretary General Danilo “Ka Daning” Ramos, said destruction of crops was done based on the Memorandum made by the Chief of Staff of then DAR Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes dated May 18, 2016 and signed by Justin Vincent La Chica.

In said memorandum, that was addressed to the Provincial Agrarian Reform Officer (PARO), it stated that the PARO need not wait for the pending agrarian dispute case in said area for the installation of Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries (ARBs) in Barangay Mapalacsiao.

It is also not incidental that the said destruction of crops in the above area was done on the day the new DAR Secretary, Rafael “Ka Paeng” Mariano was installed.

The destruction of the crops was ordered by Buena Timbol, a trusted aide of the Cojuangco-Aquinos handling affairs of the Luisita Estate Management (LEM) group and Tarlac Development Corporation (TADECO), and Edison Diaz, barangay chairman of nearby village Lourdes (formerly Texas). They were also assisted by several police officers and a SWAT team and Villamor Lagunero also a representative of TADECO and a certain Espinosa, who allegedly is working with the Teopaco-Cojuangcos.

More than 20 hectares of crops planted to rice and vegetables were destroyed by 7 tractors. At the same time, the home of Gerry Catalan was fully detroyed. These lands are being cultivated by Leoncio Suarez, Gerry Catalan and others since 2004 and 2005 and have been constantly under threat since 2014.

It was the old DAR itself on June 25, 2014 through its Provincial Agrarian Reform Office led by Atty. Jose Eduardo Narcisco, with assistance from fully-armed policemen led by SPO3 Dela Cruz of the Tarlac City PNP assigned at the Mapalacsiao precinct and Bgry. Capt Diaz, led the destruction of food crops and fruit trees in the same area in Hacienda Luisita.

The DAR was also instrumental in the illegal arrest, smear campaign and filing of trumped-up charges against Hacienda Luisita farmers who were slapped with violation of RA 6657 or the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law – for cultivating the land promised by agrarian reform.

Ka Daning said that the Cojuangco-Aquinos, Virgilio de los Reyes, Justin Vincent La Chica, Buena Timbol, Villamor Lagunero, Edison Diaz and all others who participated in the destruction of the crops should be held liable for this latest crime by filing the appropriate charges against them.

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Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura

Federation of Agricultural Workers | Philippines

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