Reference: Gi Estrada, UMA Media Officer, +639166114181

Robredo stance on land conversion to serve yellow interests in Hacienda Luisita

The Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) condemned a joint position paper which was prepared by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and signed by Vice President Leni Robredo and a few Cabinet members, against the decision made by the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC) for a two-year ban on land use conversion.

UMA Secretary General Danilo “Ka Daning” Ramos said that essentially the position made by the these rabid oligarchs in the Duterte government is “anti-peasant and against genuine agrarian reform.”

Ramos added that the said clique merely made excuses to evict peasants from their lands. The “oligarchs” described the ban as “anti-poor” as there are many unproductive and idle agricultural lands that need to be developed.
“Their  so-called development projects  would only enrich a few realty, commercial, and industrial firms.
“Robredo’s call to lift the ban on land conversion also serves ‘yellow interests’ in Hacienda Luisita,” added Ramos.

One classic example of this is the failed land reform in Hacienda Luisita. The former DAR Administration which kowtowed to the wishes of former President BS Aquino, whose family owned the vast estate, purposely excluded more than 1,000 hectares of property for land reform.

If the ban would be lifted, the recent decision of DAR Secretary Rafael “Ka Paeng” Mariano to junk the appeal of the Cojuangco-Aquinos in the 358.22-hectare property to retain its hold on the land would be put in jeopardy.

“So-called investors and developers would once again have reason to trample upon the rights of farm workers  who were  violently ejected from the said area since 2013,” said Ramos.

Other than this, the appeal of the Alyansa ng Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita (AMBALA) to revoke the conversion order on the 500 hectare idle agricultural land occupied by RCBC, LLC, and LIPCO may also be affected.

“All other agricultural areas in Hacienda Luisita, which other Cojuangco firms made sure to exclude from the so-called “tambiolo” land reform in 2013 are targets for land use conversion. Some of these firms are now co-owned with the Lorenzos, including the Central Azucarera de Tarlac (CAT) and the Luisita Land Corporation which used to be Luisita Realty Corporation (LRC),” revealed Ramos.

All these properties that were excluded from land reform are prime agricultural areas that are meant for industrial and residential areas for middle and upper class markets, not like what Robredo harps supposedly for poor and resettlement housing.

“The whole farming community of Hacienda Luisita is under threat of widespread displacement with land conversion. Farmers have been struggling against the evil Luisita Ecozone plan since its inception.”

“Robredo cannot harp about development and ‘housing for the poor’ through land conversion, when in fact, thousands of farmers have been evicted and displaced by this elitist policy across the country,” ended Ramos.

Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura
Federation of Agricultural Workers | Philippines

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