To the tillers, land:

The continuing struggle of the peasants of Hacienda Luisita

 

Mendiola

 

June 10, 2011

 

■   Faces

 

■   Tulagalag

 

■   Man with a hoe

 

■   Picket at the Supreme Court, June 14, 2011

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Photos courtesy of Arkibongbayan, Gege Morilla, KMP and Migrante International as indicated by the filenames
           
     

 

 

PRESS RELEASE
June 9, 2011
Reference: Joseph Canlas, Chair, AMGL (0918-233-5050)

Luisita’s history discloses lands should be distributed to farmworkers, groups said

The regional farmers’ group Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luson (AMGL, Peasant Alliance in Central Luzon) and Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Tarlac (AMT) urged the high court to immediately distribute Hacienda Luisita lands to the farmworkers. The groups said that there are overwhelming legal basis that the lands were never legitimate and moral properties of the Cojuangco-Aquinos and they were developed through the painstaking work of the farmers inside the hacienda even before it was controlled by the landlord family.

“The Supreme Court should never wait for the crow to turn to white, as this case would drag them down as the whole Filipino society knows of the deception and exploitation committed by the Cojuangco-Aquinos for more than 50 years,” said Joseph Canlas, AMGL Chairperson in a press statement.

“Do we need to remind the high court again and again of the history of Hacienda Luisita? That the Cojuangcos controlled the lands in 1957 using public lands under the condition of agrarian reform, swindled the government and the farmworkers until former president Cory Aquino rose to power and implemented the Stock Distribution Option (SDO),” he added.

The groups said that there is now no debate that SDO failed and did not alleviate the poverty of the farmworkers, pushed them to went on strike on November 6, 2004. Consequently, after the Hacienda Luisita massacre, the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC) and Dept. of Agrarian Reform (DAR) decided to revoke SDO on December 23, 2005. The Cojuangco-Aquinos blocked the decision at the Supreme Court that issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) on June 2006. The TRO is aging 5 years at present.

AMGL said that as former president Cory Aquino declared agrarian reform as her centerpiece program, the Hacienda Luisita case is a cornerstone issue for the farmers’ struggle for genuine land reform. The group added that the history of the hacienda is a textbook case of feudal bondage and exploitation of a landlord class to a peasant class.

During the Spanish colonization, the estate was controlled by Don Antonio Lopez y Lopez and was named after his wife Luisa Bru y Lassus under the Compañía General de Tabacos de Filipinas or Tabacalera. Hacienda Luisita was acquired by Tabacalera on November 26, 1881, together with Hacienda Antonio, Hacienda San Fernando and Hacienda Sta. Isabel in Cagayan and Isabela. During this period, the Spanish colonial government’s tobacco monopoly was being taken over by landlords.

During the American period, Hacienda Luisita was never taken from the Tabacalera, instead it supplied 20% of total supply of sugar in the US. It upgraded its sugar central and Luisita sugar became popular in the US especially among Filipino elite migrants. The technological advancement pushed different smaller sugar centrals to merge as what Honorio Ventura, the sugar enterpreneur who paid Diosdado Macapagal’s education, and the De Leons and Gonzales did giving birth to Pampanga Sugar Development Corp. (PASUDECO).

In 1957, the Hukbalahap rebellion pushed the Tabacalera into disposing Hacienda Luisita. It was eyed by the Lopezes who already owned Meralco, Negros Navigation, Manila Chronicle, ABS-CBN and various haciendas in western Visayas and Pampanga. On the contrary, former president Magsaysay blocked the sale as the Lopezes control over industries were already towards monopoly. The Cojuangcos showed intent and the sale pushed through after Magsaysay’s death in 1958 through a loan from the Gov’t Service Insurance System (GSIS) and Manufacturers’ Trust of Company of New York, guaranteed by the Central Bank of the Philippines. This was under the condition that the lands would be under agrarian reform in 10 years time under the framework of the government’s social justice program.

AMGL said that the Hacienda Luisita is a time-space warp for feudal bondage and exploitation as it went through historical eras with the landlord and comprador class exploiting the peasant class who generated wealth.

“The Hacienda Luisita issue is past and present of landlordism in our country, the Supreme Court, sectors especially the youth should learn from this issue. The future should be the liberation of the farmworkers from this rotting system of feudal oppression of the Cojuangco-Aquinos. Everything the Cojuangco-Aquinos enjoyed through decades came from the sweat and blood of the farmworkers,” Canlas said.

In line with the call for the distribution of Hacienda Luisita, farmers from Hacienda Luisita and towns from Tarlac province would join in the protest in Manila marking the anniversary of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP). Not less than a thousand farmers from other provinces of the region such as Nueva Ecija, Pangasinan, Bulacan, Pampanga and Bataan would held action at Cabanatuan City.

“Hacienda Luisita is not just a peasant struggle, it is a Filipino struggle against the feudal system that keeps our country from moving on and developing. Every freedom loving Filipino citizen should support the call for the distribution of Hacienda Luisita lands to the farmworkers,” Canlas said. #
 

     
     
           
     
     
     

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Farmers demand distribution of Luisita lands to farmworkers, not CARPer coverage
03/28/2011
0 Comments

The militant Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luson (AMGL, Peasant Alliance in Central Luzon) called for free and direct distribution of Hacienda Luisita lands to the farmworkers in anticipation of the decision of the Supreme Court regarding the revocation of the Stock Distribution Option (SDO). The group said that the Hacienda Luisita case would serve as a model to many agrarian disputes in the region, as well in the country, thus, the high court’s decision is of grave significance to the farmers. About 500 farmworkers, farmers and indigenous peoples from Hacienda Luisita and nearby towns of Tarlac province set to protest in Manila to call for the revocation of SDO.

“The farmworkers should prevail in the Hacienda Luisita issue, as this would serve as an instrument of big landlords in case the Supreme Court favors the Cojuangco-Aquinos. The only moral and just option for the high court is to decide revocating the SDO and freely distribute the lands to the farmworkers,” said Joseph Canlas, AMGL Chair in a press statement.

The group said that land distribution would not only be beneficial to the farmworkers of Hacienda Luisita but also the farmers from nearby barangays and towns. Rice cultivation provide opportunities for their food requirements that is a total reversal compared to the era when the lands were cultivated with sugarcane.

AMGL added that the Luisita issue is a trigger to massive land grabbing and land use conversion, initially in the Tarlac province. As a result of the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx) project the Cojuangco-Aquinos have facilitated, land speculators, real estate developers have been seizing productive agricultural lands at adjacent barangays, Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco has pushed through with the construction of 88.52-km Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEx) converting 442-hectares of lands and massive cancellations of Certificate Land Ownership Awards (CLOAs), Certificate of Land Transfer (CLT) and Emancipation Patent (EP) have been taking place in nearby towns of Nueva Ecija province.

“If we are to see Hacienda Luisita on the map of Central Luzon, it serves as an interchange or a bottleneck of National Capital Region from the south, the Ilocos region to the west and Cagayan Valley to the east side, thus, the Cojuangco-Aquinos are keen to clutch on the lands as they are foreseeing a sudden surge on their market value,” Canlas said.

“We believe that the Cojuangco-Aquinos would do almost everything to keep their control on the lands, even pressure the Supreme Court, through their ‘golden son’ president Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino,” he added.

AMGL claimed that president Aquino is now pushing for his Public-Private Partnership program, showcasing the construction of superhighways in Central Luzon, such as TPLEx, Central Luzon Expressway (CLEx) 1 and 2 and North Luzon East Expressway (NLEx East). The group is looking forward on Aquino’s measure to keep their control over Hacienda Luisita.

AMGL also condemned the option of covering Hacienda Luisita to the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with ‘Reforms’ (CARPer) as proposed by its proponents. The group have monitored that pro-CARPer groups are working with government agencies for its coverage.

“CARPer coverage is synonymous to keeping Cojuangco-Aquino’s control over Hacienda Luisita lands. It is unacceptable to the farmworkers and it would only set off massive dislocation of farmworkers and land use conversion,” Canlas said.

“We reiterate that Hacienda Luisita lands were developed by the farmworkers, the Cojuangco-Aquinos never paid for its acquisition, they scammed the government and the public, they implemented the SDO that resulted poverty and hardship to the supposed beneficiaries, the farmworkers went on strike to defend their rights and Cojuangco-Aquinos massacred them, the government revoked the SDO, they TROed at SC, they fabricated a compromise deal, we should never forget the history,” he added.

“This is a mission for social justice for the Hacienda Luisita farmworkers and Filipino people, the Cojuangco-Aquinos are symbols of greed, oppression and exploitation. We all should support the farmworkers and push for immediate and free distribution of Hacienda Luisita,” Canlas called. #
 

     
     
           
     
     
     

 

GIVE THE LAND TO THE TILLER THAT ALL MAY HAVE FOOD
by Church Response Pcpr on Friday, June 10, 2011 at 3:29pm

We, leaders and members of faith-based communities add our united voice to the demand to address the inequity long prevailing over the workers of Hacienda Luisita (HL).

We affirm that devoid of all technical parlances, the issue is the quest for social justice that must be addressed through genuine land reform. The decades-long problem in the HL has been characterized by unrest. We remember the tragic massacre in November 2004. We remember those leaders and supporters of the farmers who were victims of extrajudicial killings, among them two clerics – The Most Rev. Albert Ramento and Fr. William Tadena.

We view the Compromise Agreement as flawed given the questionable processes and highly inequitable terms that are slowly coming into light. For one, the CA arbitrarily allots one third of the remaining 4,102 hectares of agricultural land for distribution thru the Stock Distribution Option (SDO) scheme instead of the outright distribution of the 6,500-hectare sugar plantation to the 10,000 farm workers. Furthermore, the CA upholds the onerous terms of the SDO scheme. Again, stripped of its technical language, the SDO is essentially non-distributive as it allows landlords to retain control over the property thereby failing to improve the socio-economic conditions of its supposedly beneficiaries.
The SDO distorts the essence of land reform, which is land distribution.

“The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof” (Psalm 24:10). This passage is a strong reminder that the earth’s resources including land are to be shared by all as we are all called to be stewards. Those who toil the land to produce our food must be recognized and given their due as responsible stewards. They too, deserve prosperity. We also believe in the exposition that “. . . the right to private property is subordinated to the right to common use, to the fact that the goods are meant for everyone” (Laborem Exercens No. 14).

We laud and support any or all initiatives to immediately resolve the festering problem in our country where landlords continue to hold large tracts of land while the vast majority of the peasants and farm workers remain mired in poverty and misery.

In the name of justice, we call on President Benigno Aquino, III not to feign neutrality on this issue. His silence and inaction sends a message of implicit endorsement to the compromise agreement orchestrated by the Cojuangco-owned HLI. It is within his power as president to ensure that social justice prevail in his family-owned hacienda.

     
           
     
     
     

 

Media Release
June 10, 2011

Workers to SC: pro-farmers decision on HLI now!

Workers called on the Supreme Court to decisively put an end to the five-year agrarian dispute between Hacienda Luisita farmers and the family of President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III and to settle the case in favor of the former, saying justice has been delayed and denied on the case.

According to labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), if the Supreme Court would only be true to being an independent body administering a just and fair trial on the case, there is no more reason for any delay in finalizing a pro-farmer decision.

“The agrarian dispute in Hacienda Luisita has been going on not only for five years but for decades already. It is high time that the Supreme Court end this by coming up with a pro-farmer decision – and resisting any meddling from the president who’s obviously standing by his family on this issue,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, chairperson of KMU.

“The Filipino workers, farmers and people have every reason to believe that the release of the SC decision on the Luisita issue, which has already been penned, is being delayed due to pressures coming from Pres. Aquino himself. After all, it didn’t take long after Aquino was sworn in as president before the government intervened to keep the Luisita lands in the hands of the Aquinos through the infamous compromise agreement,” Labog added.

The wait for the release of the SC decision on the Luisita case coincides with the enactment of Republic Act 6657 or the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL) in June 7, 1988 under former Pres. Cory Aquino’s administration.

“We are awaiting the decision of the Supreme Court on the Luisita case in time for the commemoration of the 23rd anniversary of the passage of the anti-farmer CARL. It is proof of the CARL’s anti-farmer thrust that Luisita farmers and the Filipino people still had to bring their struggle for land to the Supreme Court,” Labog said.

“Twenty-three years after the CARL was approved, the Luisita farmers and the Filipino people are still struggling for a piece of land that has already been proven to rightly belong to the farmers. The CARL, indeed, prevented Luisita farmers, as well as farmers all over the country, from owning land, reaping the fruits of their labor, and liberating themselves from landlord rule,” he added.###


Reference: Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson, 0908-1636597
 

     
           
     
     
     
           

 

Ang mga Panahon
sinulat ni Gelacio Guillermo, Makata ng Bayan
binigkas sa panulukan ng Mendiola ni Pia Montalban, KM64 Poet
10 Hunyo, 2011

Hindi likas ang mga panahon. Dalawa ang panahon,
Ang panahon ng kabyaw at ang panahong tigil, ang isa'y naglalawa
Sa grasa at mulasis, ang isa nama'y sintuyot ng bagaso.
Liban sa pagpapalit ng mga tauhan o bahagi ng makina,
Walang pagbabagong nagpapabago sa mga daang-riles ng panahon,
Ang kanilang mekanikal na pag-ulit-ulit ay nakapiston sa kundisyong
Walang anumang babaguhin, ni ang klima
Ng huntahan ni ang ani ng tungkulin o buhay.
Ang mga panaho'y bunton ng bale at utang,
Sakuna't kamatayan, sakit at pagpapatalsik,
Walang paghinog ng mga bagong pag-iibigan o pagpawi
Ng di-makatarungang relasyon. Hindi prutas ang mga tubò,
gSila'y Sugar y Azucar, nangangamoy-salapi
Mula sa Mill Department, sa
Boiling House hanggang sa Departamento de las Vias Obras
Y Transportacion, at ang tinatawag na milagro
Ng panahon, na inuukulan ng dasal, ay
Ang sapal. Kaya nga't sa Alto, napipigil ng mga senyor
At senyora ang pagpapalit ng mga panahon
Para iwasiwas ng kanilang artipisyal na gubat ang mga sangang
May palagiang paabot ng tag-araw. Ang kanilang libanga'y
Ang pagtatayo ng bangko at simbahan at pagpaparami
Ng mga tusong manok-pansabong at de-kwerdas na mga badigard.
Kaya nga't sa Obrero, Camarin, Dolores, Lote,
Balete, Mapalacsiao, dumadaloy ang lahat tulad ng dati:
Naglalaro ang mga bata ng kanilang pinamagang lastiko,
Kayrupok, kaydaling mapatid, inaalo sila ng kanilang mga ina
Ng tubò, panutsa, muskobado o repinadong asukal,
Na paubos na, ang kanilang mga ama'y
Lalong nabibingi't natutulala sa lambong nitong beintekwatro oras
Na makinaryang animo'y bagyo't kulog.
 

 

Lahat di maglalao'y huhupa
Sa ingit ng nag-iisang gulong ng bagòn. Ang panahong tigil
Ay ang panahong nadiskaril, nanginginig sa manipis
Na tunog ng pudpòd na bakal.

Kapag ang init
Ay tumindi, hindi na nila kailangang ipulupot ang kanilang buhay sa arko
Ng pananampalataya sa mga panahong ito, o mamulot ng malulungkot na kabute
Sa bunton ng naninikit, umuusok, nangingitim na dumi
Ng kanilang paggawa. Sa mga barak, hinahasa
Ng mga tabasero ang karit sa kanilang mga sugat. Hindi
Na nila hihintayin ang mando ng Jefe de los Tabaseros.
Sa panahong sila mismo ang gumawa, sa tubuhan
Ng lahat nilang nabaling nasa, itinataas nila ang karit
Sa tanging kanilang maindayog na paraan ng pagtagpas

 

 

 

 

 

           
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Supreme Court fails to issue decision again on Hacienda Luisita agrarian dispute
PUBLISHED ON JUNE 14, 2011

http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/06/14/supreme-court-fails-to-issue-decision-again-on-hacienda-luisita-agrarian-dispute/


“By not issuing any decision today, the Supreme Court prolongs the sufferings of farm workers and provides opportunity for the Cojuangco-Aquinos to maneuver.” – Lito Bais, president of the United Luisita Workers Union (Ulwu) said.

By RONALYN V. OLEA
Bulatlat.com

MANILA – Farm workers from Hacienda Luisita left their homes at 4 a.m. today to witness the promulgation of the decision of the Supreme Court on the decades-old agrarian dispute.

After hours of waiting, they went home empty-handed as the Supreme Court still did not issue any decision on the legality of the Stock Distribution Option (SDO) scheme in the 6, 453 disputed sugar estate owned by President Benigno S. Aquino III and family. The case has been pending with the high court since 2005 after the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC) ordered the revocation of the SDO.

The Cojuangco-Aquinos implemented the SDO in 1989, one of the non-land transfer schemes allowed by the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law. In lieu of land distribution, corporate shares were distributed to farmer-beneficiaries.

“By not issuing any decision today, the Supreme Court prolongs the sufferings of farm workers and provides opportunity for the Cojuangco-Aquinos to maneuver,” Lito Bais, president of the United Luisita Workers Union (Ulwu) said.

Long wait

Bais, like most of the farm workers at Hacienda Luisita, have been waiting for decades to gain control of the land.

In 1967, the Hacienda Luisita should have been distributed to the farm workers had the Cojuangcos complied with the conditions of the loan from the Central Bank. When the Cojuangcos purchased the sugar mill and the Hacienda Luisita land through a loan from the Central Bank in 1957, the loan agreement provided that the land should be distributed to the farmers after ten years.

In 1985, a Manila trial court ordered the distribution of Hacienda Luisita to the farm workers. When Corazon Cojuangco-Aquino became president, the case was dismissed by the Court of Appeals (CA).

In 1989, the Cojuangco-Aquinos initiated a referendum and farmers and farm workers were made to choose between stocks or land.

After the PARC in 2005 revoked the SDO and ordered the distribution of land, the Cojuangco-Aquinos sought a temporary restraining order from the high court and questioned the legal mandate of PARC to issue such a decision.

In August 2010, the Cojuangco-Aquinos signed a compromise deal with leaders who earlier betrayed farm workers. Again, the compromise deal made the farm workers choose again between SDO or land, which, according to progressive groups, exploited the poverty situation of the farm workers by offering money, if they choose the SDO option. The deal, according to lawyer Jobert Pahilga, would practically ease out the farm workers from the hacienda.

No to another referendum

Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) secretary general Danilo Ramos said they are “alarmed over information going around agrarian reform advocates that the SC will not decide on the issues raised, particularly the revocation of the SDO, but will favor the proposal of the Cojuangco-Aquinos to conduct another bogus and pro-landlord referendum inside the Hacienda.”

“A failure by the Supreme Court to decide on the substantial issues that would benefit the Cojuangco-Aquinos will not end the decades-old agrarian conflict in Hacienda Luisita and would instead fuel another agrarian unrest,” Ramos said.

Joseph Canlas, chairman of the Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luson (AMGL) warned the high court against towing the line of the Cojuangco-Aquino clan.

“We will not allow another SC ruling that will strengthen the stronghold and control of the Aquino-Cojuangcos on Hacienda Luisita. Farmers, farm workers and their families deserve to get what is rightfully theirs – the hacienda lands that they have tilled for decades,” Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano, also chairman of the KMP, said.

Mariano said the Supreme Court must decide in favor of Hacienda Luisita farmers and prove its worth “as the last bastion of justice in the country” instead of degrading the institution as a lowly “appendage of the Cojuangco-Aquino family and the landlord Aquino administration.”

“We challenge the SC not to give in to the whims of the Cojuangco-Aquinos and finally decide in favor of the farmers and junk the highly oppressive SDO,” Ramos said. “The free distribution of Hacienda Luisita to farm workers is the only just and acceptable solution to the more than half a century old agrarian dispute in the president’s Hacienda.”

Fight continues

For AMGL, whatever decision comes out, the struggle of the farm workers would continue.

Canlas said the present government under Aquino is the biggest obstacle to genuine land reform. “Noynoy Aquino is a hopeless case. The hope for genuine land reform to be implemented by Aquino is futile and his promise of ‘matuwid na daan’ all rubbish, reform lies on the action of the Filipino farmers and exploited sectors,” said Canlas.

AMGL said that the Aquino government should expect more peasant protests.

Canlas called on the public to support the farmworkers’ ‘bungkalan’ (cultivation) or planting of palay, vegetables and root crops, in Hacienda Luisita. Under SDO, these were prohibited.

Meanwhile, Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo called on the high court to settle the issue, saying the delay in the issuance of its decision has already raised suspicions that it is being politically influenced.

“We pray that the Supreme Court will uphold its integrity and not compromise itself and offer the poor as collateral damage in the political games being played!” said Pabillo.

Pabillo also called on President Benigno Aquino III not to let the Hacienda Luisita case spoil his administration, just like what it did to the government of his mother, the late and former president Cory Aquino.

Pabillo said agrarian reform had been the centerpiece program of President Cory, but said Hacienda Luisita had been a “glaring taint on her seriousness” to implement it.

Pabillo said the just resolution of the long-standing land dispute will show how serious the is government in helping the poor.

 

     
TULAGALAG ▼
     
           
     
     
     

 

Pabor sa magsasaka o hindi?: Desisyon sa pamamahagi ng Luisita ilalabas na
By Soliman A. Santos ⋅ June 14, 2011 ⋅ Print This Post ⋅ Post a comment
Pinoy Weekly

http://pinoyweekly.org/new/2011/06/pabor-sa-magsasaka-o-hindi-desisyon-sa-pamamahagi-ng-luisita-ilalabas-na/



Mga magsasaka ngayon sa Hacienda Luisita: Alam na nasa katwiran sila. (KR Guda/PW File Photo)

Anumang oras ngayon, nakatakdang ilabas ng Korte Suprema ang desisyon hinggil sa pamamahagi ng lupain ng Hacienda Luisita sa mga magsasaka rito.

Mahigit isang linggo nang nangangalampag ang mga magsasaka ng asyenda, kasama ang iba pang magsasaka sa ilalim ng Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) sa tanggapan ng Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Malakanyang at Korte Suprema, para itulak ang korte na manindigan pabor sa mga magsasaka ng mahigit 6,000 ektaryang dating tubuhan sa Tarlac na inaangkin ng angkan ni Pang. Benigno Cojuangco Aquino III.

At naganap ito sa panahon ng ika-23 anibersaryo ng Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), ang sinasabing “palpak” at bigong programa sa pagrereporma sa lupaing agrikultural na pinasimulan ng dating pangulong Corazon Cojuangco Aquino at pinalawig bilang CARP Extension With Reforms (Carper) ng nakaraang rehimeng Gloria Arroyo at sinuportahan ng kasalukuyang administrasyong Aquino.

Panawagan ng mga magsasaka na libreng ipamahagi ang lupa ng asyenda.

“Ang pamamahagi ng libre ng Hacienda Luisita sa mga manggagawang bukid ang tanging makatarungan at katanggap-tanggap na solusyon sa mahigit kalahating siglong usaping agraryo sa asyenda ni Pangulong Aquino,” ayon kay Danilo Ramos, pangkalahatang kalihim ng Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP).

Sa kabila ito ng mga probisyon sa Carper na pumapayag sa mga panginoong maylupa na humingi ng kompensasyon para sa lupaing ipamamahagi sa mga magsasakang nagkalinga at nagpayaman sa mga lupaing ito.

Idinagdag ni Ramos na walang moral, legal at politikal na dahilan para bayaran pa ang lupa sa mga Cojuangco kung sakaling magdesisyon ang Korte Suprema pabor sa mga magsasaka. “Matagal nang nabayaran ng mga manggagawang bukid ang lupa sa pamamagitan ng kanilang buhay, pawis at dugo,” aniya pa.

Ngunit bago ang libreng pamamahagi ng lupain ng Luisita, kailangan munang pumabor ang Korte Suprema sa mga magsasaka at dati nang desisyon ng Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC) na ipamahagi ito. Para sa mga magsasaka, kung tanging katwiran at katarungan lang ang masusunod, walang ibang maaaring desisyon ang korte kundi pumabor sa kanila.

Maliban na lamang kung may iba pang makapangyarihang puwersang magtutulak sa korte na pumanig sa pamilya ng kasalukuyang pangulo.


Anima na taong temporaryo


Simula noong 2005, nakabimbin na sa kataas-taasang hukuman ang usapin sa pagbabasura sa SDO o stock distribution option, ang iskema sa ilalim ng CARP na ginamit ng mga Cojuangco sa halip na ipamahagi sa mga magsasaka ang lupa. “Pinalakas ng CARP sa pamamagitan ng SDO ang kontrol ng mga Cojuangco sa Hacienda Luisita at lalong nagpahirap sa mga manggagawang-bukid.

Pinagpasyahan ng PARC at DAR na kanselahin ang SDO mahigit isang taon matapos ang pagmasaker sa mga nagwewelgang manggagawang bukid noong Nobyembre 6, 2004. Hinarang naman ito ng mga Cojuangco-Aquino sa Korte Suprema na nag-isyu ng temporary restraining order noong Hunyo 2006 na umabot na sa ikalimang taon ngayon.

Ayon kay Atty. Jobert Pahilga ng Sentra Foundation at abogado ng mga manggagawang-bukid, dalawa ang argumento ng inihaing petisyon ng Hacienda Luisita Inc. (HLI) sa Korte Suprema. Una ay ang kawalan ng hurisdikisyon ng PARC para kanselahin ang SDO at ikalawa, grave abuse of discretion dahil sa kawalan umano ng right to due process ng HLI at kawalan ng batayan ng ulat ng PARC para kanselahin ang SDO.

Pero sinabi ni Pahilga na maliwanag na ang usapin sa HLI ay usaping agraryo. “Ang lupaing subject ng kaso ay sakop ng agrarian reform program. Ang programang ipinapawalang bisa –SDO – ay sa ilalim ng CARP. Ang parties sa kaso ay landowner at tenant. Ang usapin sa kaso ay tungkol sa kanilang relasyon at kung ano ang scheme sa ilalim ng RA6657 dapat ito ipaloob – SDO ba o tuwirang pamamahagi ng lupa sa manggawang bukid,” paliwanag ni Pahilga.

“At ayon sa RA 6657 o CARP, lahat ng agrarian dispute ay nasa jurisdiction ng PARC/DAR at hindi maaring makialam ang regular courts sa usapin,” aniya pa.

Tungkol naman sa ikalawang isyu sinabi ng abogado na maliwanag na pumaloob o lumahok ang HLI sa imbestigasyon at proseso na ginawa ng DAR/PARC bago ito naglabas ng resolusyon na kanselahin SDO. Nagsampa rin umano ito ng position paper sa DAR at PARC.

“At noong nag-imbestiga ang DAR sa loob ng asyenda, ito ay ipinaalam sa HLI at nagbigay ang HLI ng pahintulot at nagtalaga pa ng kanilang representative. Kaya, hindi totoo ang sinasabi ng HLI na walang due process na nangyari,” ayon pa kay Pahilga.


Pagtitipon ng mga magsasaka sa Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija nitong nakaraang linggo. Tinalakay ng mga magsasaka ang mga kontra-magsasakang probisyon umano ng CARP Extension with Reforms. Tinalakay din nila ang pagtulak ng Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill sa Kongreso at tunay na repormang agraryo sa labas ng Kongreso. (Kontribusyon)

Kung sakaling pumabor?


Kung magdedesisyon ang Korte Suprema pabor sa mga magsasaka, sinabi ni Pahilga na hindi pa tapos ang laban ng mga manggagawang bukid ng Luisita. May mga importanteng isyu pa na dapat harapin na sa tingin nila ay hindi kasama sa pagdedesisyon ng korte at ito ay ibabalik sa DAR para iresolba.

Kabilang dito ay kung sino ang kikilalaning benepisyaryo at ano ang batayan na gagamitin sa pagtukoy sa kanila at kung ilang ektarya ang ipamamahagi.

Para sa Sentra, ang dapat umanong maging basehan ng benepisyaro ay ang listahan na ginamit noong 1989, kung kalian ipinatupad ang SDO. “Kung may madagdag man, ito ay ang mga taga-Luisita mismo na nagtrabaho matapos ang 1989 sa asukarera o mga manggagawang bukid na taga-asyenda o di kaya’y anak o kamag-anak ng dating benepisyaryo na namatay o nawala o umalis na sa asyenda.

Nilinaw ni Pahilga na hindi dapat kilalaning benepisyaryo ang mga superbisor at mga empleyadong nakipagkompromiso at mga naging “tuta” ng mga Cojuangco. Sa halip, sasampahan pa nila ang mga ito diskwalipikasyon.

Sa usapin ng lupang ipamamahagi, sinabi ni Pahilga na lahat nang maaaring sakahin sa 6,000 ektarya, maging ito man ay naging subject ng conversion o hindi ay dapat ipamahagi sa mga benepisyaryo.

“Noong oral argument sa SC, sabi ng HLI, 4,100 na lang ang natitira dahil nabawasan ng 500 na naibenta noong 1995 at ngayon ay may conversion order. Nabawas din ang lupang nasakop ng SCTEX. Ang tingin ng Sentra, dapat itong isama. “Ang conversion order kasi ay sa ilalim ng SDO scheme din. So nang ma-revoke ang SDO, dapat revoked na rin ito,” diin ni Pahilga.

Kung sakaling magdedesisyon ang Korte Suprema pabor sa HLI, magiging malaking usaping muli ang Hacienda Luisita, ani Pahilga. “Hindi kasi (ito) magiging katanggap-tanggap benepisyaryo. Tiyak, patuloy ang kanilang pakikibaka para sa lupa,” aniya pa.

Nilinaw ni Pahilga na kung hind imaging pabor sa mga magsasaka ang desisyon ng korte, hindi pa tapos ang laban at hindi nangangahulugan na mapapasakamay muli ng mga Cojuangco ang lupa dahil saklaw pa ito land reform program.

“Ang usapin lang kasi ngayon sa SC ay kung ipagpatuloy pa ba ang SDO sa Luisita o dapat tuwirang ibigay ang lupa sa mga magsasaka?” ani Pahilga.

Samantala, kung hindi naman pumabor sa mga magsasaka ang desisyon ng korte, siniguro ng abogado na iaapela nila ang naturang desisyon. Samantala, paiigtingin ng mga magsasaka ang kanilang protesta at pagkondena sa administrasyong Aquino at pamilyang Cojuangco-Aquino.

Para sa kanila, kung di sa kanila papabor ang Korte Suprema – sa kabila ng katwiran at katarungan – lalong malalantad ang kasalukuyang administrasyon sa pagiging kontra-magsasaka at maka-panginoong maylupa nito. Malayo ito sa “matuwid na daan” na ipinagmamalaki niya.

Protesta sa Gitnang Luzon


Samantala, hindi lamang mga magsasaka ng Luisita ang mistulang nag-aalsa sa panggigipit ng mga panginoong maylupa sa karapatan ng mga magsasaka.

Kasabay ng protesta sa Kamaynilaan, nagdaos din ng protesta sa Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija ang tinatayang 1,000 magsasaka sa pangunguna ng Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luson (AMGL) laban sa CARP at gayundin sa libreng pamamahagi ng lupa sa Hacienda Luisita. Nanggaling ang mga magsasaka mula sa Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Bulacan, Bataan, Pangasinan, Zambales at Pampanga.

Sinabi ni Joseph Canlas, tagapangulo ng AMGL, walang dudang bigo ang SDO at hindi naiahon sa kahirapan ang mga manggagawang-bukid.

Ayon pa kay Canlas, lahat ng tinatamasa ng mga Cojuangco-Aquino sa mga nakaraang dekada ay nanggaling sa dugo at pawis ng mga manggagawang bukid.

“Ang laban ng Hacienda Luisita ay hindi lamang usapin ng mga magsasaka; ito ay laban ng mga mamamayang Filipino laban sa piyudal na sistema na pumipigil sa ating bansa para makausad at umunlad,” ani Canlas.

Iginiit naman ni Ramos na ang matagal nang hinihintay na desisyon ng Korte Suprema ay lalong nagpapatagal sa paghihirap ng mga manggagawang-bukid sa Luisita. Nagiging daan din umano ito para makapagpatuloy sa pagmamaniobra ang mga Cojuangco-Aquino para lalong palakasin ang kanilang kontrol sa asyenda.

Nanawagan rin ang grupo sa pagbasura ng Carper dahil palalalain lamang nito ang pangangamkam ng lupa , pagpapalayas sa mga magsasaka at pagpapalit gamit ng lupa. “Sa Carper, hindi makikinabang ang magsasaka kung hindi siya papayagan ng panginoong maylupa. Nakatuon din ito sa mga iskemang pakikinabangan ng mga panginoong maylupa, malalaking agro-korporasyon at dayuhang mamumuhunan,” paliwanag ni Canlas.

Samantala, para naman kay Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano, ang awtor ng House Bill 374 o ang Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB), kailangang agarang ibasura na ang Carper at bigyang daan ang tunay na repormang agraryo. Isang paraan para makamit nito ang pagbigay-suporta sa GARB.

“Maaaring gamitin ng Estado ang kapangyarihan nito na hawakan at ipamahagi ang Hacienda Luisita at bigyan ng katarungang panlipunan ang mga manggawangh-bukid na matagal nang pinagkakaitan ng bunga ng kanilang paggawa,” ayon kay Mariano.

Inilinaw ni Mariano na tanging isang radikal at tunay repormang agraryo ang makababasag sa kontrol ng mga panginoong maylupa sa malalawak na lupain tulad ng Hacienda Luisita.

By Soliman A. Santos ⋅ June 14, 2011 ⋅ Print This Post ⋅ Post a comment

Mga magsasaka ngayon sa Hacienda Luisita: Alam na nasa katwiran sila. (KR Guda/PW File Photo)

Anumang oras ngayon, nakatakdang ilabas ng Korte Suprema ang desisyon hinggil sa pamamahagi ng lupain ng Hacienda Luisita sa mga magsasaka rito.

Mahigit isang linggo nang nangangalampag ang mga magsasaka ng asyenda, kasama ang iba pang magsasaka sa ilalim ng Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) sa tanggapan ng Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Malakanyang at Korte Suprema, para itulak ang korte na manindigan pabor sa mga magsasaka ng mahigit 6,000 ektaryang dating tubuhan sa Tarlac na inaangkin ng angkan ni Pang. Benigno Cojuangco Aquino III.

At naganap ito sa panahon ng ika-23 anibersaryo ng Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), ang sinasabing “palpak” at bigong programa sa pagrereporma sa lupaing agrikultural na pinasimulan ng dating pangulong Corazon Cojuangco Aquino at pinalawig bilang CARP Extension With Reforms (Carper) ng nakaraang rehimeng Gloria Arroyo at sinuportahan ng kasalukuyang administrasyong Aquino.

Panawagan ng mga magsasaka na libreng ipamahagi ang lupa ng asyenda.

“Ang pamamahagi ng libre ng Hacienda Luisita sa mga manggagawang bukid ang tanging makatarungan at katanggap-tanggap na solusyon sa mahigit kalahating siglong usaping agraryo sa asyenda ni Pangulong Aquino,” ayon kay Danilo Ramos, pangkalahatang kalihim ng Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP).

Sa kabila ito ng mga probisyon sa Carper na pumapayag sa mga panginoong maylupa na humingi ng kompensasyon para sa lupaing ipamamahagi sa mga magsasakang nagkalinga at nagpayaman sa mga lupaing ito.

Idinagdag ni Ramos na walang moral, legal at politikal na dahilan para bayaran pa ang lupa sa mga Cojuangco kung sakaling magdesisyon ang Korte Suprema pabor sa mga magsasaka. “Matagal nang nabayaran ng mga manggagawang bukid ang lupa sa pamamagitan ng kanilang buhay, pawis at dugo,” aniya pa.

Ngunit bago ang libreng pamamahagi ng lupain ng Luisita, kailangan munang pumabor ang Korte Suprema sa mga magsasaka at dati nang desisyon ng Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC) na ipamahagi ito. Para sa mga magsasaka, kung tanging katwiran at katarungan lang ang masusunod, walang ibang maaaring desisyon ang korte kundi pumabor sa kanila.

Maliban na lamang kung may iba pang makapangyarihang puwersang magtutulak sa korte na pumanig sa pamilya ng kasalukuyang pangulo.


Anima na taong temporaryo


Simula noong 2005, nakabimbin na sa kataas-taasang hukuman ang usapin sa pagbabasura sa SDO o stock distribution option, ang iskema sa ilalim ng CARP na ginamit ng mga Cojuangco sa halip na ipamahagi sa mga magsasaka ang lupa. “Pinalakas ng CARP sa pamamagitan ng SDO ang kontrol ng mga Cojuangco sa Hacienda Luisita at lalong nagpahirap sa mga manggagawang-bukid.

Pinagpasyahan ng PARC at DAR na kanselahin ang SDO mahigit isang taon matapos ang pagmasaker sa mga nagwewelgang manggagawang bukid noong Nobyembre 6, 2004. Hinarang naman ito ng mga Cojuangco-Aquino sa Korte Suprema na nag-isyu ng temporary restraining order noong Hunyo 2006 na umabot na sa ikalimang taon ngayon.

Ayon kay Atty. Jobert Pahilga ng Sentra Foundation at abogado ng mga manggagawang-bukid, dalawa ang argumento ng inihaing petisyon ng Hacienda Luisita Inc. (HLI) sa Korte Suprema. Una ay ang kawalan ng hurisdikisyon ng PARC para kanselahin ang SDO at ikalawa, grave abuse of discretion dahil sa kawalan umano ng right to due process ng HLI at kawalan ng batayan ng ulat ng PARC para kanselahin ang SDO.

Pero sinabi ni Pahilga na maliwanag na ang usapin sa HLI ay usaping agraryo. “Ang lupaing subject ng kaso ay sakop ng agrarian reform program. Ang programang ipinapawalang bisa –SDO – ay sa ilalim ng CARP. Ang parties sa kaso ay landowner at tenant. Ang usapin sa kaso ay tungkol sa kanilang relasyon at kung ano ang scheme sa ilalim ng RA6657 dapat ito ipaloob – SDO ba o tuwirang pamamahagi ng lupa sa manggawang bukid,” paliwanag ni Pahilga.

“At ayon sa RA 6657 o CARP, lahat ng agrarian dispute ay nasa jurisdiction ng PARC/DAR at hindi maaring makialam ang regular courts sa usapin,” aniya pa.

Tungkol naman sa ikalawang isyu sinabi ng abogado na maliwanag na pumaloob o lumahok ang HLI sa imbestigasyon at proseso na ginawa ng DAR/PARC bago ito naglabas ng resolusyon na kanselahin SDO. Nagsampa rin umano ito ng position paper sa DAR at PARC.

“At noong nag-imbestiga ang DAR sa loob ng asyenda, ito ay ipinaalam sa HLI at nagbigay ang HLI ng pahintulot at nagtalaga pa ng kanilang representative. Kaya, hindi totoo ang sinasabi ng HLI na walang due process na nangyari,” ayon pa kay Pahilga.


Pagtitipon ng mga magsasaka sa Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija nitong nakaraang linggo. Tinalakay ng mga magsasaka ang mga kontra-magsasakang probisyon umano ng CARP Extension with Reforms. Tinalakay din nila ang pagtulak ng Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill sa Kongreso at tunay na repormang agraryo sa labas ng Kongreso. (Kontribusyon)

Kung sakaling pumabor?


Kung magdedesisyon ang Korte Suprema pabor sa mga magsasaka, sinabi ni Pahilga na hindi pa tapos ang laban ng mga manggagawang bukid ng Luisita. May mga importanteng isyu pa na dapat harapin na sa tingin nila ay hindi kasama sa pagdedesisyon ng korte at ito ay ibabalik sa DAR para iresolba.

Kabilang dito ay kung sino ang kikilalaning benepisyaryo at ano ang batayan na gagamitin sa pagtukoy sa kanila at kung ilang ektarya ang ipamamahagi.

Para sa Sentra, ang dapat umanong maging basehan ng benepisyaro ay ang listahan na ginamit noong 1989, kung kalian ipinatupad ang SDO. “Kung may madagdag man, ito ay ang mga taga-Luisita mismo na nagtrabaho matapos ang 1989 sa asukarera o mga manggagawang bukid na taga-asyenda o di kaya’y anak o kamag-anak ng dating benepisyaryo na namatay o nawala o umalis na sa asyenda.

Nilinaw ni Pahilga na hindi dapat kilalaning benepisyaryo ang mga superbisor at mga empleyadong nakipagkompromiso at mga naging “tuta” ng mga Cojuangco. Sa halip, sasampahan pa nila ang mga ito diskwalipikasyon.

Sa usapin ng lupang ipamamahagi, sinabi ni Pahilga na lahat nang maaaring sakahin sa 6,000 ektarya, maging ito man ay naging subject ng conversion o hindi ay dapat ipamahagi sa mga benepisyaryo.

“Noong oral argument sa SC, sabi ng HLI, 4,100 na lang ang natitira dahil nabawasan ng 500 na naibenta noong 1995 at ngayon ay may conversion order. Nabawas din ang lupang nasakop ng SCTEX. Ang tingin ng Sentra, dapat itong isama. “Ang conversion order kasi ay sa ilalim ng SDO scheme din. So nang ma-revoke ang SDO, dapat revoked na rin ito,” diin ni Pahilga.

Kung sakaling magdedesisyon ang Korte Suprema pabor sa HLI, magiging malaking usaping muli ang Hacienda Luisita, ani Pahilga. “Hindi kasi (ito) magiging katanggap-tanggap benepisyaryo. Tiyak, patuloy ang kanilang pakikibaka para sa lupa,” aniya pa.

Nilinaw ni Pahilga na kung hind imaging pabor sa mga magsasaka ang desisyon ng korte, hindi pa tapos ang laban at hindi nangangahulugan na mapapasakamay muli ng mga Cojuangco ang lupa dahil saklaw pa ito land reform program.

“Ang usapin lang kasi ngayon sa SC ay kung ipagpatuloy pa ba ang SDO sa Luisita o dapat tuwirang ibigay ang lupa sa mga magsasaka?” ani Pahilga.

Samantala, kung hindi naman pumabor sa mga magsasaka ang desisyon ng korte, siniguro ng abogado na iaapela nila ang naturang desisyon. Samantala, paiigtingin ng mga magsasaka ang kanilang protesta at pagkondena sa administrasyong Aquino at pamilyang Cojuangco-Aquino.

Para sa kanila, kung di sa kanila papabor ang Korte Suprema – sa kabila ng katwiran at katarungan – lalong malalantad ang kasalukuyang administrasyon sa pagiging kontra-magsasaka at maka-panginoong maylupa nito. Malayo ito sa “matuwid na daan” na ipinagmamalaki niya.

Protesta sa Gitnang Luzon


Samantala, hindi lamang mga magsasaka ng Luisita ang mistulang nag-aalsa sa panggigipit ng mga panginoong maylupa sa karapatan ng mga magsasaka.

Kasabay ng protesta sa Kamaynilaan, nagdaos din ng protesta sa Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija ang tinatayang 1,000 magsasaka sa pangunguna ng Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luson (AMGL) laban sa CARP at gayundin sa libreng pamamahagi ng lupa sa Hacienda Luisita. Nanggaling ang mga magsasaka mula sa Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Bulacan, Bataan, Pangasinan, Zambales at Pampanga.

Sinabi ni Joseph Canlas, tagapangulo ng AMGL, walang dudang bigo ang SDO at hindi naiahon sa kahirapan ang mga manggagawang-bukid.

Ayon pa kay Canlas, lahat ng tinatamasa ng mga Cojuangco-Aquino sa mga nakaraang dekada ay nanggaling sa dugo at pawis ng mga manggagawang bukid.

“Ang laban ng Hacienda Luisita ay hindi lamang usapin ng mga magsasaka; ito ay laban ng mga mamamayang Filipino laban sa piyudal na sistema na pumipigil sa ating bansa para makausad at umunlad,” ani Canlas.

Iginiit naman ni Ramos na ang matagal nang hinihintay na desisyon ng Korte Suprema ay lalong nagpapatagal sa paghihirap ng mga manggagawang-bukid sa Luisita. Nagiging daan din umano ito para makapagpatuloy sa pagmamaniobra ang mga Cojuangco-Aquino para lalong palakasin ang kanilang kontrol sa asyenda.

Nanawagan rin ang grupo sa pagbasura ng Carper dahil palalalain lamang nito ang pangangamkam ng lupa , pagpapalayas sa mga magsasaka at pagpapalit gamit ng lupa. “Sa Carper, hindi makikinabang ang magsasaka kung hindi siya papayagan ng panginoong maylupa. Nakatuon din ito sa mga iskemang pakikinabangan ng mga panginoong maylupa, malalaking agro-korporasyon at dayuhang mamumuhunan,” paliwanag ni Canlas.

Samantala, para naman kay Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano, ang awtor ng House Bill 374 o ang Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB), kailangang agarang ibasura na ang Carper at bigyang daan ang tunay na repormang agraryo. Isang paraan para makamit nito ang pagbigay-suporta sa GARB.

“Maaaring gamitin ng Estado ang kapangyarihan nito na hawakan at ipamahagi ang Hacienda Luisita at bigyan ng katarungang panlipunan ang mga manggawangh-bukid na matagal nang pinagkakaitan ng bunga ng kanilang paggawa,” ayon kay Mariano.

Inilinaw ni Mariano na tanging isang radikal at tunay repormang agraryo ang makababasag sa kontrol ng mga panginoong maylupa sa malalawak na lupain tulad ng Hacienda Luisita.

 

     
     
     
     
     
     
     

Central Luzon Peasants

by Gege Morilla  ▼

     
     
     
     
           
     
     
     

 

IBON Features | June 2011
 

FOREIGN LAND DEALS: GLOBAL LAND GRABBING?

These land deals are unconstitutional and have long-term severe implications to the host country's food security, land ownership and national sovereignty
  
IBON Features-- There is a rising trend in the number of what are called foreign land deals in many countries across the globe, covering up to million hectares of land. The scale and rate at which these deals have taken place, plus the institutions involved in the transactions have made these deals controversial. 
 
The implications of foreign land deals are tremendous, especially on farmers’ rights, food security and national sovereignty. 
 
Land rush
 
Foreign land deals refer to purchases or long-term leases or large tracts of productive lands in the poor countries by rich countries and their corporations, which need resources to produce crops either for food, feedstock, or biofuels in commercial and export quantities. These have been referred to as "land grabs" because of the usually unfair terms by which they have been transacted. While most of these deals pass through legal government channels, consultation with the communities of farmers and indigenous people is lacking. 
 
The land rush, which began as early as 2006, is said to be not only due to the rush by “food insecure” nations to ensure food supply or the increasing demand for alternative sources of energy like biofuels, but also by market opportunities from speculation on land value. 
 
Indeed in the face of an intensifying global crisis, land markets have become attractive as they present a new arena for speculation on land prices. According to Oxfam, there are around 120 hedge funds, retirement funds, agribusiness corporations and private equity funds investing in agricultural lands in poor countries. This shows that the land rush is only partly explained by the food and energy demands, and it becomes apparent that investment in soft commodities such as farmlands is about profitability. 
 
Who are involved?
  
According to non-government organization GRAIN, the Philippines is among the leading target countries for land deals, with others like Sudan, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Tanzania, etc. This is despite provisions in the Philippine Constitution barring foreigners from owning land in the country.

Global land grabbing was first noticed with the involvement of China and Middle Eastern countries. So-called food insecure countries have sought to outsource their local food production by gaining land control in other countries. Since 2008, China, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, Gulf countries, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Qatar, UAE, India, Malaysia, Japan and South Korea have been on a land rush to Africa, South and Southeast Asia, South America and Central Asia.
 
But aside from the “food-insecure” nations, another group of land grabbers are the investment houses, private equity funds, fund managers, and large agribusiness corporations.  They enter the picture either through local private partners, the host governments, or through their own governments seeking joint ventures with the taget countries. One example of this disguised group of land grabbers is the Japanese firm Mitsui, which bought 100,000 hectares of land in Brazil for soybean production. This land grabbing is in the form of acquisition of farmlands, where Japanese and Arab trading and processing corporations are involved. 
 
The third group of land grabbers is the host governments. They change national laws, policies, as well as practices on land ownership to accommodate the foreign acquisitions. For instance, the Sudan government, which owns most of the country’s land, is issuing leases at cheap prices. Meanwhile the Chinese government introduced rights leasing or trading to farmers. 
 
Other governments that are reluctant to open up and allow foreigners to take over their lands will have to deal with the World Bank. In 2009, World Bank loans, grants, equity investments, and guarantees increased by a record 54% from the previous year, and most of the increases are directed to facilitating foreign land deals. 
 
The Philippines
 
After centuries of colonial land grabs and decades of failed land reforms and globalization, the country is actually set for this new brand of foreign land grabbing. 
 
The Philippine Agribusiness Development Cooperation Center (PADCC), created in 2007 keeps a land bank of supposedly idle lands that may be considered for agribusiness deals. It facilitated a US$300-million worth of investments from the NEH of Bahrain and the local AMA group to establish a banana export project in Davao del Norte. 
 
On the other hand, the Philippine government under former President Gloria Arroyo entered 18 deals with China, letting Chinese companies access 1.24 million hectares of land. These deals, which became controversial together with the NBN-ZTE deal, have already been cancelled.
 
The Philippine government is also waiting for the follow-up visits from Saudi Arabia to finalize the US$238.6 million fresh investments for cash crop plantations like banana, mango and pineapple, as well as aquaculture and halal food processing. The two governments have actually been discussing the possibility of Saudi food production in Mindanao and other parts of the Philippines for a lease of 50 years or so. 
 
Meanwhile, China has reportedly secured control of over 2 million hectares of foreign agricultural lands from countries including the Philippines, Brazil, Kazakhstan, Laos, etc. There is also a plan by the Republic of Korea of investing in corn plantation in the Philippines involving a large agricultural area. 
 
Moreover, the Philippine government has allocated six million hectares of ‘idle lands’ for the production of sugarcane, coconut, cassava, jathropa, oil palm, etc. It has also allocated two million hectares for agribusiness development. All these are even bigger than the size of the country’s current cereals farms. 
 
Promised Benefits
 
One of the promised benefits of farmland investments is affordable food for all. But land deals are happening in two unrelated markets—the products market and the land market, with the latter operating on too much speculation. With this, the prices of food will continue to be affected not by the supply-demand equations and production ratios but only with the amount of capital invested in the commodity exchanges. In fact, the steep increases in rice prices in 2008 were largely due to the activities of financial investors in the commodity exchanges.
 
Also, allowing foreigners to own land for food production will not ensure stable food prices because the produce will eventually be exported back to the source countries at the prevailing global market prices. This will benefit agribusiness corporations and their governments tremendously by increased profits from utilizing cheap land and labor in the host countries and reselling at speculation-driven prices.
 
Moreover, the marginalization and displacement of farming communities from their land will undermine further their capacity to buy food. In the end, because of the foreign land deals, communities immediately lose their rights to be consulted and participate in food distribution programs. Host governments will also lose further the chance to build stocks, implement centralized procurement and develop local markets. 
 
The entry of corporate control in agricultural and food production will eventually destroy small-scale and backyard farming. The small farms, as well as the national capacity to produce its own food, are bound to lose in the foreign land deals by allowing foreign corporations and investors to produce food while the local market relies on imports. Thus in the end, host countries have essentially given up their right to be self-reliant and self-sufficient in food production as well as their economic democracy to determine the sustainable use of their seeds, genetic resources, water resources, livestock and other natural resources. 
 
Lastly, host governments may be held accountable not only for the lack of transparency in transacting foreign land deals and violating the rights of communities, but for surrendering sovereignty to pursue food security and national development. IBON Features
   

IBON Foundation, Inc. is an independent development institution established in 1978 that provides research, education, publications, information work and advocacy support on socioeconomic issues. 

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"[A]s I have never seen anything but fields since I was born, I try to say as best I can what I saw and felt when I was at work," wrote Jean-François Millet. At the Salon of 1863, Man with a Hoe caused a storm of controversy. The man in the picture was considered brutish and frightening by Parisian bourgeoisie. The Industrial Revolution had caused a steady exodus from French farms, and Man with a Hoe was interpreted as a socialist protest about the peasant's plight. Though his paintings were judged in political terms, Millet declared that he was neither a socialist nor an agitator.

A religious fatalist, Millet believed that man was condemned to bear his burdens. This farmer is Everyman. His face is lit, yet composed of blots of color that give him no individuality. He is big and dirty and utterly exhausted by the backbreaking work of turning this rocky, thistle-ridden earth into a productive field like the one being worked in the distance. A tribute to dignity and courage in the face of a life of unremitting exertion, Man with a Hoe was long considered a symbol of the laboring class.
 

Man with a Hoe
Jean-François Millet
Oil on canvas
31 1/2 x 39 in.
 

 

From:

http://www.getty.edu/art/gettyguide/artObjectDetails?artobj=879

 

     

 

The Man with a Hoe

by Edwin Markham,

and L'homme à la houe 

by Jean-François Millet
 

In 1899 an American schoolteacher, Charles Edward Anson Markham (1852-1940), who used the penname Edwin Markham, was inspired by an 1863 painting to write a poem. The painting was "L'homme à la houe" by the French artist, Jean-François Millet (1814-1875); the poem was "The Man with a Hoe".

 

The poem quickly became as famous as the painting. Both continue to be moving testimonies to what the too prevalent inhumanity of humanity can cause.

The Man with a Hoe

 

Bowed by the weight of centuries he leans
Upon his hoe and gazes on the ground,
The emptiness of ages in his face,
And on his back, the burden of the world.
Who made him dead to rapture and despair,
A thing that grieves not and that never hopes,
Stolid and stunned, a brother to the ox?
Who loosened and let down this brutal jaw?
Whose was the hand that slanted back this brow?
Whose breath blew out the light within this brain?
 

Is this the Thing the Lord God made and gave
To have dominion over sea and land;
To trace the stars and search the heavens for power;
To feel the passion of Eternity?
Is this the dream He dreamed who shaped the suns
And marked their ways upon the ancient deep?
Down all the caverns of Hell to their last gulf
There is no shape more terrible than this--
More tongued with cries against the world's blind greed--
More filled with signs and portents for the soul--
More packed with danger to the universe.
 

What gulfs between him and the seraphim!
Slave of the wheel of labor, what to him
Are Plato and the swing of the Pleiades?
What the long reaches of the peaks of song,
The rift of dawn, the reddening of the rose?
Through this dread shape the suffering ages look;
Time's tragedy is in that aching stoop;
Through this dread shape humanity betrayed,
Plundered, profaned and disinherited,
Cries protest to the Powers that made the world,
A protest that is also prophecy.

 

O masters, lords and rulers in all lands,
Is this the handiwork you give to God,
This monstrous thing distorted and soul-quenched?
How will you ever straighten up this shape;
Touch it again with immortality;
Give back the upward looking and the light;
Rebuild in it the music and the dream;
Make right the immemorial infamies,
Perfidious wrongs, immedicable woes?
 

O masters, lords and rulers in all lands,
How will the future reckon with this Man?
How answer his brute question in that hour
When whirlwinds of rebellion shake all shores?
How will it be with kingdoms and with kings--
With those who shaped him to the thing he is--
When this dumb Terror shall rise to judge the world,
After the silence of the centuries?

 

From:

http://www.ischool.utexas.edu/~wyllys/manwhoe.html

 

     

Picket at the Supreme Court

June 14, 2011

     

 

PRESS RELEASE
June 14, 2011
Reference:
Joseph Canlas, Chair, AMGL (0918-233-5050)

Don’t bring Luisita case back to square one, group said

The regional farmers’ alliance Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luson (AMGL, Peasant Alliance in Central Luzon) urged the Supreme Court to decide firmly on the Hacienda Luisita case and favorably to the farmworkers, particularly the lifting of the temporary restraining order (TRO) against the Stock Distribution Option (SDO) scheme as decided by the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC) in 2005. More than a hundred farmworkers under the Alyansa ng Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita (AMBALA) protested at the Supreme Court in Manila to demand the lifting of the TRO against SDO revocation.

“We remind the high court that they have to decide on the legality of the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council’s (PARC) decision to revoke SDO in 2005, not to invent new schemes just to please the Cojuangco-Aquinos and essentially putting the case to square one. We encourage the justices to be decisive in favor of the farmworkers, for fundamental reforms,” said Joseph Canlas, AMGL Chairperson during the protest.

“The decision of the high court could be one of the most historical as the involved TRO would be one of the longest, aging 5 years at present, focused on one of the most controversial and popular feudal estate involving the family of a ruling class and exposed the immoral and wicked means of how they acquired the 6,453-hectares in Tarlac province. This is a chance for the Supreme Court to decide on one of the fundamental issue beleaguering our society that is feudalism or the monopoly control over vast lands of the landlord class,” Canlas said.

The group said that farmworkers have been longing for fundamental reforms and for the SC to decide in favor of the Cojuangco-Aquinos is putting fuel on the growing fire of social unrest in Hacienda Luisita and affirming the feudal control of the latter.

“We know that the high court is faced with a very grave issue that involves the very core of our society’s problem. But as the historical and legal basis totally illustrated the injustice committed by the Cojuangcos, the rationale of land distribution and genuine land reform to benefit the farmworkers, the court is duty-bound to lift the TRO and favor the farmworkers, otherwise they would be sending a wrong message that oppression and exploitation are affirmed in the high court,” Canlas said.

“Whatever SC decision comes out, the struggle of the farmworkers would continue as the present government under president Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino III pose as the biggest opposition to genuine land reform,” he added.

AMGL said that the Aquino government should expect more peasant protests as he totally ignored the land reform issue since his inauguration and promoted the Public-Private Partnership program that simply means landgrabbing, displacement and land use conversion in the countryside.

“Noynoy Aquino is a hopeless case. The hope for genuine land reform to be implemented by Aquino is taboo and his promise of ‘matuwid na daan’ all rubbish, reform lies on the action of the Filipino farmers and exploited sectors,” said Canlas.

“At this early stage, we encourage all sectors to support the farmworkers’ ‘bungkalan’ (cultivation) in Hacienda Luisita, as whatever the SC decides on, the Cojuangco-Aquino’s would continue to scheme to keep their feudal control over the estate,” he called. #
 

IFI Obispo Maximo Ephraim S. Fajutagana
 
   
     
     
     
     
   
   
   
**          

 

/p

  
 

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