Distribute 500 has. RCBC land in Luisita to farmfolk

    CLARK FREEPORT – The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) was urged yesterday to immediately distribute to Hacienda Luisita farm workers some 500 hectares initially excluded from land reform in the hacienda after the area was sold by the Cojuangcos to a third party.

    This appeal was issued by Anakpawis Party list Rep. Ariel Casilao who also lauded the decision of the DAR to cancel “all shady dealings of Hacienda Luisita Inc. (HLI) which stalled full distribution of hacienda lands to qualified beneficiaries.”

    “DAR Sec. Rafael Mariano should fast track the awarding of the remaining farm lands that have been undistributed for years including the 500 hectares of Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) and other farmlands that were subjected to the so-called ‘aryendo’ farm scheme,” he said. Aryendo refers to the illegitimate leasing of lands already distributed to the land reform beneficiaries in Hacienda Luisita.

    Casilao noted that “the demand of Luisita farm workers for free land distribution and support services fell on deaf ears in past administrations.”

    “The seething poverty among the farm worker beneficiaries forced them to engage in elicit dealings with various groups of land lessees which are dummies of the HLI. Mariano was right on not to blame the farm workers who have been duped to engage in aryendo scheme amid poverty and lack of support from the government. We blame the CojuangcoAquino and their cohorts that clearly benefi ted from these scheme,” he also said.

    Five years ago, the Supreme Court ordered with finality the distribution of Hacienda Luisita but spared the 500 hectares from distribution in Barangay Balete after HLI sold the land to RCBC. The court had excluded the area from land reform, noting that RCBC was an innocent purchaser.

    But Casilalo said “RCBC was not at all an innocent purchaser when it clearly knew during the purchase about the land dispute between HLI and the Luisita Farm Worker Beneficiaries (FWBs) under the Alyansa ng mga Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita or AMBALA.”

    “In addition, the DAR already revoked its conversion order, as per provision of the previous land reform program, RCBC failed to conduct development in the said parcel of land for more than five years since it claimed ownership of the said land”, said Casilao

    “We are urging Luisita farmers to take cue from Sec. Mariano and continue collective farming and occupation of these farm lands for years have been denied from them. Anakpawis also supports the initiative of DAR to run after those who duped the farm workers to engage in aryendo scheme. They must be held liable,” Casilao also said.


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