QUEZON CiTY – Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano has put to task the Department of Agrarian Reform for its alleged sinister move of compelling 6,212 Hacienda Luisita farm worker-beneficiaries to sign a promissory note stating that farmers will pay the amortization of lands supposedly distributed to them.
The note will effectively benefit the Cojuangco-Aquino clan’s interest of maintaining their control and stronghold of the lands, Mariano stressed.
The solon said Luisita farmers will also continue opposing compensation for the Cojuangco-Aquinos and Hacienda Luisita Inc.
“The President’s family does not deserve to receive even a single centavo from farmworker-beneficiaries. The Cojuangco-Aquino family actually owes farmers P1.33 billion from the proceeds of the sale of Luisita lands,” the solon said.
Anakpawis party-list will lead a protest march from Hacienda Luisita to Malacañang next month, he said.
Last month, DAR released the final list of beneficiaries of the 4,915 hectares Luisita lands. But Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes maintained that beneficiaries will only get their share after signing a written commitment to pay for the lands and make them productive.
“Compelling farmworker-beneficiaries to sign a “Farmers’ Undertaking” wherein they will promise to cultivate the land and pay the land based on its assessed value is tantamount to blackmail,” Mariano said. “It’s like DAR is sticking a knife on the throats of Luisita farm worker-beneficiaries.”
“This agreement will only make way for the re-concentration of lands to the Cojuangco-Aquino family. DAR is obviously taking Luisita farmers for a ride. No land distribution will happen under DAR’s arrangements that are detrimental to Luisita farm workers-beneficiaries.”
Mariano went to Hacienda Luisita to explain to Luisita farm worker-beneficiaries the implications of DAR’s resolution on the identification and selection of qualified farm worker-beneficiaries to be included in the final master list of farm worker-beneficiaries in pursuant to the final decision of the Supreme Court.
“Luisita farmers already know that the Cojuangco-Aquino family will not hand over the lands on a silver platter. They must remain vigilant and determined to continue asserting their right to the lands,” Mariano said.