Luisita Magsasaka

Hacienda Luisita and the suspension of belief

What about the injustices?

Baby boom to be blamed for Luisita farmers’ poverty

January 31, 2010 17:54:00
Delfin Mallari Jr.
Inquirer Southern Luzon

CANDELARIA, QUEZON, Philippines –The poverty and discontent among Hacienda Luisita farmers should not be blamed on the landed Cojuangco clan but on the tenants’ lack of family planning, Senator Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III’s eldest sister said on Sunday.

“Palaki nang palaki ang kanilang pamilya. Hindi nakakaya. Magkano lang ang kanilang kinikita? Siyempre pag hinati yun , siyempre paliit ng paliit,” said Ballsy Aquino-Cruz when asked about the root cause of the conflict between the Cojuangco family and the Luisita farmers.

“Just like any other company, fine if it (Hacienda Luisita) gains profit, and sorry if does not. Just wait for the next time.”

Cruz and sister Pinky Abellada were here Sunday morning along with LP senatorial candidates Neric Acosta, Yasmin Busran-Lao and Martin Bautista; former social welfare secretary Dinky Soliman; and Pinky Roxas, cousin of Senator Mar Roxas. Roxas is Aquino’s running mate in the May presidential election.

The LP delegation met with local supporters of Aquino-Roxas tandem.

Cruz refuted allegations that the management of Hacienda Luisita did not give farmer-shareholders their just share of over P80 million paid by the government for the 83-hectare right-of-way through the Luisita estate in constructing the Subic-Clark-Tarlac-Expressway.

She said the money was spent by the corporation to pay off debts.

“Hacienda Lusita is a corporation. It has lots of debts. The money was not divided among shareholders and instead, it went to the company (treasurer),” Cruz explained.

In defending the stock distribution option, which has been criticized for effectively exempting the Cojuangcos from agrarian reform, Cruz said the farmers were able to have their land without the government paying even a single centavo for it.

“They got 33 percent (of the whole Hacienda Luisita area) for nothing. The government did not even pay a single centavo. If it was distributed under the government land reform, the landowner will be paid for the land,” she stressed.

Cavite Representative Jesus Crispin Remulla, an ally of Nacionalista Party presidential candidate and Sen. Manny Villar, alleged that right of way deal with the Hacienda Luisita for the construction of SCTEX was overpriced. He said the SCTEX was realigned to make it pass through Luisita.

Remulla claimed that the P80 million paid by the government to Luisita for the road right-of-way was over priced by at least P92 per square meter and that the Luisita farmers, who had been toiling at the hacienda for decades, got a pittance.

Under the stock distribution option, the farmers became owners of 33 percent of the vast estate and should have received at least P25 million of the P80 million right-of-way payment, the lawmaker said.

The farmers, he said, were, instead, given only P2 million pesos in dividends, which translated to 50 centavos to P1 per farmer.

But Aquino’s other sister, Pinky Abellada, said the state-owned Bases Conversion and Development Authority has cleared the deal as aboveboard.

“If they really have evidence, they should file it before the (Senate) Ethics Committee. We expect more mud to be thrown against Noynoy but he is ready to face them all,” Abellada said.

Abellada said she would be willing to take a bullet just to emphasize Aquino’s “unblemished” integrity.

“Kung may tao na magsasabi na may ebidensya sya na nagnakaw si Noynoy kahit piso lang, please barilin ninyo ako (If there is somebody, who offer evidence to show that Noynoy stole from the public coffers, even if it’s just one peso, just shoot me please). I’m very sure that my brother is untainted (with corruption),” she said.

Cruz said they own only 11 percent of the 67 percent shares controlled by the Cojuangco clan. “We are only minority (owners). We are not powerful. There are also other stockholders.”

“Our respective shares are a little over two percent,” Abellada added.

It was during the time of their mother, the late president Corazon Aquino, when an executive order was signed, outlining the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law of the government. She expanded the coverage of land reform to include sugar lands.

The new law, however, also included a provision for the Stock Distribution Option (SDO), a mode of complying with the land reform law that did not require actual physical transfer of land.

This was accepted by the Luisita farmers, making them 33 percent owners of Hacienda Luisita, Cruz pointed out.



1 Comment so far
Leave a comment

I really like when people are expressing their opinion and thought. So I like the way you are writing

Comment by BassMan

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: