Posts Tagged ‘land reform’

Photo by PDI

First thing I read today was the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s shocking banner story “Cory Aquino’s ‘glowing legacy’: Aquino kin back immediate distribution of land”.

The headline somehow makes it appear that land distribution was the intention all along of former president Cory Aquino when she embarked on the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program some 25 years ago. That all this time, the Luisita landlords had the best intentions for the farm workers. And that, by implication, if the first Aquino regime wanted this, then surely the second Aquino regime shared the same vision.

The statements of the counsel for the Hacienda Luisita made me sick to my stomach, as I’m sure it did other farmer advocates.

“The Cojuangco family expresses its full confidence that the Supreme Court decision regarding the fate of Hacienda Luisita is a just resolution for all parties concerned,” said Antonio Ligon, hacienda counsel and spokesperson.

“Now that the high court maintains that land distribution is the only resolution, the Cojuangco family guarantees its full cooperation in the expeditious completion of this process and put all other issues to rest,” he said.

While the family had sought a reconsideration of the high tribunal’s Nov. 22, 2011, ruling, Ligon said the court’s final decision on the decades-old dispute was “a verdict the Cojuangco family embraces.”

“(This) should be a glowing legacy for the late former President Corazon Cojuangco Aquino,” he said.

“It cannot be argued that Mrs. Aquino made decisive moves to place Hacienda Luisita in the 1980s under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program although the preference of farmer-beneficiaries for stock distribution option (SDO) prevailed in at least three referendums over land distribution.”

Now that the farmers are on the verge of claiming the land that is rightfully theirs, the Luisita management wants to rewrite history, give itself a pat on the back, and perhaps make the current president look good in the process. (Why PDI editors dignify and give so much space to HLI’s gratuitous and self-serving statements, I really don’t know.)

“Glowing legacy” ba kamo? How about a legacy of deception and failure? Because that’s what the last 25 years of Mrs. Aquino’s CARP has amounted to for the farmers of Luisita. The way the Luisita management speaks, it’s as if they had the best intentions for the farmers at the onset; that the management, like Cory, really wanted land reform.

Cripes, if this were true, then the farmers were wrong to rise up against the Cojuangco-Aquinos. The strike in 2004 was totally unncecessary. The massacre of strikers and the assassination of farmers’ supporters, all those were for naught because, as Ligon says, Mrs. Aquino had wanted to place the sugar estate under her government’s land reform program from the start.

Wow, that’s even worse than Joel Rocamora claiming that this is a victory for Benigno Aquino’s land reform program. (Isa pa itong mga nakikisakay na tagumpay daw ng CARPER itong Luisita ruling).

Anyone familiar with Cory Aquino’s CARP knows that a provision in the law allowed landlords to retain control of their estates by subjecting these to a “Stock Distribution Option”. Under this scheme, farmers will be given shares of stocks instead of actual land. The scheme ensured that effective control of the land remained with the big landlords. Such was the case in Luisita where the shares of the farmers amounted to only 33% while the Cojuangco-Aquino management was able to bloat its shares to 66%. From that time on, farmers worked in miserable and oppressive conditions.

The failure of the SDO to improve the lives of farmers became the subject of a strike by farmworkers, a decision by the DAR, the PARC and eventually, the Supreme Court. The final ruling of the SC effectively junked the SDO and paved the way for actual land distribution. The SC ruling is a partial rebuke of the SDO of Cory Aquino’s CARP.

Now that farmers are getting their due, the Luisita management wishes us to believe in its benevolence.  HLI tries to assure us of its full cooperation with the decision. It is after all, a decision that the Cojuangco family “embraces”.

Really?

The statement that HLI will cooperate is also calibrated to take the heat off President Benigno Aquino III who up to now has not released a statement on the matter. Ligon wants to end public speculation on whether Aquino will press his family to comply with the decision.

For the record, the HLI management has never stopped scheming and maneuvering to retain their vast estate. They are notorious for not showing good faith. One time, it drafted a sham “compromise agreement” and gave token amounts of money to the farmers for them to sign the pact, in order to preempt the decision the High Court. We have not forgotten that. Up to the end, the HLI management even makes mention of three sham referendums that allegedly affirmed the farmers’ support for the SDO.

If there appears to be a change of tone in the statements of HLI, it’s because they know that there a very little legal options left for them at the moment. They know that they have been soundly defeated in the main legal arena. They know that there is overwhelming public support for the farmers of Luisita.

I end this piece by paraphrasing a message from a journalist friend who has watched the legal developments closely. He says that the victory of the Luisita struggle “is a glowing legacy of the national democratic peasant movement” in forwarding the cause of genuine land reform.

This victory belongs to the farmers and the people, and not to any landlord/president, past or present. To those like Ligon and the HLI management who are claiming otherwise, di na kayo nahiya. Ang kupal lang.

Today farmers of Hacienda Luisita were overcome with tears of joy as they waited for the announcement of the Supreme Court’s final ruling on the Luisita dispute. The SC voted 14-0 in favor of land distribution, upholding an earlier ruling. The court also voted 8-6 in its decision to peg the value of the Luisita land at 1989 levels, instead of the 2006 valuation that management was pushing for. Obviously management wanted a bigger “just compensation” before they lose control of the land. Their motion however was denied.

Many have sacrificed their lives in the course of the struggle. A memorial marker stands at the Gate 1 of the Luisita Central Azucarera de Tarlac, where the names of the Luisita martyrs are inscribed.

The battle for land that has raged on for decades now reaches another turning point. The Luisita management said they will comply with the SC ruling, though they have yet to get a copy of the decision. Luisita lawyer Atty.  Antonio Ligon said that the valuation of the land, even if done based on the 1989 period of reckoning, will have to undergo a process. He hinted that even in 1989, the land had undergone “improvements”. So it is possible that HLI will still attempt to get more than what they should.  They may use these arguments to further delay land distribution until they get more for the land. “The actual value of the land will still be determined by the Special Agrarian Court because that is what is in the law. It is not automatic,” Ligon said. He cited “other factors that will be considered” and that this is “subject to study and investigation”.

When asked if HLI can still challenge the valuation done by the Special Agrarian Court, the Luisita lawyer answered in the affirmative.

This whole concept of “just compensation”, which has been echoed by President Aquino himself whose family owns Luisita, will likely remain a thorny issue.

In an attempt to downplay the importance of and distribution, Ligon said that once land is distributed to the farmers, “they’re on their own”.

The fight of the farmers is not yet over. Collective vigilance is now necessary in ensuring that the HLI management and the Aquino government comply with the SC ruling.Maneuvers of the management and the government to delay land distribution should be exposed and opposed.

We do intend to prove Ligon wrong. The farmers are not “on their own” since many continue to support them and their just struggle for land. The farmers will be fine even if they are divorced from HLI. And along with land distribution, government should provide support services to the farmers.

The road ahead for Luisita remains full of challenges, but on this day, the Luisita farmers have earned every right to celebrate their victory.

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(Based on THE CONTINUING SAGA OF THE FARMWORKERS OF HACIENDA LUISITA by Atty. Jobert Ilarde‐Pahilga, executive director, Sentro Para sa Tunay na Repormang Agraryo (Sentra) and campaign officer of National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL)

1957 – Jose Cojuangco Sr., buys majority shares of the Central Azucarera de Tarlac (CAT), including the 6,453‐hectare Hacienda Luisita from the Spanish company Compania General de Tabacos de Filipinas (Tabacalera) through a loan from the Central Bank. The CAT and hacienda are transferred to Cojuangco’s

Tarlac Development Corporation (TADECO), an agricultural corporation.

May 7, 1980 – Marcos government files a case against TADECO before the RTC of Manila for

specific performance to compel defendants TADECO, and the heirs of the late Jose Cojuangco, Sr. to turn over “Hacienda Luisita” to the Ministry of Agrarian Reform for the purpose of subdivision and sale at cost to “small farmers” or “tenants”.

December 2, 1985 – Manila RTC renders a decision that orders the Cojuangcos to transfer control of Hacienda Luisita to the Ministry of Agrarian Reform, which will distribute the land to small farmers after compensating the landowners P3.988 million

March 17, 1988 – the Cojuangcos elevate the case to the Court of Appeals which was docketed as CA G.R. 08634. The Solicitor General, CB governor and the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) file a motion to dismiss the civil case against the Cojuangcos pending before the Court of Appeals on the ground that Hacienda Luisita would be covered by agrarian reform.

May 18, 1988 – Court dismisses the case against the Cojuangcos

May 9, 1989 – The landowners, along with then DAR Secretary Philip Juico, Tarlac governor and the mayors of Tarlac City, Concepcion, and La Paz, the three municipalities covering the hacienda, hold referendum among Luisita farm workers to present the SDO. Thereafter, Juico, Tadeco and HLI sign Memorandum of Agreement on the SDO.

May 11, 1989 – HLI is designated as the SECOND PARTY to which the TADECO has transferred and conveyed the agricultural portions of Hacienda Luisita and other farm‐related properties in exchange for shares of stock of the farm workers

September 1, 1995 – the Sangguniang Bayan ng Tarlac reclassifies 3,290 hectares of Hacienda Luisita from agricultural to commercial, industrial and residential purposes

August 14, 1996 – DAR approves the conversion of 500 hectares of the 3,290 hectares of reclassified Luisita land and has already been converted into the Luisita Industrial Park

September 28, 2003 – Elections for farm workers’ and supervisors’ representatives to the HLI Board of Directors only 15.26% of the shares voted thereof. Around 95% of the farm workers boycotted the elections as a protest to the SDO and because the four board seats were useless against seven management seats.

October 14, 2003 – the Supervisory Group of Hacienda Luisita, Inc. files petition before the DAR to revoke SDO, saying the HLI was not giving them dividends, their  1% share in gross sales and 33% share in the proceeds from the conversion of 500 hectares of land. They likewise cite other violations by the HLI of the MOA and that their lives have not improved contrary to the promise and the rationale for the adoption of the SDO.

October 7, 2003 – More than a thousand farm workers gather to protest the SDO, land‐use conversion, joblessness at the hacienda

December 4, 2003 – Around 80% of the 5,339 farm workers at the hacienda through their organization, AMBALA, file a petition to DAR to nullify and rescind the SDO and to stop land‐use conversion at the hacienda

October 1, 2004 – Illegal dismissal of 327 farm workers belonging to ULWU

November 6, 2004 – Members of the Central Azucarera de Tarlac Labor Union (CATLU) and members of the United Luisita Workers’ Union (ULWU) simultaneously stag a strike and block the mill’s Gate1 and Gate 2. The strike arose from the deadlock in the negotiations for a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between CATLU and HLI (HLI).

November 16, 2004 – Violent dispersal of striking workers leave seven (7) dead, scores were injured. This has been known as the infamous Hacienda Luisita Massacre

November 22, 2004 – the DAR issues Special Order No. 789 which called for the strengthening of the Task Force Stock Distribution Option through the PARC Secretariat

November 25, 2004 – The DAR task force stock distribution, later renamed Task Force Luisita, convenes for the first time to discuss the petitions by Luisita supervisors and farm workers. Prior thereto, HLI filed with the DAR its answer to the petition/protest filed by the supervisory group.

March 15, 2005 – DAR deploys 10 teams to 10 barangays within the hacienda to conduct focus group discussions with 453 farmers concerning their understanding of SDO, the supposed benefits thereof, the home lots and other provisions of the agreement, their recommendations on the SDO, and to determine whether there is truth to the allegations of the farm workers that they have been pushed deeper into the quagmire of poverty by the SDO and MOA.

July 2005 – Task Force Luisita submits its report on findings and recommendations to DAR Secretary Nasser C. Pangandaman especially as regards the investigation conducted on March 15, 2005

August 2005 – Pangandaman creates a special legal team to review the legal issues in the task force’s report

September 23, 2005 – DAR special legal team submits its terminal report on the two petitions, recommending the revocation of the 16‐year‐old SDO agreement in Hacienda Luisita

December 23, 2005 – PARC issues Resolution No. 2005‐32‐01 which recalled/revoked the SDO plan of TADECO/HLI and placed the lands subject SDO plan under the compulsory coverage scheme of the CARP

January 3, 2006 – HLI files its motion for reconsideration of the said resolution

February 2006 – Despite the pendency of the Motion for Reconsideration it has filed, HLI files a petition for certiorari and prohibition against the PARC et al., before the Supreme Court

May 3, 2006 – PARC denies the motion for reconsideration of HLI

June 2006 – Supreme Court issues a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) which enjoins PARC and DAR to implement/execute the resolution revoking the SDO

July 2010 – Supreme Court sets case for oral arguments

August 3, 2010 – SC moves oral arguments to Aug. 18

August 6, 2010 – HLI and unauthorized representatives of AMBALA and ULWU sign compromise agreement

August 11, 2010 – HLI submits compromise agreement to Supreme Court for its approval

Inihanda ng Bagong Alyansang Makabayan

13 Agosto 2010

Ilang araw bago ang oral arguments sa Korte Suprema kung saan pag-uusapan at pagdesisyunan ang usapin ng Stock Distribution Option  (SDO) sa Hacienda Luisita, naghain ng “compromise agreement” ang Hacienda Luisita Inc. (HLI) management para lutasin diumano ang matagal nang sigalot sa hacienda.

Sa ilalim kasi ng SDO, stocks sa halip na lupa ang ipinamahagi sa mga magbubukid. Makakatanggap lamang sila ng dibidendo o kita depende sa dami ng hawak nilang stocks. Ang dami ng stocks ay nakabatay sa dami ng “man-days” o trabahong nagagawa ng isang magbubukid sa isang taon. Sa pagliit ng bilang ng “man-days” ay halos walang nakukuhang benepisyo ang mga magbubukid; isang dahilan ng pagputok ng welga noong 2004.

Taong 2003 nang magsampa ang mga magbubukid ng HLI ng petisyon sa Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) para ibasura ang SDO. Matapos ang 2004 welga, sa bisa ng pakikibaka ng mga magbubukid at manggagawa, pinawalang bisa ng DAR at ng Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC) ang SDO ng Luisita noong Disyembre 2005. Ibig sabihin ay kailangang tuwirang ipamahagi na ang lupa sa mga magbubukid sa ilaim ng Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP). Kinuwestyon naman ito ng HLI sa Korte Suprema noong Pebrero 2006 at nakakuha sila ng Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) laban sa PARC noong Hunyo 2006. Matapos ang apat na taon, didinggin na sa wakas ng Korte Suprema ang kasong ito.

Pero bago pa man mangyari ito, lumitaw na ang tinaguriang “compromise agreement”.  Pinapipili ang mga magsasaka at manggagawang bukid sa pagitan ng pananatili bilang stock-holder sa ilalim ng SDO o pamamahagi ng lupa.

Matapos ang “referendum,” karamihan sa mahigit 10,000 magsasaka at manggagawang bukid ang pumili sa pananatili ng SDO. Noong ika-11 ng Agosto ay ipinasa ng HLI management ang nasabing kasunduan sa Korte Suprema upang hilingin na ito na lamang ang pagdesisyunan sa halip na ang ligalidad at kawastuhan ng SDO ng HLI.

Ano ang nilalaman ng Compromise Agreement?

Pinapapili sa compromise agreement ang mga magsasaka at manggagawang bukid sa pagitan ng lupa o pagpapatuloy ng SDO. Kung lupa ang pipiliin ng mga magsasaka, ipamamahagi ng HLI management ang bahagi ng lupa mula sa 4,201 ektarya ng lupain na nakalaan sa agrikultura. Tinatayang 33% lang nito o 1,300 ha ang nakalaan sa “pamamahagi”. Ang laki ng lupang matatanggap ay batay sa laki ng hawak na shares ng magbubukid. Tinatayang 139 magsasaka pa lamang ang sumuporta dito. Sa kabilang banda, ang pagpili naman ng SDO ay ang pananatili ng dati nang kaayusan sa loob ng Hacienda Luisita: ang “no work, no stock policy,” ang P9.50 neto sa arawang sahod, land-use conversion at iba pang di makatarungang patakaran.

Kalakip ng pagpapapirma sa compromise agreement ay ang pangakong suportang pinansyal na aabot sa P150 milyon. Ayon sa mga magsasaka, nangako ang management na maaari silang makatanggap nang hanggang sa P150,000 kung pipirma sila sa kasunduan. Subalit ayon sa mga ulat, sa unang bahagi ng pamamahagi ng financial assistance package na nagkakahalaga ng P20 milyon, may nakatanggap lamang ng pagitan ng P1 hanggang P500. Ang isang nagtrabaho ng 20 taon sa hacienda ay nakakuha lamang ng P2,000. Sa mga ulat sa media, pinakamalaki nang natangap ang P9,000. Ang laki ng matatanggap na “tulong” ay nakabatay din sa laki ng shares of stock na hawak ng mga magbubukid sa ilalim ng SDO. Ang natitirang P130 milyon ay sinasabing ipapamahagi kapag naaprubahan ng Korte Suprema ang compromise agreement.

Sinu-sino ang mga pumirma sa Compromise Agreement? Nagkaroon ba ng tamang representasyon ang mga magsasaka at manggagawang bukid sa pagpapatibay nito?

Hindi mga tunay na lider at kinatawan ng mga organisasyon ng magbubukid ang pumirma sa kasunduan: Noel Mallari para sa Alyansa ng mga Mangagagawang Bukid ng Hacienda Luisita (AMBALA); Edilfonso Pingol para sa United Luisita Workers Union (ULWU).

Walang otoridad mula sa mga magsasaka at manggagawang bukid ang mga nabanggit upang sila ay irepresenta at makipagkasundo sa Hacienda Luisita management.

Si Mallari, halimbawa, ay hindi kailanman naging tagapangulo ng AMBALA. Siya ay naging pangalawang pangulo noong panahon ni Rene Galang bilang tagapangulo. Tinanggal siya bilang miyembro ng AMBALA dahil sa mga lihim na pakikipag-usap at pakikipagkasundo nya sa Hacienda Luisita management. Muling lumitaw si Mallari matapos ang HLI massacre, bilang presidente ng FARM Luisita. Sa akwtal na petisyon sa Korte Suprema, si Mallari ay kinatawan ng FARM hindi ng AMBALA. Pero lumalabas ngayon na maging ang FARM ay hindi rin sang-ayon sa Compromise Agreement.

Si Felix Nacpil ang kasalukuyang tagapangulo ng AMBALA.

Dating pangalawang pangulo ng ULWU si Pingol, subalit hindi siya binigyan ng basbas ng mga miyembro ng unyon na pumirma sa kasunduan para sa ULWU. Ang tumatayong pangulo sa kasalukuyan ay si Lito Bais. Si Pingol ay matagal nang nakipagsabwatan sa management.

Bakit huwad na kasuduan ang Compromise Agreement?

Mapanlinlang ang compromise agreement na inihain ng HLI management. Naka-disensyo ito para ma-pwersa ang mga magbubukid na piliin ang SDO. Gamit ang mapanlinlang na “financial assitance”, pangako ng empleyo kasama na ang intimidasyon, nakuhang papirmahin ng management ang mayorya ng magbubukid para sa SDO. Iilan lang ang pumili ng pamamahagi ng lupa. Ginamit ng management ang manipulasyon ng kahirapan ng mga magbubukid.

Ang lawak ng lupaing ipapamahagi ay 33% ng lupaing agrikultural, o 1,300 ektarya ng 4,102 ektraya na tinatanman ng tubo. Kakarampot na bahagi lamang ito ng 6,453 ektrarya ng lupa na saklaw ng reporma sa lupa. Kapag pinili ng magsasaka ang lupa, walang katiyakan kung gaano ito kalaki o kung saan ang lokasyon nito.

Ang laki ng lupa na matatanggap ng isang magsasaka ay katumbas ng kanilang hawak na shares of stock. Ang isang magsasakang may limang shares of stock, halimbawa, kung pipiliin ang lupa, ay baka tumanggap lamang ng lupa sa paso.

Nalantad din ang kahungkagan ng tinatawag ng “financial assistance” nang makatanggap ng kakarampot na “tulong” ang karamihan sa mga pumirma sa huwad na kasunduan.

Ang pananatili ng SDO ay nangangahulugan ng pananatili ng mga di makatarungang pagtrato sa mga magsasaka ng Hacienda Luisita.

Ipinapatupad sa ilalim ng SDO ang “No work, no stock!,” na nangangahulugan na ang shares of stock na matatanggap ng isang manggagawang bukid ang naaayon sa bilang ng araw ng kanyang pagtatabaho o ang tinatawag na “man days”. Ang magtatakda ng man days ay ang HLI Management. Sa kasalukuyan, kadalasang tatlong araw lamang kada linggo ang binibigay na trabaho sa karamihan sa mga nasa hacienda. Ang mga manggagawang bukid na umalis o tinanggal sa trabaho ay hindi na makakatanggap pa ng shares of stock. May mga seasonal na manggagawang bukid naman na binigyan ng tig-isang stock para lamang matawag silang stockholder bagama’t walang kwenta ang hawak nilang stock.

Ayon sa mga tala, mahigit piso lamang ang halaga ng bawat isang stock.

Labag din sa batas ang land-use conversion na ginagawa ngayon sa malaking bahagi ng lupain ng Hacienda Luisita. Maging sa ilalim huwad na CARP, ang mga lupa na nasa ilalim ng repormang agraryo ay maaari lamang gamitin para sa agrikultura. Tinatayang daang ektraya ng lupain ng hacienda ang pinaplanong i-convert para sa residential, commercial at industrial na gamit.

Mapanlinlang at mapagsamantala din ang ilan sa mga probisyon ng compromise agreement, kabilang ang waiver sa mga kasong isinampa laban sa HLI management sa paglabag nito sa 1989 SDO. Nakasulat din sa kasunduan na hindi na maaring maghabol o makapagsasampa ng kaso ang mga magsasaka maging sa maaaring paglabag ng HLI management sa kasunduan sa hinaharap.

Hindi na rin maaaring habulin ang mga lupaing napasailalim sa land use conversion, katulad ng 500 ektarya ng lupa ng RCBC na  ibinenta sa halagang P750 milyon subalit hindi nabahagian ang mga magsasaka.

Sa ilalim din ng kasunduan ay may “right of first refusal” o ang karapatang magdesisyon ng HLI management para sa mga magsasaka kaugnay ng mga transaksyon papasukan nito. Kung magdesisyon ang magbubukid na ibenta sa lupa, ang HLI ang unang may karapatan sa pagbili nito. Maaaring humantong ito sa rekonsentrasyon ng lupa sa kamay ng HLI management.

Maliban sa hindi pagiging patas at mapanlinlang ng compromise agreement, gumamit ang HLI ng malawakang militarisasyon para sagkaan ang pagkilos ng mga magbubukid at takutin sila para pumirma.

Ano ang magiging epekto ng compromise agreement sa gaganaping oral arguments sa Agosto 18?

Dinisenyo ang compromise agreement upang sapilitang panigan ng mga magsasaka ang SDO. Sinasamantala nito ang naghihikahos na kalagayan ng mga magsasaka para pangunahan ang magiging desisyon ng Korte Suprema ukol sa ligalidad ng SDO at pigilan ang nararapat na pamamahagi ng lupa sa mga magsasaka.

Noong Disyembre 2006, naglabas ng desisyon ang Presidential Agrarian Reform Council na nagbabasura a SDO ng HLI matapos nitong makita na hindi sumunod sa batas ang Hacienda Luisita management sa pagpapatupad ng CARP at bagkus ay lumabag pa sa maraming probisyon nito, na naging sanhi na labis na paglala ng hirap nang kalagayan ng mga magsasaka.

Sa kabila ng higit dalawang dekadang pagpapatupad ng SDO, hindi pa rin nagagarantiyahan ang tatlong porsyentong bahagi ng magsasaka sa kita sa produksyon (gross sales from the production) kada taon ng hacienda, at ang profit share na katumabas sa 10% ng net profit after tax na mga benepisyo ng mga magsasaka bilang stockholders. Hindi rin binibigay ang mga dibidendo mula sa kita ng Hacienda Luisita Inc., na dapat ibigay sa mga magsasakang may hawak ng stocks.

Suportahan ang magsasaka ng Hacienda Luisita! Ibasura ang Compromise Agreement!

Kung kikilalanin ng Korte Suprema ang kasunduan, mababalewala ang desisyon ng Department of Agrarian Reform at ng Presidential Agrarian Reform Council na sumasang-ayon na ipamahagi ang 6,453 ektaryang lupain ng Hacienda Luisita  sa mga magsasaka. Gagawin din nitong legal ang SDO bilang iskema ng repormang agraryo, sa kabila pagiging maanomalya at hindi makatarungan nito.

Magpapatuloy rin ang mga pagsasamantala na naranasan ng mga magsasaka at manggagawang bukid tulad ng mababang sahod na umaabot lamang sa P9.50 kada araw na siyang naging dahilan ng malawakang protesta noong 2004, na nauwi sa pagkamatay ng pitong tao sa tinaguriang Hacienda Luisita massacre.

Tuluyan na nitong hahadlangan ang adhikain para sa tunay na reporma sa lupa, hindi lamang ng mga magsasaka at manggagawang bukid sa Hacienda Luisita kundi maging sa 11 iba pang lupain na nasasailalim sa SDO sa buong bansa.

Malaking hamon at pagsubok sa bagong gobyernong Aquino ang isyu na ito dahil ang HLI ang simbolo ng kabiguan ng reporma sa lupa sa bansa. Una nang nakalusot nag HLI sa repormang agraryo noong panahon ni Pangulong Corazon Aquino. Nanganganib na makalusot muli ito sa ilalim ng rehimen ni Benigno Simeon Aquino III. Ang kanyang kawalan ng positibong aksyon sa isyu, lalo’t mga kamag-anak nya ang sangkot, ay pumapabor sa mga galaw ng HLI management.

Ang ugat ng sigalot sa Luisita ay ang monopolyo sa lupa ng pamilya Conjuangco-Aquino. Anumang bihis ang gawin ng management, tulad ng SDO, ito pa rin monopolyo sa lupa at pyudal na pagsasamantala.

Suportahan natin ang pakikibaka ng mga magsasaka at manggagawang bukid ng Hacienda Luisita. Ipanawagan natin ang mga sumusunod mula sa Korte Suprema at sa rehimeng Aquino:

Ibasura ang Compromise Agreement!

Ibasura ang Stock Distribution Option!

Ipamahagi sa magsasaka ang lupa ng Hacienda Luisita!

Itigil ang militarisasyon sa Hacienda Luisita!

Hustisya para sa magsasaka ng Hacienda Luisita!

Ipaglaban ang tunay na reporma sa lupa!