MANILA, May 3, 2013—More than 200 farm workers staged a caravan from Hacienda Luisita to Manila on April 24-27 to remind government that the distribution of more than 6,000 hectares of hacienda lots to farmers is long overdue.
Dubbed as “Lakbayan para sa libreng pamamahagi ng lupa sa Hacienda Luisita,” the workers rallied outside the Aquino family residence in Times Street before a formal program was held in Mendiola Bridge on April 27.
United Luisita Workers Union (ULWU) chair Lito Bais said the one year due of the land distribution adds up to the Cojuangco-Aquino control over the lands and every second delay prolongs the seemingly endless exploitation against the farm workers.
Bais also scored the Department of Agrarian Reform for being slow in implementing the Supreme Court’s decision to distribute the land to worker beneficiaries and pay them P1.33 billion from the sale of more than 200 hectares of Hacienda lands.
Rodel Mesa, chair of Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa sa Asyenda Luisita, lamented that three years of the Aquino presidency and one year since the High Court’s order to distribute the land, still they remain landless.
Mesa added after benefiting from the land for more than 50 years, still the Cojuangco-Aquinos have the provocation to demand compensation.
The Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) requires that landlords shall be paid just compensation and farm worker-beneficiaries have to pay amortization for a period of 30 years.
Aside from ULWU, groups like Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA), Alyansa ng mga Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita (Ambala), and the United Luisita Workers Union (ULWU), also joined the caravan and march to Mendiola Bridge. (Jandel Posion)