Tacloban City – With the meager P9.50 daily income of farm workers in Hacienda Luisita, SDO has proved that it worsens the situation of farmers for 15 years, since 1989 until 2004.
This same situation has pushed the farm workers to struggle for their right to till their own lands with rice and vegetables to solve their poverty and hunger, not sugar cane for the rich Cojuangco-Aquino.
“Seven lives was sacrificed from the Hacienda Luisita Massacre in 2004 but many more lives will be taken if the SDO in Hacienda Luisita will continue because of the farm workers’ grave hunger and poverty,” said Nestor Lebico, SAGUPA-SB’s Secretary-General.
Lebico added that the Cojuangco-Aquino’s statements are not true that the farmers will not survive if they will choose the land instead of the SDO. Since 2004, the farmers have proved that thru their collective effort to plant rice and vegetables, they have more to eat compared to the almost P10 per day wage that they get from working on the sugar canes.
In 1967, ten (10) years after the Cojuangcos bought the land in 1957, they did not follow the agreement with the GSIS and a New York based company that they will distribute the lands to the farmers after 10 years in return for the US$2,128,480.00 loan.
Lebico said that the P150 million that will be distributed to the farm workers is just a small amount compared to the income that Hacienda Luisita has made. In 2005, the market value of the 500 hectare Hacienda Luisita has amounted to P1 billion.
With the current distribution of money to those who chose to sign the SDO because of the “Compromise Agreement”, some has even received P1 only. This is the same tactic that Haciena Luisita is using so that the farm workers will not receive any money if they chose to sign for the SDO.
Lebico furthered that encouraging to choose SDO is a clear gross deception that covers up the real motive of the Cojuangco-Aquino to remain in-control of the 6,435 hectares of land. This has happened during the 1989 referendum through CARP.
“What is happening in Hacienda Luisita is also happening here in our region. The nearest to this is retired Justice Cheng Veloso’s land grabbing from the farmers in the Leyte Sab-a Basin Area. The situation here has the same face: the use of government position, military, CARP loopholes and the toothless DAR to implement a genuine land reform,” Lebico added.
It can be recalled that in December 22, 2005, the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC) revoked the SDO and ordered the distribution of the 4,900 hectares land of Hacienda Luisita to the farm workers which is in contrast to the bogus “Compromise Agreement” of Hacienda Luisita last August 6, 2010 which is in favour of the SDO.