A big leap forward, KMP says on Luisita victory
Remain vigilant, frustrate Cojuangco maneuvers, farmers told
The militant peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) today welcomed the Supreme Court decision affirming the distribution of Hacienda Luisita to farmworker beneficiaries.
“The SupremeCourt decision is a big leap forward for the Luisita farmworkers and theFilipino peasantry’s life-and-death struggle for genuine agrarian reform,” says Randall Echanis, KMP deputy secretary general.
“Their (Luisitafarmers) victory will serve as an inspiration to other farmers to continue withthe struggle,” Echanis said.
“But the Hacienda Luisita farmers and farm workers must remain vigilant and frustrate every maneuver of the Cojuangcos to continuously deny them of their hard-won victory,” the KMP leader said.
“Aquino must immediately abide by the high court’s decision to distribute Hacienda Luisita and direct his family to let go of the Hacienda,”says Echanis. “Any resistance and disrespect to the high court’s decision will expose that the President protects his family’s interests.”
The KMP leader also pushed for “the immediate free distribution of Hacienda Luisita to farmworkers” and insisting that “placing the lands under the government’s Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms (CARPER) will be unacceptable to Hacienda Luisita farmworkers.”
“CARPER is only the extension of CARP that is the very same law that subjected the farm workers to feudal slavery,”says Echanis adding: “Farm workers have long paid for the land. The free distribution of Hacienda Luisita to genuine farm workers is legitimate, just, and reasonable.”
“It is very clear under CARPER that landlords were given the right to identify who will be the beneficiaries. The Cojuangco-Aquinos will surely use this anti-peasant law to once again divide the ranks of farmworkers and place their dummies,” he said.
“We expect the President and his family to once again use the bogus CARPER to evade genuine land distribution,” Echanis said noting that “under the guise of ‘just compensation’ provided by CARPER, farm workers still have to pay for the land without any assurance ofownership.”
“The Hacienda Luisita farmworkers’ struggle is far from over. Tuloy ang laban,” the peasant leader said.
Echanis maintained that, “Hacienda Luisita was acquired by the Cojuangcos using government money, defied the conditionality of the loans from Central Bank and the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) that the lands will bedistributed after 10 years, and continued to exploit farm workers up to now. In fact, the Cojuangcos still owe billions of pesos to farm workers.” #