Proceed with the HLI audit groups told DAR
Farmers belonging to the Alyansa ng mga Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita and its mother federation the Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura today told the Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio Delos Reyes to proceed with the auditing of Hacienda Luisita Inc, books of record.
In a statement UMA Secretary General Rodel Mesa said that “DAR Secretary Delos Reyes must come into his senses. It has been nine months since the historic high court verdict awarding with finality the distribution of Hacienda Luisita to its farm worker beneficiaries; in addition to that the collegial body wantsHLI pay the farm workers P1.33B on their share on the proceeds of sale of the 580 ha parcel of land to private entities without the consent of the farm workers”.
“It doesn’t take a genius or a government official like Mr. Delos Reyes to comprehend what the high court ordered. The secretary was clearly and undoubtedly neglecting his duty to execute the auditing of HLI’s records to determine where it would come up with the P1.33B to pay the farm workers share” added Mesa
UMA and AMBALA already presented its auditing firm of choice to scrutinized HLI books of records, “The Ocampo, Mendoza, Leong, Lim and Co. [OMLL] will start its work anytime”.
The UMA leader questioned the DAR secretary as to why it fail to hire OMLL despite its agency will not spend a centavo to pay for the auditing firms’ service “The P19M that would spend for the auditing will not come from the government, therefore the government procurement act will not took effect. The budget would be shouldered by HLI but they too will not have a hand on choosing the firm because HLI records are the subject of the auditing. The only sole and final arbiter on the issue is the farm workers, the funds involved on the auditing was already awarded to them by the court. It is only just that AMBALA they should to choose the auditing firm to avoid bias and possible maneuvering the Cojuangco-Aquinos”.
As for Anakpawis party list chairperson and first nominee Fernando Hicap “The long delay of the auditing was already a sign that the DAR has no interest of pursuing the interest of the farm workers. “It’s a tell tale sign that DAR with all its confidence that it will proceed with the distribute Luisita by May 2013 is but empty rhetoric to appease critics. If the DAR secretary cannot do away with the auditing process, how can he handle the distribution of Hacienda Luisita which poses a bigger challenge?”
Hicap also blasts the listing process of the DAR which it set to release a final list on February. “Apparently the DAR’s listing process was a scheme to insert questionable beneficiaries. The DAR should heed the AMBALA’s suggestion that it should release and made public the November 21, 1989 Memorandum of Agreement Voters List as the basis for proving legitimate farm worker beneficiaries”.
“The P1.33B will be used as the initial capital of the farm workers for production once Luisita will be awarded to them. It should be sufficient funds even if the DAR is not keen to give support services to the farm worker beneficiaries”. Hicap concluded
For reference: Rodel Mesa, Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura Secretary General, +639493700875