Farmers hold strike vs firms for ‘harassment’-A A +A
Monday, September 16, 2013
PORAC — Some 100 farmers and members of the Aniban ng Nakakaisang Mamamayan ng Hacienda Dolores (Aniban) staged a lighting protest Monday in front of municipal hall here against alleged harassment being done by security personnel of LLL Holdings and FL Properties and Management Corp.
The farmers, along with their families from Barangay Hacienda Dolores, are protesting said alleged harassment by security personnel of the said companies inside a 700-hectare contested land, reportedly owned by the corporations inside the village.
The leaders of the protesters later met with Mayor Condralito dela Cruz and members of the Municipal Council led by Vice Mayor Dexter David on the issues being raised by the protesters.
Dela Cruz promised to look into the complaints of the protesters and task appropriate government agencies to shed light on the other issues being raised by Aniban in terms of documentation of the contested land.
The four-hour dialogue was held while a whole-day rally was held in front of the municipal hall.
Dela Cruz said he will be discussing with the companies issues raised by the farmers. Councilor Mike Tapang, for his part, said he is much concerned with the issues raised by the farmers and that he will be looking closely at the requests.
David added that the Provincial Board will also be making an official statement and discuss the issues raised in an official session. David also asked for caution and to keep issues within a level headed discussion.
It was reported in 2011 that the unrest started when the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) issued an order exempting the LLL and FL landholdings from the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (Carp) coverage in 2005. Carp, also known as Republic Act Number 6657, aims to distribute lands to farmers they cultivated in a span of 10 years.
Earlier, the farmers protested the exemption of more than 700 hectares of land in Barangay Hacienda Dolores from Carp. In 2011, Aniban said the farmers earlier sent a petition to then DAR Regional Chief Teofilo Inocencio, requesting him to include 700 hectares of land in Barangay Hacienda, Dolores to be covered by Carp. However, the huge agricultural land in Hacienda Dolores was exempted by the DAR regional office after LLL Holdings Incorporated (LLHI) and FL Land Holdings (FLLH) showed titles of the land.
It was reported that LLHI claimed about 298 hectares of the land, while FLLH claimed the other 456 hectares.
Aside from the land titles, landowners also said 80 percent of the land was not yet developed due to its 18-degree slope measure, which according to the law, is automatically exempted from the Carp. Complaints have been filed with the DAR on the issue. But Aniban said that they need to tend to their farms to earn a living.
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on September 17, 2013.