Group: Aquino’s inaction caused abuses against Porac farmers

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Thursday, May 22, 2014


CITY OF SAN FERNANDO – "The inaction of the President Aquino caused abuses against Porac Hacienda Dolores farmers."

The Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luzon (AMGL), Aguman Da Reng Maglalautang Capampangan (AMC), Aniban ng Nagkakaisang Mamamayansa Hacienda Dolores (Aniban), and Anakpawis Party-list stated this during their 10th day of the camp-out in front of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Central Luzon office in this city.

The groups assailed the President for his inaction that resulted to the protraction of resolution of the dispute at the said village.

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Hacienda Dolores is a 2,000-hectare estate located along the access road leading to the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) being developed by Leonardo-Lachenal-Leonio Holdings, Inc. (LLL) and FL Property Management Corp. (FL).

The farmers said that both are connected to Ayala Land, Inc., which is planning to construct a 1,125-hectare residential, commercial, light industrial and tourist estate.

"We hold Aquino's 'noynoying' about the issue for the continuing abuses against Hacienda Dolores farmers. We demand his immediate action to stop the land grabbing of farm lands and order the immediate arrest of those who killed Arman Padiño last January and Menelao Barcia this last May 2," Joseph Canlas said, AMGL chairperson during a press conference held at the camp-out.

The Aniban has filed a petition for a cease and desist order at DAR last year to prevent the alleged land-grabbing in the area and harassment of farmers who are being stopped from entering their farmlands, according to Canlas.

With the delayed and indefinite action from the said agency, LLL and FL encroached more lands and deployed hundreds of guards that attacked farmers who attempted to harvest their crops such as the case of Padiño last January 12, who died the following day, Canlas said.

The farmers said that this is part of the effort to terrorize the farmers.

Canlas disclosed that this was followed by the filing of trumped up charges, arrest and detention Aniban leader and barangay chairman Antonio Tolentino and the killing of a barangay councilor Menelao Barcias last May 2.

“The eventualities in Hacienda Dolores is obviously these corporations’ trying to terrorize the farmers to give up their rights to land and livelihood, so that they could easily implement their plans to rake up
profit from the lands,” Canlas said.

The groups added that since 2011, LLL and FL fenced lands and barred farmers to attend their crops.

In the May 13-dialogue with DAR officials, the groups learned that the case is already pending at the Office of the President, as disclosed by DAR Undersecretary for Legal Affairs Anthony Parungao.

"At last, this agency has broken its silence and spilled the beans that
It's already pending at President Aquino’s office. But obviously, this
'slow-paced' and 'noynoying' government ignored the plight of the Hacienda Dolores farmers," Canlas said.

The AMGL said that Aquino is promoting the project under his Public-Private Partnership (PPP) program.

The group added that LLL and FL acquired the lands using the exemption and conversion orders released by DAR in 2005, basing them from the provisions of the Republic Act 6657 or the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).

The AMGL, AMC and Aniban reiterated their demand that justice be served to the victims and their families, and the farmers' immediate return to their lands.

The groups said that their picket will last until the last week of June, on their scheduled eight-day long march from Angeles city towards Manila to demand the complete expiration of CARP.

"We call on millions of poor farmers in Central Luzon to join us in the Hacienda Dolores struggle and eight-day Lakbayan this June 24 to 30. Don’t wait for the day to come to suffer the same fate, instead, let us educate our class, get organized and mobilize to struggle for our rights to land and livelihood," Canlas said.

Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on May 23, 2014.

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