Farmers oppose ‘hacienda’ reclassification ordinance

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014


PORAC -- Farmers in Hacienda Dolores here submitted on Tuesday a petition to invalidate the municipal council-approved reclassification ordinance on the disputed lands in the locality.

Farmer activists from the Aniban ng Nagkakaisang Mamamayan ng Hacienda Dolores (Aniban), a member-organization of Aguman Dareng Capampangan (AMC) and Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luzon (AMGL), relayed that the ordinance has somehow legalized the fencing activities of Ayala Land-affiliated developers, Leonardo-Lachenal-Leonio Holdings (LLL) and its affiliate FL Property Management Corp. (FL), which are attempting to convert the contested areas into a new eco-residential, commercial, tourist and light industrial community called Alvierra in Porac town.

Along with their movements condemning the supposed inaction of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Central against land grabbing and related killings across the region as well as recent participation at the week-long anti-CARP march to Mendiola bridge near Malacañang, the farmer-groups also filed their petition to the council while conducting a protest in front of the Porac municipal hall.

AMGL charman Joseph Canlas said that the "land reclassification ordinance that allowed the land use conversion of farms cultivated by the people of Hacienda Dolores is totally undemocratic and partial to Ayala, LLL and FL, thus, it is being petitioned to be revoked by the affected Porac constituents".

"Hacienda Dolores agrarian dispute that intensified since 2011 has resulted in the death of two farmers namely Arman Padiño and Menelao Barcia, serious injuries, illegal arrests and imprisonment of barangay chairman Antonio Tolentino," he added.

The petition regarded the ordinance as "railroaded" because it is "based on a false claim that the lands were 'grasslands' and 'without tenants' thus, idle and unproductive; that the DAR issued exemption and conversion orders of Ayta ancestral lands which are not under its jurisdiction but of the National Council for Indigenous Peoples (NCIP); that the municipal council discounted that the forefathers of present Hacienda Dolores farmers began cultivating the lands since before 1835 under Spanish colonial period, even under American and Japanese occupation".

In addition, the petition also cited that the fencing operations of the LLL and FL are considerably "restricting the farmers to work on their lands are actually destroying their livelihood, caused their children to discontinue their education, demolition of their houses and reduction of their socio-economic well-being".

Canlas said that the farmer-groups are already "requesting the DAR III office for a dialogue regarding the issued exemption and conversion orders that were based on groundless claims".

"LLL and FL do not have legitimate titles of the land they are presently occupying, hence, they could be held criminally and farmers could legally enter their lands," the group reiterated.

Unable to present solid claim of the lands, Canlas considers the LLL and FL as alleged "land grabbers" and challenges "the municipal council of Porac to fulfill its mandate to its constituents by protecting their democratic rights and interests and not sell out to the rich and powerful such as Ayala Land". (Ferth Vandensteen Manaysay)

Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on July 16, 2014.

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