PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte’s government’s distribution of certificate of land ownership awards (CLOAs) last Aug. 27 in a supposed 31st anniversary celebration of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program is deceptive and hypocritical.

CLOA distribution is not equal to actual ownership as farmer-beneficiaries still need to fully pay for the amortization payable for 30 years at six percent annual interest.

Agricultural lands covered by CARP, even lands with CLOAs already distributed to farmer-beneficiaries, can still be converted and reclassified to other uses resulting to CLOA cancellation.

With Duterte’s order to fast-track land-use conversion and Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Secretary John Castriciones’ issuance of AO 1 streamlining the process of LUC, more farmers, even beneficiaries of CARP, are in danger of displacement.

In Hacienda Luisita alone, 424 hectares of land in Barangay Central has been exempted to CARP after Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas chairperson emeritus Rafael Mariano was rejected by the Commission on Appointments as DAR Secretary. The 112 hectares “distributed” by Duterte to the farmers is just a small parcel of land out of the 6,453-hectare hacienda and 4,915 hectares ordered by the Supreme Court to be distributed on April 2012.

A land reform without the farmers’ actual ownership and control of the land and without the sufficient and appropriate support from the government will not emancipate the farmers from feudal and semi-feudal exploitation.

Kaya nga kahit tatlong dekada na ang CARP tuloy-tuloy pa rin ang panawagan ng mga magsasaka para sa tunay na reporma sa lupa; nagpapatuloy ang kampanyang bungkalan ng mga magsasaka sa iba’t ibang panig ng bansa. Dahil hindi natutugunan ng CARP ang problema sa lupa ng mga magsasaka.

With Duterte’s bogus land reform and his continuing attacks against peasant families and communities, poor peasants are left with no choice but to break free from this oppressive and exploitative system. Farmers together with other marginalized sectors will continue to unite and mobilize to assert their rights and welfare.