Candidates dared to stand for genuine land reform

THE Amihan National Federation of Peasant Women challenged 2022 elections national candidates to prioritize genuine land reform and food security in their electoral agenda.

The peasant women group issued the statement after scores of farmers and residents of Hacienda Murcia in Barangay San Agustin in Concepcion, Tarlac trooped to the Department of Agrarian Reform central office in Quezon City on Tuesday, February 22, to file a petition for land reform coverage on the 132-hectare agricultural land.

"Genuine agrarian reform is necessary in the attainment of food security. The country's leaders and public servants should realize the significance of free land distribution, provision of support services and subsidies and protection of agricultural lands from land use conversion and reclassification to strengthen our local food production and attain food security and self-reliance," Amihan national chairperson Zenaida Soriano said.

Based on the accounts of Hacienda Murcia Farmers Association, some 400 families were included as original beneficiaries of Hacienda Luisita Inc.

In 2019, the group said the disputed land was allegedly sold to Landfactors Inc., a subsidiary of SM Developent Corporation (SMDC).

Farmers and residents were allegedly told to vacate the land by Cojuangcos' lawyer on October of the same year, according to the group.

On November 2021, the Landfactors Inc. reportedly charged several farmworkers and residents of trespassing and malicious mischief when they asserted their rights to the land and tilled 10 hectares, the Amihan claimed.

The next administration should ensure that the long-standing demand for land, food and justice will be genuinely addressed, Soriano said.

She said despite decades of land reform programs, landlessness persists as past and current administrations have always pushed for infrastructure and development projects which resulted to conversion of vast agricultural lands into other uses and displacement of farming and fishing communities.

Soriano said promises of pro-farmer reforms have only led to the rise of malls, golf courses, subdivisions and other commercial, residential and industrial centers at the benefit of real estate magnates and business conglomerates.

"We urge the Filipino voters especially the youth to choose leaders that have concrete programs on genuine land reform and food security. Each vote will be a step forward not only for our farmers and their families but also for the attainment of rural and economic development," Soriano said.


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