About 50 farmer-members of Katipunan ng mga Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan (Federation of Peasant Organizations in Southern Tagalog) protested in front of president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino’s ancestral home at Times Street in Quezon City and went on a “GARB Express” using a siren with carabao sound.  The group is criticizing the recent deception of Cojuangco-Aquinos’ to Hacienda Luisita farmers and called for the distribution of the remaining agricultural lands.  Moreover, they are supporting the passage of House Bill 374 or Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB) filed by Anakpawis Rep. and Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) chair Rafael Mariano.

“We farmers in Southern Tagalog are resolutely calling for the distribution of Hacienda Luisita to its legitimate owners, the farmworkers.  We believe that the future of Luisita is likewise of our region and other parts of the country, where hacienderos and landlords are in control of vast agricultural lands, exploiting Filipino farmers.  We used this siren to signify that genune land reform should not be delayed and immediately implemented in our country,” said Axel Pinpin, KASAMA-TK Secretary-General.

The group said that agricultural lands in Southern Tagalog are primarily controlled by landlord families such as the Yulos, Ayala-Zobel, Lopez, Revilla, Roxas, Puyat and more.  The group initially reported that 40,423 hectares are controlled by only 8 clans mainly from Laguna and Batangas.  In addition, more than 22,700 hectares in Rizal province are being sited for Laiban Dam, reforestation and eco-tourism projects.

“The situation of Hacienda Luisita farmworkers is no different to the farmers of the region.  Only a few controls thousands of hectares who use political power and influence to preserve their selfish interests.  Exactly what Noynoy Aquino is doing for his family and relatives the Cojuangco-Aquinos,” said Pinpin.

“The Aquino administration is obviously continuing the legacy of the Arroyo regime, being anti-peasant and anti-people.  He lied about distributing Hacienda Luisita in 5 years; he dismissed land reform issues at his inaugural and SONA speech.  Aquino is ignoring the centuries-old problem of landlessness of Filipino farmers.  He is brewing an unrest led by the peasants,” he added.

The group said that it is supporting the struggle of Hacienda Luisita farmers and would join the Hacienda Luisita farmers “rampage” on August 24 at the Supreme Court.  They are calling for the junking of the Stock Distribution Option (SDO) and the Cojuangco-Aquino compromise deal.

“Who in the hell would surrender his rights to land for an insulting P1.35? The Cojuangco-Aquino clearly misled the farmworkers into signing the referendum, definitely they did not explain how much they would receive and how it was computed.  The  Cojuangco-Aquinos should be ashamed of themselves for calling P1.35 a financial assistance,” Pinpin said.

The group is condemning the Cojuangco-Aquino deal which led the distribution of ‘financial assistance’ and a farmworker who have 8 shares received only P1.35.

“What the Cojuangco-Aquinos did has no place in a civilized world; it is a blatant trickery to the Hacienda Luisita farmworkers.  We dare Noynoy Aquino to uphold the interest of the farmworkers and not his family and relatives.’  He is the president who should be bound to promote social justice and democracy,” called Pinpin. #

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