Land occupation in Luisita will assert farmers’ control over the land

April 24, 2017

#OccupyLuisita supported by broad sectors

By KMP

Tarlac City – Luisita farmworkers and agrarian reform beneficiaries will take back what is rightfully and legally theirs – portions of lands fenced by the Hacienda Luisita and the RCBC in Barangay Balete inside the disputed sugar estate.

The militant action of farmworkers, supported by broad sectors, marks the fifth year of the final and executory Supreme Court order that revoked the Stock Distribution Option (SDO) in Luisita and mandated the distribution of the 6,453 hectares sugar estate. Hacienda Luisita was among the haciendas and big landholdings exempted from actual land distribution under the bogus and pro-landlord Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) of Corazon Cojuangco-Aquino.

The farmworkers will assert and attempt to break the one-kilometer fortified barrier put up by the RCBC and launch a ‘’bungkalan” or collective cultivation as an assertion of their historic, moral and legal claim to the lands. “We are taking back what is ours. We are taking back control of the lands that the Cojuangco-Aquinos have illegally usurped for more than half a century,” said Renato Mendoza, secretary general of the Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Asyenda Luisita.

The militant assertion is part of the series of actions of farmworkers and land reform advocates to challenge the continued resistance of the Cojuangco-Aquinos against actual land distribution in Hacienda Luisita. The RCBC, as ordered by the family of former president Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino, have posted a big signage outside the property dismiss ing the DAR order cancelling the illegal land use conversion of a portion of the Luisita lands.

“Assertion of our right to the land is the way to proceed with actual land distribution and farmers’ installation on the farm lands,” said KMP chairperson Joseph Canlas.

On March 24, 2016, the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) issued an administrative order partially revoking the conversion of 384 hectares of land that was illegally converted and sold by the Luisita Land Corporation to the RCBC in 2004, a few days after the heinous Hacienda Luisita Massacre that killed seven farmworkers.

“Despite having an agrarian reform secretary from the peasant sector and the government’s firmed-up position supporting free land distribution in the peace negotiations, landlords like the Cojuangco-Aquinos and Lorenzos would do everything in their power and influence to block genuine land reform.

Farmers can only rely on our collective strength and the support of progressive sectors advocating genuine agrarian reform, rural and national industrialization,” said Canlas.

Break up haciendas

The #OccupyLuisita activity is part of a series of land occupation and land cultivation activities nationwide in the escalating agrarian struggles asserting genuine land reform. #OccupyLuisita is supported by militant organizations led by Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, Unyon ng Manggagawa sa Agrikultura and Bagong Alyansang Makabayan. ###