Implement Land Reform to the fullest

October 4, 2005

The Alliance of Progressive Labor agrees with the decision taken by the Department of Agrarian Reform that the Stock Distribution Option has not proven beneficial to the farm workers of the Hacienda Luisita.

This bogus program was a landlord-inspired insertion that contributed to defeating the spirit behind the crafting of RA 6657. We have always been of the opinion that the serious and thorough implementation of CARP was one of the most frustrating programs of the government in the post-Marcos era.

Clearly, the decision does not mean that the government has changed its heart for the farmers. We remain aware of the political underpinnings of coming up with a decision unfavorable to the Aquinos, at this point. It is obvious that Malacañang made the decision, as a political vengeance against the Cojuancos when Cory Aquino became critical of the Arroyo administration.

If this government is really sincere in upholding the rights of the Hacienda Luisita workers and concerned with their plight, then it should also immediately render justice on the brutal break up of the workers’ picket line by the military in November of last year. Both the Aquinos and the present administration have blood stains on their hands and we continue to demand that justice be served to those who were killed and injured in that fateful incident.

While we support the immediate and massive redistribution of lands under Hacienda Luisita to the farmers tilling them, we are also left to ask: what about the others?

If the DAR under the Arroyo administration can fast-track a decision on the Aquinos, then why can’t it do the same for the thousands of other land-related cases in other plantations elsewhere? Let us not forget that the Arroyos themselves come from a landed family. The APL, together with AKBAYAN, had already called for an investigation into the Arroyo landholdings in Negros where the President’s brother-in-law allegedly peddled his influence to stifle attempts at distributing lands to farmers.

It is grossly hypocritical for GMA to put up a semblance of commitment to social justice when she herself cannot hold herself and her own relatives accountable before the law. Whether the charges are graft, electoral fraud or the lands of her own family, GMA is again merely wielding her politics of vendetta. If she can go after the Aquinos then she can certainly go after anyone else.

Issuing a seemingly pro-farm worker decision on Hacienda Luisita does not take away the dirt that has built up around her administration and the APL vows to continue the fight for justice not only for the workers in Hacienda Luisita, but for the Filipino people as a whole!

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