[Statement] KATARUNGAN-FARM statement on Supreme Court decision in Hacienda Luisita case

KATARUNGAN (Kilusan para sa Repormang Agraryo at Katarungang Panlipunan), an alliance of rural social movements and the Farmworkers Agrarian Reform Movement of Hacienda Luisita (FARM), are deeply disappointed at the Supreme court decision remanding the Luisita case to the DAR for referendum to once again subject the farm workers to choose between the SDO and land redistribution. The SDO was a sham scheme that allowed the Cojuangcos to control the land that should have been distributed to farmers and farmworkers of the hacienda. It brought nothing but joblessness and hunger.

The decision to call for a referendum may yet allow the discredited SDO to be resurrected. There is no real informed choice when the farmers and farmworkers have only experienced owning stocks but not owning the land they have long tilled. For the choice to be real and informed, the farmers and farmworkers of Hacienda Luisita must come to the poll as landowners made to choose between certificates of stock or certificates of land ownership award (CLOAs).

KATARUNGAN and FARM thus call on the Department of Agrarian Reform to (a) first, divest control of Hacienda Luisita from the Cojuangcos by transferring the title of the land title to the Republic of the Philippines and (b) second, issue CLOAs to the farmers and farmworkers and, in coordination with other agencies, provide them with full support services.

Then, and only then, should they be made to choose in a referendum between continuing to work with the Cojuangcos under a corporate set up and their own parcel of land.

A referendum prior to land transfer will pit helpless, powerless and desperate farm workers against the overwhelming might of the Cojuangcos. It will be a repeat of the 1989 referendum and the attempted Compromise initiated by Cojuancgos last year. The Cojuangcos knew that the farm workers were in a desperate situation and will easily take advantage of it. The farm workers  had been waiting for years for a ruling from the Supreme Court and were losing hope. To subject farm workers to another referendum where they are pitted against an overwhelming force will ensure that the farm workers right to own the land will be surrendered forever. ###

5 thoughts on “[Statement] KATARUNGAN-FARM statement on Supreme Court decision in Hacienda Luisita case

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