Farmers decry attempts to derail SC order on Luisita

>> Friday, October 7, 2016

By Ding Cervantes

SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga – Farmers have decried reports that the Cojuangco-owned Tarlac Development Corp. (Tadeco) is evading the Supreme Court’s order to pay Hacienda Luisita farm workers P1.33 billion in compensation.
In a statement, the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas said the move is “another deceptive and divisive scheme by the Cojuangcos and a group of pseudo-farmers.”
“The Cojuangcos and Aquinos never stop from engaging in political maneuvers to perpetuate their illegal and immoral stranglehold of Hacienda Luisita,”KMP chairman Joseph Canlas said.
Canlas noted reported attempts by the Cojuangcos to justify non-payment of the P1.33 billion on the basis of the conversion of the 500 hectares from agricultural to industrial land.
“The P1.33 billion is payment to farm workers because the Cojuangcos duped and kept for themselves the billions of pesos from the illegal sale of the 500- hectare land owned by the farm workers. The conversion order is a different issue,” he said. 

Canlas said a group of barangay officials in the hacienda are peddling lies that revoking the 1996 conversion order would have an implication on the P1.33 billion ordered by the SC.
In its decision in 2012, the SC said Luisita farmers are entitled not only to lands, but also payment from the sale of the land. The P1.33 billion covers P500 million received by the Hacienda Luisita Inc. for the sale of 200 hectares to a private firm, P750 million received by HLI’s subsidiary Centennary Holdings Inc. for the sale of the remaining 300 hectares, and P80.5 million for the sale of 80.1 hectares used in the construction of the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway. 

Canlas said Luisita farm workers have a pending petition to revoke the 1996 ruling of the Department of Agrarian Reform approving the conversion of the 500 hectares into industrial lands.     


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