‘Cojuangcos to be given P1.2-B compensation, prime lands in Luisita’
The Unyon ng Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) slammed the Department of Agrarian Reform’s pronouncements that the Cojuangco-Aquino family will be paid P1.2 billion as compensation for the distribution of land to farmers in Hacienda Luisita.
In a budget hearing at the House of Representatives last August 8, de los Reyes revealed that the Cojuangcos would be paid P304 million as compensation for the 4,335 hectares of land, according to UMA.
Including 12% interest since 1989, this amounts to P1.2 billion, or 28% of DAR’s budget allotted for landowners compensation for 2014.
According to Florida Sibayan, acting chairperson of Ambala (Alyansa ng Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita), the hefty compensation for President Aquino’s landlord clan is equivalent to a scam. “ If this is not a scam then what is?” she said.
The farmers fear that the Cojuangcos would appeal an even higher compensation of P1.2 million per hectare to the DAR Adjudication Board and the Supreme Court. If the Cojuangcos’ appeal would be granted, they would be paid a total of P5.2 billion, excluding interest.
With the current compensation scheme of the DAR, the amortization to be paid by farm worker beneficiaries (FWBs) would increase from P48,938 to P837,411 each, excluding interest and payment of land taxes.
“We would already be hard pressed to pay the smaller sum, what more the almost P1 million,” Sibayan said.
Meanwhile, almost 200 farmers also staged a protest today against the Lot Allocation Certificate (LAC) or land lots raffle to be held by DAR.
According to Ambala, the DAR wants to give farmers in Brgy. Balete LACs in barangays Pando and Mabilog, which is 10 kilometers away from their place.
The DAR reasoned that 500 hectares of the converted lands sold by Hacienda Luisita Inc. (HLI) to Centenary Holdings and Rizal Commercial Bank Corp. are located in Brgy. Balete.
This is contested by the farmers, who say that the disputed land is actually located in Brgy. Ungot.
“The Cojuangco-Aquinos only want to keep [land in Brgy. Balete], because they are prime lands nearest to the main entrance of the Hacienda in Brgy. San Miguel, where many lands have been transformed into other uses,” Sibayan revealed.
Ambala also denounced the militarization of their communities, saying that huge numbers of military and police are deployed before and during the LAC distribution.
“The military conducted last Friday and Saturday night film showings on who their ‘enemies’ are, at the covered court of barangays. Three SWAT vehicles were also seen patrolling the area last Monday morning,” she added.
Short URL: http://pinoyweekly.org/new/?p=25421