Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Hacienda Luisita "deal" pushing peasants to armed revolution-CPP

Hacienda Luisita "deal" pushing peasants to armed revolution-CPP*

CPP Information Bureau
10 August 2010

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) today condemned the so-called compromise deal forged by the management of the Hacienda Luisita Inc. (HLI), calling it "a devious scheme to preserve the decades-old Cojuangco land monopoly in Tarlac and continue subjecting the peasants and farm workers to perpetual semifeudal exploitation and oppression."

"The so-called deal was deviously cooked up and is being vigorously pushed by the Cojuangcos through bribery, coercion and political maneuverings," said the CPP.

"By having one of their own in Malacañang, the Cojuangcos are now brazenly pushing through with all possible arrangements, however odious and malevolent, to protect their vast landholdings and preserve their wealth accumulated through power, theft, malevolence and the exploitation and oppression of their tenants and farm workers."

The CPP accused Benigno Aquino III of pretending to distance himself from the issue. "It is obvious that Aquino has been totally in, minutely following the issue, and strongly pushing for the phoney deal," said the CPP.

"The hypocritical president is now also trying to win over the chief justice, Renato Corona, whom Aquino earlier said he would not recognize for being an illegal midnight appointee of the previous president. He now wants to win his favor and that of the other justices in the SC's forthcoming hearing on appeals of peasant
organizations to junk the spurious Stock Distribution Option (SDO) and immediately distribute the Hacienda Luisita lands," the CPP added.

"The Cojuangco deal is the complete opposite of the long-standing clamor for social justice," averred the CPP.

"By continuing to ignore the demand of the masses of peasants and farm workers to subject Hacienda Luisita and all other monopoly-owned haciendas to land reform, the Aquino regime only succeeds in exposing the plain truth that breaking the feudal and semifeudal system in the Philippines can only be achieved by waging agrarian revolution through armed struggle," added the CPP. "The callous Cojuangco deal will only push more and more peasants and farm workers to join the armed revolution as the only means to achieve their long-standing demand for social justice."

The SDO scheme was contained in an executive order of then president Cory Aquino, issued even before the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) was made into law in 1988. The SDO scheme was introduced by the Cojuangco clan itself to preempt the actual application of land reform to large plantations such as their Hacienda Luisita.

The new Cojuangco "compromise deal" which was made public over the weekened purportedly gives peasants the option to choose between retaining their company stocks under the SDO or receiving a much reduced size of land. The HLI now "offers" for distribution only 1,366 hectares out of the remaining 4,915 hectares of agricultural land in the hacienda.

The CARP requires all agricultural lands to be distributed, with only five hectares to be retained by the landlord, and with the beneficiaries also receiving a share of the income of those lands already converted to other uses. More than 1,500 hectares also originally claimed by the peasants and farm workers had already been
converted for industrial and commercial use during the years the hacienda was covered by CARP.

The Cojuangcos, skirted the law, using the contested SDO provision. They created a shadow corporation in the form of Hacienda Luisita Incorporated to avoid including in the SDO all the land and other assets of the original Central Azucarera de Tarlac, increasingly converted parts of the hacienda for industrial and commercial use, and gave only a nominal 30% share of HLI, purportedly to correspond with
the 'value' of the entire remaining agricultural land.

The CPP said further that, "With further convoluted logic, the Cojuangcos are now only claiming that the peasants and farmworkers' 30% share of HLI stocks is equivalent to only 30% of the agricultural land. The phoney deal would leave each peasant or farm worker opting for land with a only a tenth of a hectare."