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KAKAMPI MO ANG BATAS: Senator Miriam and Luisita referendum PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 28 November 2011 14:07

BY Atty. BATAS MAURICIO

LIFE’S INSPIRATIONS: “…Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe…” (Hebrews 12:28, the Holy Bible).
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WHY ARE LUISITA FARMERS REFUSING TO BE GIVEN LANDS? If there are farm workers from Hacienda Luisita who do not favor being given lands, as the ABS CBN TV Patrol reported Friday night, November 25, 2011, the question to ask is: why are these workers refusing to be given lands from the Hacienda? And, how many of
these Hacienda farm workers really do not want to own land?

This is something that both the Supreme Court and the Department of Agrarian Reform must look into and investigate, for it could shed light on what Hacienda Luisita farm workers really feel, and want, and need for themselves—and I am referring to the real Hacienda farm workers who have been there all their lives, and not the noisy men and women who are occasionally transported to Tarlac by vested interest groups.

I did some discreet investigating, and what I gathered shocked me no end. It would seem that the clamor to distribute the lands in the Hacienda is not really intended for the real farm workers, but to benefit a few personalities posing as farmer leaders.
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TALES OF ABUSE VS. FARM WORKERS GIVEN LANDS: I say this because some of the farm workers that I talked to narrated several tales of outright abuse of some of them right after they have been given lands from the Hacienda some years back. One of these tales talks about a member of a land distribution group supposed to be facilitating the giving of lands to the workers.

This individual is known to have taken over 20 hectares of hacienda land from farm workers since the Hacienda stopped operations, and had each hectare leased to interested persons at P10,000 per hectare thereafter. The guy demanded for an advance payment for three years, thereby making him P600,000 richer, all by himself.

Then again, some 600 hectares of Hacienda land located in Dumarais, La Paz, Tarlac got distributed to farm workers in previous years, as a result of the Hacienda’s compliance with agrarian laws. It would appear however that not one of the farm workers originally given the lands still own or till those lands, as one or two smart businessmen managed to buy and consolidate the lands for themselves.
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SEN. MIRIAM & LUISITA REFERENDUM: This is perhaps the reason why, when the farm workers of the Hacienda were required to hold a referendum in 1989 to determine whether they wanted lands given them or they would continue being farm workers under a stock distribution plan, almost all of them, about 96 %, said they did not want to be given lands.

Of course, many are now trying to discredit this referendum but then, it should be remembered that this was conducted under the leadership of Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago who, at that time, was the agrarian reform secretary, with the survey carried out by students and teachers of the University of the Philippines from Diliman, Quezon City.

I hope Santiago and UP can now speak up about this, but then the point is: would a Secretary Miriam, whose political star was just starting to rise at that point, and the UP students and teachers who are known for upholding the truth, agree to rig the referendum in favor of the Cojuangcos?

 
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