LP bet to Noynoy: Give up hacienda
LUCENA CITY, Philippines—A CANDIDATE RUNNING FOR senator under the Liberal Party asked the party’s standard-bearer, Sen. Benigno Aquino III, to give up his family’s ownership of Hacienda Luisita and distribute the estate to farmers.
Rep. Risa Hontiveros, of the Akbayan party-list group, said she remained unequivocal on her stand that Hacienda Luisita, the more than 7,000-hectare estate owned by Aquino’s family in Tarlac and Pampanga, should be distributed to farmers.
“I believe that the issue in Hacienda Luisita is one big, important and valid agrarian issue,” said Hontiveros.
“I already told the lawyers of Hacienda Luisita in one congressional hearing that SDO (stock distribution option) is no longer allowed (by a new law that extended the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program with reforms),” Hontiveros said at a press conference here Tuesday.
She said Aquino has been holding a series of dialogues with the Cojuangco clan, his maternal relatives, to find ways how to resolve the issues hounding Hacienda Luisita.
“I and all others, who fought for the passage of Carper (CARP with reforms), will follow it (Hacienda Luisita issue) up with Senator Noynoy to finally close the issue behind Hacienda Luisita,” she said.
She added that “Senator Noynoy is on record here that if he becomes president, he will implement Carper. We will continue to engage Senator Noynoy on this issue and I have full belief in him.”
When asked what kind of closure she expects, Hontiveros replied: “Land distribution to actual tillers is the right closure because it is one prime agricultural land.”
Hontiveros said the decisive point in the history of Hacienda Luisita will be for the next President to fully implement Carper.
The SDO was a clause in the 1988 Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) initiated by the late President Corazon Cojuangco-Aquino that allowed landowners to give farmers shares of stock in a corporation, instead of actually subdividing the land and distributing these to farmers.
On Monday, two militant groups supporting farm workers in Hacienda Luisita challenged Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile to reopen the investigation of the SDO scheme.
Delfin T. Mallari Jr., Inquirer Southern Luzon