Farmers from Southern Luzon started local mass struggles leading to the Pambansang Lakbayan ng Magsasaka para sa Lupa at laban sa Pasismo (National Peasant Caravan for Land and Against Fascism) that will take place in major regions and provinces this October. “Duterte, the chief representative of landlords and oligarchs can expect for more peasant struggles to rock his unstable regime,” said Antonio Flores of KMP.
Agrarian reform beneficiaries belonging to the Samahang Magbubukid ng Kapdula (SAMAKA) will expand their land cultivation campaign in the 155-hectares of land in Barangay Bucal, Dasmarinas, Cavite that is part of a Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) controlled by the Enrile family-owned JAKA Investment Corp., South Cavite Land Company Inc. and Sta. Lucia Realty Development Corp. “Crony and Martial Law-architect Juan Ponce Enrile have benefited so much from the government’s bogus land reform program.”
“We are only reclaiming what is ours. Real estate companies have used the JVA provision of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) to displace beneficiaries and actual tillers from the land,” said Belinda Mojica of SAMAKA.
In 2007, the farmers who have tilled the Kapdula lands since 1976, were displaced from their lands by the JVA forged by the said real estate businesses. The parcel of land is part of government-awarded lands granted to ARBs in 1995. In 1996, farmers under SAMAKA were deceived into entering a JVA with Laguna West Multi-Purpose Cooperative and South Cavite Land Inc. but were not furnished copies of pertinent contracts and documents.
On March 26, 1991, the DAR have awarded two Certificate of Land Ownership Awards (CLOAs) covering 155.7-hectares to the 62 agrarian reform beneficiaries.
From 1991 to 1992, a certain Ruben Rodriguez filed a petition to the Court of Appeals to probe the status of agrarian reform beneficiaries with an intention to exclude SAMAKA members.
On August 29, 2000, the DAR denied the petition of Rodriguez for to exclude the SAMAKA members as beneficiaries; as well as, for SAMAKA members to retain on the land.
The productive agricultural lands were illegally converted in July 2003, by then DAR Secretary Roberto Pagdanganan. Since 2007, SAMAKA members were barred from cultivating vegetables and crops by armed security guards, their farms were bulldozed, leading to their displacement. On November 23, 2009, the CLOAs covering 155.7 hectares were registered as land titles under SAMAKA but on September 2, 2015, the ARBs learned that their CLOAs were transferred under the name of South Cavite Land Inc.
On October 25, 2016, SAMAKA filed a petition at DAR to revoke the 2003 conversion order which has consented by a certain Manarin–Bagsic posing as a SAMAKA representative. The land case is pending at DAR.
Unlinking Quezon’s hacienda belt
Meanwhile, in San Andres town in Quezon, more than 300 farmers took part in today’s Balik-Saka activities inside Hacienda Uy, one of the landholdings in Bondoc Peninsula’s hacienda belt. The farmers have started fencing part of the collective cultivation area within the 385-hectare disputed landholding claimed by Dr. Vicente Uy.
The farmers and their families were tilling the lands since the 1950s. The said landholding was exempted from CARP and was classified as cattle ranch due to the pasture lease obtained by landlord. The farmer-tenants of Hacienda Uy have been paying part of their harvest to Dr. Vicente Uy with 70-30 percentage in favor of the landlord.
Since 1995, the farmers demand for the distribution of Hacienda Uy was met with strong landlord resistance. The farmers asserted their right to the land through mass actions in 2014, but Vicente Uy retaliated by harassing and barring them from working on their farms, cultivating crops and raising livestock.
“The inherent flaws of the pro-landlord CARP prevented the coverage of these coconut haciendas from land distribution,” said Eddie Billiones of the Katipunan ng mga Magsasaka sa Timog Katagalugan (KASAMA-TK), KMP’s local chapter in the region. “This prevailing situation must change. We will continue to assert and work for genuine land reform,” the regional KMP leader said.
“With the current DAR leadership under OIC Rosalina Bistoyong and Undersecretary Carlo Bello, slowly working to reverse the pro-farmer reforms initiated by former agrarian reform secretary Rafael ‘Ka Paeng’ Mariano at DAR, farmers are justified in leading campaigns to assert their right to the land. With Ka Paeng out of DAR, it is now business as usual for landlords and oligarchs,” Flores of KMP said. ###