Akbayan Party today congratulates the farmer-beneficiaries of Hacienda Luisita. The decision of the Supreme Court (SC) to order the total distribution of more than 6,000 hectares of Hacienda Luisita unequivocally validates the decades-long struggle of the farmers for agrarian reform. This also serves as an affirmation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program-Extension with Reforms (CARPER) and outright repudiation of the Stock Distribution Option (SDO).
This decision states with finality and in no uncertain terms: distribution is the sole mechanism for implementing agrarian reform. The management of Hacienda Luisita along with other landlord estates must now read the writing on the wall. We call on them to immediately and without any hesitation distribute the land to the HLI farmers. The farmers who have long suffered under poverty and neglect must own the land they till.
This victory could not have been possible without the relentless struggle of the broad peasant movement and different social movements. Their persistent efforts to fight for the distribution of numerous landlord estates, and the passage of CARPER served as the basis for this victory in the Supreme Court.
The brave farmers of Hacienda Luisita together with the millions of Filipino peasants in the country are the true victors in this decision. It does not belong to Chief Justice Renato Corona. We condemn his allegations that the impeachment against him is an act of vendetta for the SC’s decision on Hacienda Luisita. His statements are a flight of fantasy only meant to score political points against the people’s anti-corruption efforts. They also serve to rob the farmers of their victory by ignoring the fact that this decision of the
Supreme Court is a result of the decades-long struggle of the broad peasant movement to realize agrarian reform. In fact, the spirit that has animated the push for agrarian reform is the same that has called for his impeachment. The quest for justice in the farmlands is no different from the quest to exact accountability from public officials.
Lastly, although this victory of the Hacienda Luisita farmer-beneficiaries is an outstanding achievement, there is still much work to be done. As we speak, around 1 million hectares of agricultural lands that has been placed under agrarian reform are yet to be distributed and with only 2 years left before CARPER expires.
We call on President Aquino to speed up the distribution of all the remaining lands beginning with Hacienda Luisita itself. He must use exceptional political will to distribute the remaining lands without any fear or favor. We believe that his administration must act swiftly and boldly while the momentum is on the side of agrarian reform. Landlord groups are now exhausting their resources and are preparing to use every imaginable tactic to frustrate agrarian reform. These are the same groups that have ensured that the country’s peasants remain poor and landless. The Aquino government must side with the interests of the country’s peasants and respond to the underhanded tactics of these landlords with an escalation of land distribution.