In Quezon town, land reform is incomplete
LUCENA CITY—Agrarian reform beneficiaries in San Francisco town in Quezon province continue to suffer harassment allegedly at the hands of landowners, a peasant leader said on Monday.
Maribel Luzara, president of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Bondoc Peninsula (KMBP), said that since last month, holders of certificate of land ownership award in Hacienda Matias in the villages of Butanglad and Don Juan Vercelos were prevented from bringing their copra out of the estate by workers and guards manning the estate’s gates.
“The copra was produced from the land given to us by the government, but we are being prevented by the landowner from reaping the fruits of our labor,” Luzara said in a phone interview.
She said most agrarian reform beneficiaries were forced to surrender their products to landowners out of fear of being charged criminally.
Luzara said the landowners sold the copra to a trader here and gave the farmers only a third of the price.
She said some of the farmers tried to pass through the gate of the hacienda in Barangay (village) Don Juan Vercelos to sell the copra to the local trader but were stopped by estate workers manning the gate.
“It is the height of injustice to the farmers. The copra belongs to us,” she said. Luzara said most farmers just accepted their fate because of fear.
She urged the Department of Agrarian Reform and other government agencies to speed up the formal installation of the farmers on the lands awarded to them.
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