Luisita farmers press for land distribution
MANILA, Philippines—Luisita farmers belonging to Alyansa ng mga Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita (Ambala), on Tuesday picketed the Supreme Court and asked for the immediate distribution of the estate to its tillers.
According to Ambala chairman Felix Nakpil Jr., they have already “occupied” seven hectares of hacienda land in Barangay(village) Balite, Tarlac, in preparation for the estate’s eventual distribution.
“Even if the decision of the court (distributing the land) is not yet final, we believe that the land should already be given to farmers since it belongs to us,” Nakpil said in an interview.
He said about half of the 6,296 farmer-beneficiaries of the hacienda had occupied the seven hectares of the sprawling sugarcane plantation.
“We have had no work since 2004 so we occupied it starting last December 10 to plant vegetables,” Nakpil said.
And despite Malacanang’s denials, Nakpil said the farmers believe that the Aquino administration was going after impeach Chief Justice Renato Corona because it wanted to overturn the high court ruling.
“We don’t believe their claim that they are siding with the farmers because if they had done that, the land would have been distributed to us a long time ago,” he said.
“But even if Corona were replaced, we believe that it would be hard to overturn the majority of 14 justices who concurred with the ruling distributing the land. It would be shameful for the Supreme Court if it flip-flopped,” he said.
“If that happens, then we would also lose faith in the Supreme Court,” he said.
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