Hacienda Luisita farmers, owners end 21-year land row

There will be a lot of you not aware of why this is such a major story and I will pass you a link relating to the Hacienda Massacre which led to the death of 14 people including women and children and over 200 wounded.

You can read about it here it is something that haunts the Aquino family. But getting back to today’s story :-

The farmers and owners of Hacienda Luisita Inc. (HLI) in Tarlac on Friday ended a 21 year old dispute on completion of a signed compromise deal. It gave the farm workers two options to receive land parcels or retain their HLI stocks. Representatives of HLI and two farming groups , the Alyansa ng mga Manggagawang Bukid ng Hacienda Luisita (AMBALA) and the United Luisita Workers Union (ULWU), signed the agreement around 10 a.m. at the estate’s clubhouse in Tarlac.

The two parties forged the deal to resolve the long disputed land row.“The primordial concern of the parties herein is to uplift the lives of the people living in Hacienda Luisita, and an early resolution of the case, as well as all collateral issues, will definitely augur well to serve this purpose," the document read. I wonder if the president has had his hand on getting this matter resolved? Are things in the Philippines really changing and at such a pace since his presidency started?

The 12,000 farmer-beneficiaries can opt to continue owning the stocks in the corporation based on stock distribution options that was set 21 years ago or to own for free a share of 1,400 hectares in the 6,453 hectare plantation.“The parties shall respect the individual decisions of the farm workers as to whether they would stay with the Stock Distribution contained in the MOA of 1989, or in lieu thereof, proceed with land distribution," the agreement read. Both parties also agreed that farmers who will opt for land distribution will get their parcel of the plantation “for free and clean of any encumbrances" and will surrender their shares to the corporation to the stocks’ original owner, the Tarlac Development Corporation. The agreement also allows the farmer-beneficiaries who will opt for land distribution to keep monetary and non-monetary benefits, such as home lots and production shares, given to them when they agreed with the stock distribution options . Aside from these, the 12,000 farmer-beneficiaries are also entitled to P150 million in “financial assistance" from the HLI in settlement of all claims — P20 million of which will be given upon signing of the agreement as a sign of “good will."

The remaining P130 million will be given to the farmers once the agreement has been forwarded and approved by the Supreme Court. The farm workers also agreed to support all further developments of HLI land in the future even for non-agricultural purposes. They, however, are to be top priority for employment should HLI choose to push through with these developments, based on the agreement. ‘Granted wish’ Former Agrarian Reform Undersecretary Bernie Cruz, who has been privy to the negotiations since the farmers and the management began talks in 2007, said the farmer-beneficiaries “got what they wished for" through the compromise agreement.

It has been said the discussions have been ongoing for the last 3 years “quietly” and to avoid it being used for politics. But to be honest I would wonder about that as on the run up to the elections if it had been resolved before hand it would have boosted NoyNoy’s voters but if it wasn’t it could hinder.. done now what benefit except for the farmers? I think there is more to come from NoyNoy as he has upset a few politicians since his rise and now this it all seems to be the leader the Philippines has been wanting and needing for a long time. Connection wise to the land by the way is that the Aquino’s own it and President Noynoy has shares himself in it.

As long as this agreement gets past the Supreme court it could see the end of the long awaited dispute and enforcement of the agreement would be handled by the Department of Agrarian Reform. An oral agreement is being set for the 18th of August by the Supreme Court to assess the agreement and if the stock distribution options will be retained.