MANILA, Philippines – The militant Anakpawis Party-list called for the cancellation of the 50-megawatt Solar Park project of the PetroGreen Energy Corp. (PGEC), a subsidiary of PetroEnergy Resources Corp. (PERC), in partnership with the Department of Energy (DOE) under a service contract signed last March.
The site of the P3.9 billion and 50-hectare project is part of the 500-hectare highly-disputed tracts of land in Brgys. Balete and Lourdes (Texas) inside Hacienda Luisita that had been approved for conversion by the Dept. of Agrarian Reform (DAR) in 1996, but with a pending petition for its revocation filed by the farm workers under Alyansa ng mga Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita (Ambala). The said area is controlled by the Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC) and the Luisita Industrial Park Co. (LIPCO), firms that are connected to PERC and form part of the Yuchengo Group of Companies (YGC).
“Mariin naming ipanapawagan ang cancellation ng project na yan dahil historically ang lupa ay pag-aari ng mga magsasaka at may pending petition yan sa DAR kung kaya dapat lang na hindi ituloy ang conversion,” (We strongly demand the project’s cancellation as its site is historically owned by the farm workers and it is a subject of a pending petition at DAR, and so it is only just and logical that its conversion should be stopped), Anakpawis Representative Fernando “Ka Pando” Hicap said in a statement.
The militant legislator added that the conversion order must be revoked and land must be distributed to the farmworkers since the Cojuangco-Aquino firm Hacienda Luisita, Inc. (HLI) clearly violated the terms of DAR’s order. The area should have been developed within five years starting in 1996, but the same land remains agricultural in nature up to now almost 20 years after HLI’s request was granted by the DAR. In addition, the HLI has continued to defy the Supreme Court (SC) order that it should remunerate the farm workers with P1.3 billion from the amount it earned from the sale of the said 500-hectare property and the 80-hectare lands used by the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) project.
Hicap was arrested inside Hacienda Luisita in September 2013 for participating in a fact-finding mission investigating the land grabbing measures of the Cojuangco-Aquino family amid the thoughtless, and chaotic “tambiolo” system implemented by the DAR in distributing certificates of land ownership awards (CLOAs) to farm worker beneficiaries (FWBs).
Anakpawis said that the land is rightfully owned by the farm workers who on this same estate carried out a bungkalan (cultivation) campaign from 2005. In 2011, the farm workers set up a farming camp in the area which was however violently demolished in 2013 by armed guards and goons of the RCBC and the Cojuangco-Aquino family. Two years later, the solar park project is being promoted in lign with the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) program of President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino, a member of the powerful landlord and political Cojuangco-Aquino clan.
“Malaking kaso ito ni Aquino bago ang kanyang SONA dahil ito ay napakalalang conflict of interest, gamit ang rekurso ng gubyerno at pondong mula sa mamamayan, para sa pakinabangan ng kanyang pamilya at mga kasosyo niyang mayayaman, habang inaagawan ng lupa at kabuhayan ang mga magsasaka ng Hacienda Luisita,” (This is a clear case of conflict of interest involving Aquino as it appears that he has been using government resources and public funds for the benefit of his clan and corporate partners while Luisita farmers remain landless and without livelihood; this is a gross public offense that must be highlighted especially as Aquino’s last State of the Nation Address draws near), Hicap said.
Anakpawis also condemned the continued fraudulent programs of Aquino that benefit his family such as the P471.5 million compensation for the lands of Hacienda Luisita covered by the CLOA distribution which was sourced from his Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP). ###