The so-called united stand for peace and prosperity initiated by some barangay captains and just a hundred of their paid followers on July 29 shows the Cojuangco-Aquino-Lorenzo’s desperation to hold on to lands in Hacienda Luisita.
According to UMA acting secretary general John Milton “Butch” Lozande, the Cojuanco-Aquino-Lorenzo’s want to portray that they have the support of the majority of the residents in Hacienda Luisita. And that only outsiders like those from Anakpawis Partylist and Kadamay are meddling in the land disputes between the Alyansa ng Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Luisita (AMBALA) and the Cojuangco-Aquino-Lorenzos.
In particular, these barangay captains led by Rael Gatus of brgy. Mapalacsiao parrot the line of their benefactor landlord comprador clans.
AMBALA members occupied and cultivated the 358 hectare agricultural lands in brgys. Balete and Cutcut, which is rightfully theirs. Because they had been doing these since 2005. They would also want to reclaim 386 hectares of land still held by RCBC and Luisita Land Corporation (LLC) even if these were never converted into other use.
Last year DAR Secretary Rafael “Ka Paeng” Mariano had junked the appeal of Tarlac Development Corporation (TADECO), which used to own the 386 hectares property, to retain ownership of the land.
Ka Paeng also revoked the conversion order on the RCBC and LLC lands because they were never converted into non-agricultural use for more than a decade, which is a violation of the former CARP. RCBC appealed the DAR ruling.
It is also harassing AMBALA members and their advocates by filing trumped up cases against 36 persons including former Bayan Muna Congressman Teddy Casino and Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) newly elected chairperson Danilo “Ka Daning” Ramos.
But AMBALA members with the support from their advocates are resolute in continuing the “bungkalan” areas that they have recently occupied and cultivated.
They would also pursue in asserting their rights not only in said RCBC lands but in hundreds of hectares more being retained by the Central Azucarera de Tarlac (CAT), which the previous DAR administration with a Cojuangco-Aquino President then in power deliberately excluded from land reform.