Anakpawis Partylist strongly condemns the illegal arrest of Anakpawis Rep. Fernando Hicap and other peasant leaders and land reform advocates in Hacienda Luisita.
“We demand the immediate release of Rep. Hicap and others who were arrested,” said Anakpawis President Rafael V. Mariano.
Hicap is attending a fact-finding mission in Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac on the ‘lottery land reform’ conducted by the Department of Agrarian (DAR). The mission was initiated by the Unyon ng Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) and Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Asyenda Luisita (AMBALA).
Among those arrested were Danilo Ramos of Anakpawis Partylist, Florida “Pong” Sibayan acting chairperson of AMBALA, Sister Patricia Fox, Ericson Acosta, Kerima Acosta, Rene Blazan, Kala San Juan, Ronald Matthew Gustillo, Luz Versola and many others. They were charged with malicious mischief, illegal assembly, direct assault and trespassing.
At around 11:45 this morning, Hicap and his colleagues just came from a dialogue with the Philippine Army at Barangay Balete when members of Tarlac PNP arrested them. They are now being held at the Tarlac City Police Station under the command of deputy chief Jovy Pagarigan.
Land reform advocates from various sectors are in Hacienda Luisita to investigate the fraud, harassmentand landgrabbing reported by farmworker beneficiaries that highlighted DAR’s distribution of Lot Allocation Certificates (LAC) in all of Hacienda Luisita’s10 villages from July 18 to August 21.
“DAR executed this sham landreform under the heavy presence of police and military and coerced farmworker beneficiaries to sign promissory notes or the Application to Purchase and Farmers’ Undertaking (APFU). All these happened under a climate of impunity and injustice and without real intent to distribute Luisita lands,” said Mariano.
Mariano noted that hundreds of armed police and SWAT elements were deployed during the DAR’s land lottery activities. “DAR Secretary Virgilio delos Reyes said they have concluded the lot allocation process in Hacienda Luisita and “refusal of any identified farmer-beneficiary to sign the APFU, is a ground for the farmer or farmworker to be stricken out of the list of beneficiaries and be replaced by other qualified beneficiaries.”
“Through the ‘showcase’ lot allocation scheme, DAR coerced farmer-beneficiaries to take part in the tambiolo land reform raffle and sign the APFU that manifests willingness of farmer-beneficiaries to pay the amortization and real estate taxes of the landsand desist from committing so-called prohibited acts,” Mariano said.
“The entire land distribution process initiated by DAR in Hacienda Luisita is a sham because it used the bogus CARP as basis. Farmer-beneficiaries and the public will not be deceived. DAR is not implementing land distribution in Luisita as directed by the Supreme Court decision. DAR is conveniently facilitating the reconcentration of lands to the Cojuangco-Aquinos.”
“Everything about DAR’s land distribution process in Hacienda Luisita is fake and anti-farmer,” the former solon added. ###