President Duterte said the late president should have proven her sincerity in uplifting the plight of the landless by promptly including Hacienda Luisita – a vast sugar estate in Tarlac – in her administration’s land reform program.
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Duterte questions Cory Aquino’s agrarian reform legacy
Edith Regalado (The Philippine Star) - August 4, 2019 - 12:00am

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — President Duterte said there is “incongruity” in the late president Corazon Aquino’s being considered a freedom fighter and her failure to subject her family-owned Hacienda Luisita to land reform.

“She exempted her land. So you call her what, the one who freed, emancipated? It’s an incongruity,” the President said in remarks before some 1,000 agrarian reform beneficiaries at the Almendras Gym here. Congress passed the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law in 1988, or two years after Mrs. Aquino was propelled to the presidency through the EDSA people power revolt.

Duterte said the late president should have proven her sincerity in uplifting the plight of the landless by promptly including Hacienda Luisita – a vast sugar estate in Tarlac – in her administration’s land reform program. Hacienda Luisita, originally a 6,453-hectare sugar plantation, was owned by the Cojuangco clan, to which the late president belonged.

Duterte also downplayed Mrs. Aquino’s popularity, saying it was the death of her husband Sen. Benigno Aquino Jr. “in the hands of Mr. Marcos” that led her to the presidency. “Cory Aquino may be popular, she is popular today. Why? For losing the husband in the hands of Mr. Marcos,” Duterte said.

Instead of land distribution, the management of Hacienda Luisita opted for a stock distribution plan, which was contested by beneficiaries before the Supreme Court. In 2011, the high tribunal ruled that Hacienda Luisita should be distributed among farmer-beneficiaries.

The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) was supposed to complete the distribution to farmer-beneficiaries early this year.

The Chief Executive likewise said that as of June this year, almost five million hectares of land have been distributed to almost three million agrarian reform beneficiaries nationwide. Almost two million hectares of these lands are located in Regions 9 to 13.

A total of 58,387 certificates of land ownership award (CLOA) have also been turned over by the Land Bank of the Philippines to DAR.

“With today’s distribution of titles, we look positively into the future as government endeavors to complete the acquisition and distribution of almost 550,000 hectares of agricultural lands nationwide, 81,000 hectares of which are here in Mindanao,” Duterte said.

In his speech, President Duterte pointed out that effective land reform is the best way to finally put an end to communist insurgency.

“You only have to make them irrelevant,” he said, referring to the communists. “The greatest promise that the communist can give is land reform. I have been at it since I became president three years ago.”  – Christina Mendez

CORAZON AQUINO HACIENDA LUISITA
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