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Slave-like conditions of sacadas in Hacienda Luisita alarming – DAR

news reg 1 pix 1 march 20 2017The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) is continuing to assist migratory sugar workers or sacadas escaping Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac.  Early this month, 19 sacadas who were recruited by a contracting agency hired by the Central Azucarera de Tarlac (CAT) from as far as Sultan Kudarat, Davao City and South Cotabato provinces has approached DAR and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) national offices to seek assistance for their plight at Hacienda Luisita.

“This alarming situation of sacadas in vast sugar plantations in Hacienda Luisita and other Luzon provinces needs to be decisively addressed. While the DAR is vigorously correcting the social injustices endured by Luisita farmers and farmworkers brought about by decades of landlessness, the Cojuangco-Aquinos continue to recruit sacadas and impose upon them unfair labor practices and unacceptable working conditions. Worse, labor contractor Greehand Labor Cooperative, affiliated with the Cojuangco-Aquinos are recruiting poor farmers and national minorities from Mindanao to work in sugarcane fields in Tarlac and Pampanga, making them even more vulnerable to abuses,” said DAR Secretary Rafael ‘Ka Paeng’ Mariano.

The illegal recruitment and grim plight of sacadas in Hacienda Luisita was brought to national attention early this year when more than 40 sacadas, from Bukidnon recruited by Greenhand Labor Contractor, managed to escape Hacienda Luisita due to inhumane labor conditions. Since January, sacadas who escape Hacienda Luisita proceeded to DAR to seek temporary shelter while availing of the balik-probinsya assistance from the Department of Social Welfare and Development.


Pastor Bernie Caha said the ‘Tarlac employment package’ on which the sacadas were recruited was proven deceitful. They were promised a daily wage of P450 with benefits, including free meals and provisions on board and lodging, and travel to and from Hacienda Luisita. Their families also received cash advance payments. The exact opposite happened as soon as the sacadas set foot on Hacienda Luisita.”

The sacadas personally narrated to Mariano the plight they endured in Hacienda Luisita. They said they were paid much less than what was promised to them by Greenhand Labor Cooperative and Agrikulto Inc. They were housed in cramped barracks and were not provided with food and water. They worked for long hours cutting and hauling sugarcane. It took them three days to finish cutting and hauling a truckload of sugarcane. It’s appalling. The labor conditions that the sacadas endured, we only knew existed in slave camps during wartime. But the sacadas are working in Hacienda Luisita and nearby plantations, at present day,” the DAR secretary said.

The sacadas who escaped Hacienda Luisita said GreenHand Labor Cooperative recruited almost a thousand sacadas from Mindanao, many of whom are unable to read or write. Many were paid even less than P9.50 per day as official payslips obtained state that some received only P43.75 each week or a mere P6.25 a day. The lowest recorded pay for an 11-man team was P38.26 per week or P5.47 per day.

“Those recruited and lured to work in Hacienda Luisita are landless farmworkers. This condition amplifies the need for a genuine agrarian reform to address the landlessness problem perpetuated by the previous Aquino administration,” the DAR secretary said.

Mariano supports the resolution filed in Congress to conduct probe on the sacada issue.
 
#DAR4Farmers #Land4Farmers #PartnerForChange

DAR validates 6,212 ARBs in HLI

news reg 3 pix 1 march 6 2017TARLAC CITY (March 6, 2017)—Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Undersecretary Marcos Risonar together with other DAR officials and employees in Tarlac led the kick off of a three week-ARB (agrarian reform beneficiaries) validation in Hacienda Luisita.

The ARB validation, which is pilot-tested in Barangay Balete in Hacienda Luisita, is the department’s nationwide information-gathering to know the current status of the farmer-beneficiaries under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).

Barangay Balete, which has 57.42 hectares with 87 famer-beneficiaries, is one in 10 barangays of the awarded 4,099.92 hectare-Hacienda Luisita.
 
Risonar said the validation to be conducted in Hacienda Luisita would determine if farmers are in their respective lands and are actually tilling it themselves.news reg 3 pix 2 march 6 2017

“There are reports that farmer-beneficiaries lease, rent or sell their lands. If the informations are true, we could come up with corrective measure to protect the welfare of the farmers,” Risonar said. 

“We will ask the ARBs about their current situations. From there, we will compile all their answers to establish conclusion that will address their immediate concerns in their communities,” Risonar said.

The ARB validation, which started today March 7 up to March 24, will gather information from 6,212 farmer-beneficiaries of Hacienda Luisita.

#DAR4Farmers #Land4Farmers #PartnerForChange

Hacienda Luisita farmers confer with Mariano and his officials

news reg 1 pix 1 feb. 15 2017TARLAC CITY (Feb. 15, 2017)—Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Secretary Rafael Mariano directed the department’s field operations office to conduct validation of farmer-beneficiaries and the [DAR] regional office to give farmers free legal advice and to take the necessary steps in resolving problems in agrarian matters.

Mariano promised to look into all of their concerns on agrarian matters. “The doors of the department are open for you. We will hear your problems on land and farming and provide support services to increase tour productivity,” Mariano said.

In a dialogue conducted by the DAR conducted yesterday, more than 200 farmers in Barangay Balete aired their issues and concerns to the Secretary and his officials on agrarian land problems and to ask for support services in tilling their awarded lands.

Undersecretary for field operations Marcos Risonar Jr. said they will start conducting the validation process of the beneficiaries of Hacienda Luisita this March.

“The validation process is our initial step towards resolving the various issues confronting the 10 barangays of Luisita and its beneficiaries. This process would also determine the lands for distribution and the number of potential beneficiaries,” said Risonar.

Risonar said the validation process involves interviews with farmer-beneficiaries and potential beneficiaries. “Upon interviewing, the farmers should present their proof of identity and proof of relationship with the Hacienda Luisita Inc. and the ARB-cooperatives,” Risonar said.news reg 1 pix 2 feb. 15 2017

“However, we would like to stress that the interview is just part of the gathering of information stage. The qualification of the agrarian reform beneficiaries is a long process but we will do our best to speed things up,” said Risonar.

The farmers, who are mostly sugarcane farmers and farmworkers, also asked for fertilizers, farm machines, access to loan, irrigation, farm trainings, modern farm technology, farm tractors, medical support, seeds, and livelihood projects.

Undersecretary for support services Rosalina Bistoyong assured the farmers that the department has lined up projects and programs to help them in their farming needs.

She said under the Agrarian Reform Community Connectivity and Economic Support (ARCCESS), 10 farm tractors would be given to them to ensure the productivity of their lands.

“Before the month of March ends, 10 farm tractors will be turned over to your agrarian cooperatives. It is important that you are a member of agrarian reform beneficiary organization (ARBOs) to be able to use the tractors,” Bistoyong said. 

“You can also avail of credit assistance through the agrarian production credit program (APCP) of the DAR with the Land Bank,” said Bistoyong.

news reg 1 pix 3 feb. 15 2017She said under the APCP, ARB household members, particularly those who have recently acquired their landholdings through the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms (CARPER) will be provided with loans for crop production.  These loans will be coursed through ARB organizations and farmer organizations (other than ARBOs) that shall act as credit conduits for their respective members.

Bistoyong encouraged the farmers to be a member of farmers’ organizations. She stressed the importance of organizing themselves into ARBOs for faster flow of support services.

“The DAR would be able to help more of you if you are organized into bona fide farmers’ cooperatives. Through your cooperative, projects and programs of the Department like access to credit and livelihood programs will be available for you,” Bistoyong said.

Mariano and his officials was in Tarlac to distribute certificates of land ownership awards to 111 farmers of Hacienda Luisita. (pinky roque)

Photo 1:  Secretary Rafael Mariano

Photo 2:  Undersecretary for field operations Marcos Risonar Jr.

Photo 3:  Undersecretary for support services Rosalina Bistoyong

#DAR4Farmers #Land4Farmers #PartnerForChange








Region III News

news reg 1 pix 1 march 20 2017
March 20, 2017 93

Slave-like conditions of sacadas in Hacienda Luisita…

The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) is continuing to assist migratory sugar workers or sacadas escaping Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac. Early this month, 19 sacadas who were recruited by a contracting agency hired by the Central Azucarera de Tarlac (CAT) from… Read More..
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Mar 10, 2017 40

DAR validates 6,212 Agrarian Reform beneficiaries in…

TARLAC CITY March 8 —Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Undersecretary Marcos Risonar together with other DAR officials and employees in Tarlac led the kick-off of a three week-ARB (agrarian reform beneficiaries) validation in Hacienda Luisita. Read More..
news reg 3 pix 1 march 6 2017
Mar 06, 2017 39

DAR validates 6,212 ARBs in HLI

TARLAC CITY (March 6, 2017)—Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Undersecretary Marcos Risonar together with other DAR officials and employees in Tarlac led the kick off of a three week-ARB (agrarian reform beneficiaries) validation in Hacienda Luisita.The ARB… Read More..
news reg 1 pix 1 feb. 15 2017
Feb 15, 2017 77

Hacienda Luisita farmers confer with Mariano and his…

TARLAC CITY (Feb. 15, 2017)—Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Secretary Rafael Mariano directed the department’s field operations office to conduct validation of farmer-beneficiaries and the [DAR] regional office to give farmers free legal advice and to… Read More..