However, recent media reports revealed that quarrying operations in the hacienda are being done without the ECC.
“In the absence of a legal permit to quarry, they may have resorted to a special, but very limited quarry permit issued by the provincial government in the hope of covering their tracks and misleading the people. Tongco may be a dummy for the SCTEP contractors with the full knowledge of HLI,” Joseph Canlas, Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luson (AMGL or the Alliance of Peasants in Central Luzon) chairperson told GLNS.
Disregarding the law
Canlas, who also attended the multi-agency dialogue as part of the ULWU panel, said
the quarry issue in the hacienda again shows how the Cojuangco-Aquino family disregards the law just to keep on benefiting from the land which now legally belongs to the farm workers.
ULWU president Rene Galang said “the MOA [for the quarry operation] is illegal. HLI has no more right to claim ownership over the hacienda after the revocation of the SDO [stock distribution option] in October last year.”
But beyond the legalities [on the quarry issue], Galang said what matters most for the workers is their claim to the land and the continuing attempts to reduce it even after the SDO was revoked.
He said the union is working not only to stop the quarry operation but the road project itself adding that the SCTEP is a part of the design of the Cojuangco family and the government to implement large scale land use conversion in the hacienda.
The P27.5-billion road project that cuts through some 66 has. inside the hacienda started in April last year. It will connect the Subic Bay Freeport and Special Economic Zone in Zambales, Clark Special Economic Zone in Pampanga and the Luisita Industrial Park in Tarlac.
Once built, the 93.7 km.-long expressway is touted to be the most extensive road network in the country covering some 536 has. across the provinces of Tarlac, Zambales, Bataan and Pampanga. It is funded by the Japan Bank for International Cooperation.
In September last year, workers and their families formed themselves into human barricades to prevent bull dozers from clearing the land.
The murders of union leaders Ricardo Ramos and Tirso Cruz have also been linked to their opposition to the SCTEP. GLNS/Posted by (Bulatlat.com)