In his critique to the agreement, Pahilga also pointed out that the so-called financial assistance of P150 million to all farm workers is “also an act of deception and a machination to lure the farm workers to consent with this agreement.” He said the amount is also rather small than that which is supposed to be received by the farm workers.
“Granting for the sake of argument that there are approximately 11,000 farm workers in the hacienda (the HLI said there are 11,995 stockholders) and they have equals number of shares, then from the P150 million, each of the farm workers shall only be entitled to P13,600,” Pahilga said.
Under the agreement, the schedule of the release of the fund assistance shall be dependent on the Supreme Court’s approval of the compromise agreement.
Pahilga also rebuked the provision in the agreement that states: “All monetary and non-monetary benefits, such as homelots and production share, already received by the farmworkers shall remain and shall not be questioned, or refunded as a result of land distribution…”
Pahilga said that the provisions on home lots and the profit sharing scheme could not be considered part or added benefits of the SDO in HLI because these exist independently of the SDO by provision of law, specifically Sections 30 and 32 of the Republic Act 6657 or the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL).
“They are benefits to the farmworkers independently provided by law and not because of the grace of HLI. Whatever scheme is implemented in a given agricultural land, a provision for homelots is specifically provided for the farmers aside from his farm lot. Moreover, since they were previously given to the farm workers, they have already established ownership rights to the homelots. It could not be transferred back to the landowner,” Pahilga said.
“Production share or profit share are given not out of generosity but because the famer labored to make the land productive, for which reason he should rightly be compensated for his labor and share in the profit,” he added.
In fact, in its terminal report on the Hacienda Luisita case dated Sept. 22, 2005, the DAR found out that not all farmers were given such benefits.
The compromise agreement also states further: “Farm workers opting for land distribution hereby waive all their rights or interests on the remaining assets of HLI. They also hereby give HLI or its assigns the right of first refusal, should they decide to lease, sell, transfer, encumber, convey , or enter into joint-venture or any other mode of business relations or transaction that would involve the land given to them, or any rights thereto, or any portion thereof. Should HLI or its assigns fail to match the best offer given to the farmworkers within three hundred sixty (360) days from the receipt of a written notice, then the farmworkers may proceed to deal with third parties.”
Pahiilga said this will lead to the reconcentration and control of the land to the hand of the Cojuangcos.
The compromise agreement states that farm workers will waive and agree to withdraw any and all claims, including those arising from employer-employee relationship, complaints, petitions filed, or to be filed, with the DAR, PARC, administrative, quasi-judicial and/or judicial bodies, or any other matter arising from or incidental to the MOA [memorandum of agreement], or any dispute between HLI and the farmworkers, and hereby release and hold harmless each other from any and all other liabilities or claims, of any form and kind, which one may have against the other and its officers, or which may arise now or in the future between HLI and the farmworkers, or as a result of or incidental to the implementation of the MOA.
“This provision makes the farm workers virtual slaves, as they were and are already regarded as such by the Cojuangcos,” Pahilga said. It strips the farm workers the right to question any criminal, illegal and unjust acts of HLI management, he pointed out.
“It deprives them the right to sue HLI for any violation of the agreement, past and future. They are deprived of the right to have the agreement revoked for violations of law or of the very terms and conditions thereof. They could not also petition for the revocation of the SDO scheme even when it was found and will be found out that it is contrary to law, public order, and public policy,” Pahilga added.
Pahilga further explained that the said provision effectively deprived the DAR and the proper courts the opportunity to intervene and settle the dispute in the implementation of the SDO in the hacienda. “Thus, the provision effectively insulates HLI from scrutiny on the way they implement SDO in the hacienda,” he said.
Meanwhile, those who opt for SDO will continue to continue to be at the mercy of the HLI management, Pahilga said. “The repeat of the strike and the massacre will not be a remote possibility as they will suffer the same problems and woes they have experienced under the SDO.” (Bulatlat.com)