On the other hand, management can continue to hire workers as they please and thereby bloat the number of “stockholders” to their liking, to the prejudice of the original farm workers in the hacienda.
Secondly, the HLI has not given a single cent of dividends to the farm workers cum supposed stockholders.
Whatever “added benefits” the farm workers received from HLI, such as the 3% share from gross production and home lots, are in fact not due from the SDO but from other provisions of the agrarian reform law.
Thirdly, contrary to the provisions of the SDO Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to keep the agricultural lands intact and unfragmented, the HLI management converted 500 hectares for industrial and commercial purposes. It gave the farm worker-stockholders a pittance for their share in the sale of this parcel of land. Subsequently more land was disposed of without benefiting the hacienda workers.
But more than anything else, what is beyond dispute is that the lives of farm workers and their families did not improve; instead, they were pushed deeper into poverty and misery by the one-sided SDO.
The so-called new compromise agreement bears all the hallmarks of HLI management’s manipulation and deception. Apart from questions about whether the HLI had any right to initiate and preside over such an agreement when PARC had already revoked the SDO, there is the nagging question about whether any form of coercion, duress or misrepresentation attended this management-engineered agreement.
In truth, this “agreement” is so patently against the interests of the form workers. It upholds the discredited and rejected SDO. It swindles the farm workers by arbitrarily allotting only one third of the remaining 4,102 hectares of agricultural land for distribution. Furthermore it deprives the farm workers from ever questioning any violations that may have happened in the past or may arise in the future in relation to the 1989 SDO MOA.
President “Cory” Aquino, sadly, presided over the emasculation of agrarian reform and allowed her relatives to take undue advantage of the law’s loopholes to retain their hold over HLI.
President “Noynoy” Aquino, her son, is today burdened by this odious legacy, just as he is challenged to set this historical injustice to right.
His pretense that he has nothing to do with the “agreement” and his obvious lack of interest in using his vast powers to see social justice reign in his family’s hacienda exposes his glaring unconcern for the poor and downtrodden peasantry who make up a majority of the people in this country. (Bulatlat.com)