Sugar workers join calls to place Negros Island under land reform

December 11, 2018
Jonathan L. Mayuga (BusinessMirror) |

The National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW) on Monday threw its support behind the call to place Negros Island under agrarian reform and to immediately distribute more than 125,000 hectares of land to farmers.

The nongovernment organization joined people’s organization Task Force Mapalad in urging President Duterte to fulfill his promise to place Negros Island under agrarian reform, just like Boracay Island in Malay, Aklan.

According to the NFSW, the 125,000 hectares covered by the Certificates of Land Ownership Awards (CLOAs) from the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) remain in the hands of big landowners.

“If President Duterte is really sincere in fulfilling his promise, his vow to distribute lands should start with [the large tracts of land]  controlled by Danding Conjuangco, Mayor Benito Alonzo, Melvin Ibañez, Salvador Benedicto, the Teves family, and Tim Ballesteros,” the group said in a statement.

The NFSW claimed that these lands have been issued CLOAs by the DAR as early as 1998, but are still not in the hands of agrarian-reform beneficiaries.

The group pressed President Duterte to pass a law mandating “genuine” land reform and rural development.

The NFSW noted that the President’s allies in the House of Representatives just recently passed on second reading the Resolution of Both Houses 15 revising the provisions of the 1987 Philippine Constitution. According to the group, the resolution deleted the provisions on the government’s land reform program.

“In this proposed Charter change of President Duterte, there is no official program for land reform for our farmers and farm workers,” the group said.

“How could President Duterte pledge to distribute lands in Negros when in his proposed Cha-cha, for his federal form of government, the provision of land reform was deleted,” it added.