Correspondence Hacienda Roxas: Proof of CARP's rottenness

This article is available in Pilipino

Ferdinand Marcos Jr insists farmers are benefiting from the bogus Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) under his regime. In recent months, he has been going around the country to conduct ceremonies of distributing Certificates of Land Ownership Awards (CLOA). These are hollow spectacles because the truth is the country’s farmlands remain in the hands of a few landlords.

The case of the 7,000-hectare Hacienda Roxas in Nasugbu, Batangas proves this. It is divided into three parcels: Hacienda Palico, Hacienda Banilad, and Hacienda Kaylaway, which cover different barrios.

In the 1980s, a mass struggle led by workers in Central Azucarera de Don Pedro workers, farm workers, and land tenants within the hacienda erupted in Hacienda Roxas. They formed the Damayan ng mga Manggagawang Bukid sa Asyenda Roxas-National Federation of Sugar Workers (DAMBA-NFSW) and Katipunan ng mga Magbubukid sa Hacienda Roxas Inc. (KAMAHARI) to lead the fight for fair wages, humane working conditions and other rights.

When the Filipino people overthrew the Marcos Sr dictatorship and replaced it with the Aquino I regime, 2,941 hectares of the hacienda were placed under the CARP. When certification were granted to farmers in 1988, the collusion between the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Roxas and Company Inc (RCI), and opportunist former DAMBA-NFSW leader Roy Mahinay and his wife Atty. Nenita Mahinay, took advantage of CARP’s many loopholes to prevent land distribution.

The Mahinay couple treacherously sold-out the peasants’ fight and sided with the landlord RCI. After several decades of promises, the DAR issued a Consolidated Order in December 2023 stating the supposed withdrawal of RCI and farmers from all previous petitions. Accordingly, the matter of land ownership was left to the court. In fact, the farmers did not agree to this and the only person who schemed was Attorney Mahinay based on the landlord RCI’s dictates.

At the DAR’s behest, the false “50-50 win-win solution” recommended by the Supreme Court based on the request of the RCI will be followed. Previous “mother CLOAs” will be canceled and thousands of farmers will be required to resubmit papers before being issued individual CLOAs.

With one stroke, the landlords’ single stroke, said CLOAs will be immediately revoked and the land will be immediately seized from the farmers. In fact, no land distribution has occurred during CARP’s 36-year existence in the hacienda. Farmers were left with nothing but a piece of paper and not the full ownership of the land they till.

Hacienda Roxas: Proof of CARP's rottenness