“No, we’re not going to.”
These were the words uttered by Fernando Cojuangco, son of Noynoy Aquino’s uncle, Pedro Cojuancgo, and chief operating officer of the holding company that owns Hacienda Luisita and Central Azucarera de Tarlac, when asked by NY Times correspondent Carlos Conde whether they had any intention of giving up their questionable ownership of the land.
The article can be read here:
Noynoy Aquino, standard bearer of the Liberal Party, was quick to cry unfair and said that the statement out of context. However, NY Times stands by their story on Hacienda Luisita and said that it would deliver if Noynoy called for the interview tapes to be released. Aquino had earlier vowed to ensure the distribution of the plantation’s lands to farmer-beneficiaries by June 2014, the expirationof the extended CARP, should he be elected into office.
Does this promise sound familiar?
Well, it better, for his mother, the late president Cory Aquino, once promised the same thing as excerpted from this article:
On January 16, 1986, Aquino delivered her second major speech in Davao and said, “Land-to-the-tiller must become a reality, instead of an empty slogan.” In the same speech, Aquino also said, “You will probably ask me: Will I also apply it to my family’s Hacienda Luisita? My answer is yes.”
Interesting enough, Cory was still not the first to promise to this. Well, not publicly at least. You see, her father, Jose Cojuancgo Sr. had acquired the land on the condition that he would distribute it to the farmers within 10 years.
To acquire a controlling interest in Central Azucarera de Tarlac, Cojuangco had to pay the Spaniards in dollars. He turned to the Manufacturer’s Trust Company in New York for a 10-year, $2.1 million loan. Dollars were tightly regulated in those times. To ease the flow of foreign exchange for Cojuangco’s loan, the Central Bank of the Philippines deposited part of the country’s international reserves with the Manufacturer’s Trust Company in New York.
The Central Bank did this on the condition that Cojuangco would simultaneously purchase the 6,443-hectare Hacienda Luisita, “with a view to distributing this hacienda to small farmers in line with the Administration’s social justice program.” (Central Bank Monetary Board Resolution No. 1240, August 27, 1957).
To finance the purchase of Hacienda Luisita, Cojuangco turned to the GSIS (Government Service Insurance System). His application for a P7 million loan said that 4,000 hectares of the hacienda would be made available to bonafide sugar planters, while the balance 2,453 hectares would be distributed to barrio residents who will pay for them on installment.
The GSIS approved a P5.9 million loan, on the condition that Hacienda Luisita would be “subdivided among the tenants who shall pay the cost thereof under reasonable terms and conditions”. (GSIS Resolution No. 1085, May 7, 1957; GSIS Resolution No. 3202, November 25, 1957)
1967 has long come and gone and the questionable ownership of Hacienda Luisita has already resulted in a massacre back in 2004. Two generations have promised and failed to deliver on the promise of distributing the land.
What makes you think Noynoy will finally break the chain?