KASAMA TK lambasts Nasser, Call for moratorium on land conversion


Southern Tagalog tillers belonging to the Katipunan ng mga Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan (KASAMA TK) lambasted Agrarian Reform Secretary Nasser Pangandaman for snobbing their scheduled dialogue Thursday afternoon.

They vowed that they will not return home until the DAR top man face them.

“Farmers from Tibig in Silang, Cavite, Hacienda Yulo in Canlubang, Laguna, Macabud in Rodriguez, Rizal and Hacienda Fule in Alaminos, Laguna and Sto. Tomas, Batangas were supposed to hold a dialogue with DAR officials (Thursday) but as had previously happened, we were told that Pangandaman would not be able to meet with us,” the group said in Filipino.

At least 50 KASAMA-TK members has been camping out since Monday outside the DAR office. They want Pangandaman to suspend all land conversion orders in compliance with an earlier order from President Arroyo to freeze all such conversions for at least two years until the end of her term.

Kasama TK said Hacienda Yulo (7,100 hectares), Hacienda Zobel in Calatagan, Batangas (12,000 hectares), the 2,400-hectare Macabud, Rizal watershed are being claimed by Bantay Kalikasan and the Lopez family; while Hacienda Fule (97 hectares) and the Locsin property (2,000 hectares) in Puerto Galera are set to be developed by the Zobel-Ayala group.

“The farmers in Hacienda Fule are being driven out because they plan to convert this into an eco-tourism site while the Yulo and Ayala families want to turn Hacienda Yulo into a golf course. The Macabud watershed has been demolished eight times since 2004,” Kasama TK spokesperson Imelda Lacandazo said in Filipino.

“Itigil na ang pagpapalit-gamit ng lupang sakahan, ibalik na sa mga magsasaka. Hindi kami aalis sa DAR hanggang hindi kami hinaharap ng mga opisyal nito,” they stressed.

The group also made a symbolic planting of rice outside the DAR gates, forming a mold that would remind Pangandaman what it is all about: “LUPA.”

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