Press Release
February 10, 2010


Liberal Party standard-bearer Sen. Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III said today the 4,100-hectare Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac will be distributed to the 10,000 farmer-tenants in the sugar plantation within five years.

Aquino said the Cojuangco family is just settling the huge debts incurred by Hacienda Luisita, Inc. so the farmer-tenants will not absorb any of it.

Aquino said his family wanted to make sure that farmer-beneficiaries could use the full potential of the land and not be tied down by the estate's cash problems.

"Ang gusto ng aming pamilya ay huwag mailipat ang burden sa kanila. Ang gusto ng aming pamilya ay makapagsimula sila ng maganda, at hindi sila nag-uumpisa na para bang mission impossible (What my family wants to do is to transfer these lands without burden to the farmers so they can start fresh)," the May 10 elections frontrunner said.

He said his family was not inclined to avail of the voluntary offer to sell option provided by the CARPER (CARP-Extension with Reforms) because "we did not think it would be in the better interest of the 10,000 farmer- beneficiaries."

"At P10 per square meter, that would be P4.1 billion for 4,100 hectares. That will take care of our debts. Wala nang maibabatikos sa aking issue. But if we do that, the 10,000 farmers will only get less than one hectare and that will not be enough for a single individual, much less an entire family to live on," he explained.

He said owners of the corporation running Hacienda Luisita are now consulting with the farmers on the best scheme to use for the land distribution. The land distribution plan must be approved by 75% of the corporation's shareholders, including the farmer-beneficiaries.

Aquino had earlier committed to complete the distribution of over a million hectares of private lands across the country during the five-year extension period of the CARP.

Government has allocated P150 billion for the CARPER (CARP Extension with Reforms) for the purchase of the remaining 1-1.5 million hectares of private land in the next five years.

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