Press Release
April 11, 2010

As Roxas' land grab issue awaits SC decision

Campaigning yesterday in Rizal, NP-NPC-LDP vice presidential candidate Loren Legarda joined Montalban farmers, who are beneficiaries of agrarian reform but continue to be landless, in calling for justice and genuine land reform.

The landholding in question covers 1,645 hectares of land situated at Barangay Mascap, Montalban, Rizal. The powerful Araneta-ROXAS family has been trying to get the land converted to residential commercial use to avoid being subjected to agrarian reform, which stand to benefit 100 tenant farmers. The case is now pending at the Supreme Court.

Legarda noted that Roxas has been evasive about the issue.

"Mar Roxas has been showing his lack of concern for farmers in this campaign. His family has tried to evade land reform through legal technicalities. And he himself has no interest in the effects of climate change on agriculture," said Legarda.

Roxas has previously needled Legarda over her advocacy for climate change, suggesting that there were other worthier causes.

"His elitist landed gentry upbringing is showing," Legarda said. "He doesn't care how climate change affects farmers."

The drought caused by El Niño has affected 200,000 families so far in Northern Luzon, despite best efforts the Department of Agriculture and local government units to prepare for the effects of extreme temperature swings.

So far, the drought has destroyed crops in 45 percent of rice fields and 79 percent of corn fields.

The effect of drought, Legarda says, is not only decreased agricultural production but because waters in the reservoirs are inadequate, energy for industries is also limited hence industrial production also suffers. Households therefore experience limited water and electricity. Super typhoons like Ondoy and Pepeng -- which are manifestations of climate change -- have claimed lives, homes, livelihood, properties, aquaculture and crops.

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