Thursday, July 08, 2010

PNoy never said he'd distribute Hacienda Luisita in 5 years

In what was described by the Inquirer as "No(y)-holds-barred, newsy media briefing", President Noynoy Aquino was asked whether he would distribute the family owned Hacienda Luisita.
Of the questions, Mr. Aquino was caught off-guard by the final question of whether he would distribute the family-owned sugar estate Hacienda Luisita to farmers in five years.
“I never said five years. You can research all of the tapes of my interviews,” he said when asked how long it would take before his family distributes the land.
“I have divested myself of that. Can I assure you that it will be substantially less than five years?” he said

First, I wonder why the Inquirer had to be "cute" with the title.

Second, this statement about Hacienda Luisita tends to support the view that the Cojuanco owned plantation (although certainly subject to the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program) will not be distributed to farmers.

What Aquino has maintained is that it will be distributed only if it has been cleared of debts and but he has not bared any time frame of when the debts will be cleared or whether NEW debts will be incurred. 
Criticized for his family’s position, Mr. Aquino, 50, the front-runner in the presidential election, announced recently that the family would transfer the land to the farmers after ensuring that debts were paid off.
“It will be theirs clear and free,” Mr. Aquino said in an interview in Manila.
But Mr. Aquino’s cousin, Fernando Cojuangco, the chief operating officer of the holding company that owns the plantation, said that the extended Cojuangco family, owners of this plantation since 1958, had no intention of giving up the land or the sugar business.
“No, we’re not going to,” Mr. Cojuangco, 47, said in an interview here. “I think it would be irresponsible because I feel that continuing what we have here is the way to go. Sugar farming has to be; it’s the kind of business that has to be done plantation-style.”
He dismissed the widely held view that Mrs. Aquino, his aunt, had made land reform a centerpiece of her government.

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