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You can burn me anytime you want – Kris to Hacienda Luisita farmers


President Benigno Aquinon III's sister, Kris, laughed off a protest by about 100 Hacienda Luisita farmers who burned her in effigy in front of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) compound on Thursday.

“Alam ko na pag sinusunog-sunog ka, humahaba ang buhay mo, kaya okay lang, carry,” Kris said in a Friday report on GMA News TV's “Balita Pilipinas”.

“I'm in a good place right now, so they can burn me anytime they want, go ahead!” she added.

Aquino also joked that she feels like an important person after the effigy burning. “Leveling! [U.S. President Barack] Obama level na 'ko,” she laughingly said.

Kris wonders why the protesters burned her effigy, given that she no longer a board member of the Central Azucarera De Tarlac, the sugar mill company of Hacienda Luisita Inc. (HLI) owned by the Cojuangco clan.

“I was a board member of the Azucarera before, pero I left kasi hindi ko ma-attendan yung mga meeting, so my sister Viel (Aquino-Dee) took over,” Aquino said in an interview aired on “Saksi” Thursday evening.



Two years after the anniversary of the final ruling of the Supreme Court (SC) ordering the distribution of some 5,000 hectares of Hacienda Luisita land to farmers, the protesters claimed on Thursday that the Cojuancos still control the majority of the property, despite a payment already made by DAR to the Cojuanco clan in exchange for the acquisition of the HLI land.

However, Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio Delos Reyes said 8.7 percent of the HLI land had been distributed to 76 percent of the beneficiaries.

“Mula pa 2013 ay ipinamamahagi na natin yung titulo. At ngayon nilalagyan na ng muhon at inoorganisa na natin yung mga magsasaka roon para magtayo ng iba't ibang orgnisasyon para maka-tugon dito sa pangangailangan ng support services,” Delos Reyes said in a “Saksi” interview.

TADECO

Delos Reyes, however, refused to give a timeline on the distribution of some 3,000 hectares of agricultural land owned by Tarlac Development Corp. or TADECO, a subsidiary firm of HLI, as this was not covered by the SC ruling.

In December 2013, the DAR issued a Notice of Coverage on the property, after identifying it as agricultural land.

“Nagpadala ang DAR ng notice of coverage nung Disyembre 2013. Ayon sa ating pananaliksik, ito pala ay lupaing sakahan noong 1988 pa, pero hindi isinama dun sa Hacienda Luisita na pumasok sa SC decision,” he said.

Delos Reyes said the case of the 300-plus hectares is pending before the DAR.

“Hindi natin pwedeng padaliin ang kaso dahil kailangang bigyan ng pagkakataon ang mga magsasaka para sabihin na dapat ito ay ma-cover at yung may-ari ng lupa na sinasabing hindi ito dapat ma-cover,” he said. — Elizabeth Marcelo/DVM, GMA News