MANILA, Philippines - A party-list lawmaker struck a discordant note in the generally positive reaction of his colleagues to the Supreme Court decision to distribute Hacienda Luisita, saying the order did not bode well for the country’s sugar industry.
Representative Teodorico Haresco, whose Kasangga party-list represents small entrepreneurs, said the high court decision to parcel out the vast agricultural estate owned by the family of President Benigno Aquino III, while following the spirit of the CARP (Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program), should be reconsidered,” as he painted a bleak scenario for the sugar industry.
“Sugar is a capital-intensive crop requiring heavy equipment, fertilizers, irrigation, most importantly, the technical know-how and management skills exacted by the current challenges of global price fluctuations and climate change,” Haresco said.
He predicted that “given the Filipinos’ penchant to create associations, the cooperatives (of the farmers) that purport to take over will follow historical patterns of breaking up within five years.”
Meanwhile, Deputy Speaker and Quezon Representative Lorenzo Tanada III hailed the decision of the tribunal.
“It strengthens the backbone of CARPER (CARP with Extension and Reforms) and gives a renewed sense of hope to farmers and farm workers all over the country,” he said.