By Glemmar Bacusmo, KMP media officer in Cebu
Cebu City, Philippines– A cooperative of agrarian reform beneficiaries in Carmen, Cebu today lambasted businessman Michel Lhullier after the road project of the latter encroached their farms destroying crops and plowed plots.
Without their consent, Lhullier’s men stealthily uprooted more than 200 corn stalks and scores of other crops and cut down a 30-year old coconut tree last Thursday, according to Cantipay Farmers’ Association (CAFA) chairperson Erlinda Into.
Into added that the newly constructed road, 5 meters wide, ate up the sizeable chunk of their 2 hectares communal and individual farms, which is part of the 20 hectares landholding placed under government’s agrarian reform program.
“Indeed, not all that glitters is gold. Amidst the façade of charity and community service is the cruel reality of business that put profit first over people and the environment,” Into said
When confronted by the members of CAFA, security personnel and employees of Lhullier’s poultry and flower farm nearby alleged that their boss already bought the land. The farmers bluntly dismissed their claim as ridiculous saying the land could not be sold being part of an agrarian reform area.
To prevent further construction activities, the farmers barricaded the land and replanted it with banana and other crops.
“We have this message to Mr. Lhullier: if you think you can have your way, then you are gravely mistaken. We will militantly defend the land we inherited from our forefathers,” Into ended. ###