MANILA — The family of Philippine President Benigno Aquino will abide by a court ruling to have their massive ancestral sugar plantation given to thousands of farmers, a spokesman said Friday.
The 4,300-hectare Hacienda Luisita plantation, owned by the Cojuangco clan that includes the president, will be divided among almost 6,300 farmers as the court ordered, said plantation lawyer Antonio Ligon.
“The Cojuangco family guarantees its full cooperation in the expeditious completion of this process,” Ligon told AFP.
His comments came after the Supreme Court on Wednesday affirmed its ruling that the area be redistributed in line with a land reform law passed in 1988 by Aquino’s mother, the late president Corazon Cojuangco Aquino.
Hacienda Luisita, one of the country’s largest corporate farms, spreads across several towns in the central plains north of Manila and has come to symbolize the failure of the first Aquino president’s land reform program.
The Cojuangco clan has been accused of trying to avoid giving up their land by converting parts of it to non-agricultural uses and giving its workers shares of a company controlling the farm instead.
However Ligon said the Cojuangcos had not been averse to land distribution and argued that the lengthy legal dispute had only been over the compensation they would receive for their land.
A Supreme Court spokesman earlier said the court had ruled that the family be compensated at a lower price of about 40,000 pesos ($950) per hectare, striking down the family’s calls for about one million pesos per hectare.— AFP