Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Villar's Love For The Poor

With lands running out, only agriculture lands are left for the taking. But in the Philippines, agricultural lands cannot be converted for other use without the government approval. Lands covered by the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) cannot be converted nor can lands distributed through the CARP cannot be sold by its beneficiaries within a certain period of time. But it seems that Manny Villar's companies seems to be able to go around these prohibitions with impunity.

Faced with these issues, Villar's reply is that everything was done in accordance with the law. From the looks of it, he has very strong connections with every government agency that deals with lands. So even if we check these out, it will all appear to be above board. See how the DPWH and even the BIR covered Villar's rear with regards to the C-5 controversy? What may appear legal at first glance may have very sinister and criminal roots.

Let's take the case of his Iloilo development which was recently unearthed. Because irrigation canals were rendered inoperable, farmer-beneficiaries of CARP were forced to sell their lands to Villar. Without irrigation, these lands would no longer be considered agricultural lands and can therefore be converted. In collusion with the DAR, Villar was able to convert these lands into subdivisions. And just like his C-5 and Daang-hari, Villar also allocated portion of his pork for the construction of an access road for his subdivision.

The case of the San Nicolas beneficiaries in Cavite are somewhat similar. The lands under the Asset privatization trust handled by the Home Insurance Guarantee Corporation. The farmers group (FIDASGRO) contested the ownership of the land. Villar's executives helped the farmers win the case. What was first considered as a blessing by the farmers, took a bad turn. Villar then forced the farmers to sell their properties. All in all, 63 farmers lost their lands to Villar. Villar bought the lots for a mere P150/sq.m. This property is located on the other side of the Zapote River. This is the reason why Villar is planning to construct a bridge through BF Resort. It is to connect and give an access point to his San Nicolas property. I'm sure he'll be allocating a part of his pork for this project.

Villar claims to come from the ranks of the poor yet continue to inflict injury and insult to the little folks. Another case is the plight of the displaced residents of Paradise Park. Families there survived by planting vegetables. The land was sequestered by the PCGG from a former mayor of Muntinlupa. Villar's Crown Asia evicted the residents which forced them to resettle to a nearby 2-hectare area after their leader, Ka Felix while resisting the eviction. Fenced off by Crown Asia, the 100 families had no way out of their small enclave. It was only through the kindness of a neighboring subdivision that they were able to have access to an exit point.

A self-made billionaire, Villar sure knows where he came from. His love for the poor is as sincere as his greed for amassing wealth. Thses are the very same people whom he promises to lift out of the gutters of despair. With his numerous acquisitions, how many of these are drenched in injustice? Is this the man who promises a home for every Filipino? I'm sure if he gave away his P543 ads spending to the poor, he wouldn't need to undertake a campaign for his presidential bid. It is now clear, he will recoup his expenses should he win. Would you like the Philippines to become one big subdivision? What would it take to for Villar to have his fill? I don't think he'll ever be content until he literally owns the country.