struggle of peasants for land and justice
Posted: Auigust 11, 2010
Bonifacio's call for revolt against feudal exploitation had been prepared
by a long series of peasant struggles covering hundreds of years before
him. Only after having waged a long series of sporadic and uncoordinated
rebellions did the Filipino peasant realize that it took a well-organized
and a conscious nation of peasants working as a single massive force to
successfully attack feudal power and achieve the formation of a
nation-state. Note clearly in the revolutionary poem of Bonifacio that the
denunciation of feudal exploitation goes with his call for armed struggle
against the colonial power.
--- Jose Maria
Sison, from: Land Reform and National Democracy
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WINNIE MONSOD ON HACIENDA LUISITA - STOCKS OR LUPA? FARMERS
IN THE LOSING END
The Cojuangco compromise
by Carol P. Araullo
The so-called compromise agreement announced by the management of the
Cojuangco-owned Hacienda Luisita Inc. (HLI) comes ahead of an upcoming
decision of the Supreme Court on the legality of the Presidential Agrarian
Reform Council (PARC) decision to revoke the 16-year-old stock
distribution option (SDO). The SDO took the place of outright distribution
of land to the hacienda farm workers as mandated by the 1988 Comprehensive
Agrarian Reform Law (CARL).
A close study of the agreement reveals that it does not address any of the
grounds cited by the PARC as to why the SDO is illegal and grossly
inimical to the interests of the farm workers. Worse it allows the
continuation of the SDO under even more onerous terms, lays the ground for
continuing agrarian unrest at the hacienda and provides ample fuel to the
raging agrarian-based armed conflict nationwide.
Land reform at Hacienda Luisita was subverted twice during the
administration of Pres. Corazon Cojuangco-Aquino, herself part-owner of
A 1985 Manila RTC decision ordering the Cojuangcos to turn over control of
the hacienda lands to the Ministry of Agrarian Reform for distribution was
pending at the Court of Appeals. In 1988, the Aquino government filed a
motion to dismiss the civil case against the Cojuangcos on the ground that
Hacienda Luisita would be covered by agrarian reform anyway. The case was
In 1988, the agrarian reform law legislated under the Aquino watch
included the SDO scheme that permitted the distribution of shares of stock
in a corporation dominated by landowners instead of actual land
distribution to farm workers.
In Hacienda Luisita, a referendum was held in 1989 wherein farm workers
were said to have overwhelmingly voted for the SDO. Land reform was thus
effectively circumvented and the Cojuangcos hold on the estate
In 2003, leadership over the two major unions in the hacienda passed on to
the hands of officials who were not beholden to the hacienda owners.
Petitions were filed at the DAR to revoke the SDO because it grossly
failed to improve the lot of the supposed agrarian reform beneficiaries
and in fact, actually worsened it.
In 2004, the joint massive strike by the hacienda farm workers and the
sugar mill workers took place due to the illegal dismissal of 327 farm
workers and a deadlock in the CBA between management and sugar mill
workers union. The violent dispersal of the strikers by soldiers, police
and hacienda security guards caused the death of seven strikers and
injuries to many others.
Prior and subsequent extrajudicial killings of church people, local
government officials and other supporters of the struggling hacienda and
azucarera workers upped the ante by way of human rights violations related
to the hacienda dispute.
National and international condemnation of the massacre and other human
rights violations together with government’s failure to end the oppressive
feudal system holding sway at Hacienda Luisita pushed the Arroyo
government to respond to the farmers’ demand to end the SDO.
DAR undertook a factual investigation and a legal study of the HLI SDO
that resulted in the 2005 PARC resolution revoking it and placing the
hacienda under the compulsory coverage of CARP. However in 2006, the HLI
was able to get a temporary restraining order from the Supreme Court that
kept the DAR and PARC from terminating the SDO.
Even on the basis of DAR and PARC findings alone,
the legal and moral grounds for annulling the SDO are more than
First of all, shares of stock were not distributed
outright to the more than 5000 beneficiaries as provided by law but were
programmed to be parceled out over 30 years on the basis of “man days” or
the number of hours a worker works in a year at the hacienda, something
that was entirely under the discretion and control of management.
If the farm worker had no "man days " for one reason or another, he could
not earn or be issued a share of stocks.
A farm worker who is separated, terminated or dismissed earlier for any
reason will no longer receive any shares of stocks and ceases to be a
On the other hand, management can continue to hire workers as they please
and thereby bloat the number of “stockholders” to their liking, to the
prejudice of the original farm workers in the hacienda.
Secondly, the HLI has not given a single cent of dividends to the farm
workers cum supposed stockholders.
Whatever “added benefits” the farm workers received from HLI, such as the
3% share from gross production and home lots, are in fact not due from the
SDO but from other provisions of the agrarian reform law.
Thirdly, contrary to the provisions of the SDO Memorandum of Agreement
(MOA) to keep the agricultural lands intact and unfragmented, the HLI
management converted 500 hectares for industrial and commercial purposes.
It gave the farm worker-stockholders a pittance for their share in the
sale of this parcel of land. Subsequently more land was disposed of
without benefitting the hacienda workers.
But more than anything else, what is beyond dispute is that the lives of
farm workers and their families did not improve; instead, they were pushed
deeper into poverty and misery by the one-sided SDO.
The so-called new compromise agreement bears all the hallmarks of HLI
management’s manipulation and deception. Apart from questions about
whether the HLI had any right to initiate and preside over such an
agreement when PARC had already revoked the SDO, there is the nagging
question about whether any form of coercion, duress or misrepresentation
attended this management-engineered agreement.
In truth, this “agreement” is so patently against the interests of the
form workers. It upholds the discredited and rejected SDO. It swindles the
farm workers by arbitrarily allotting only one third of the remaining
4,102 hectares of agricultural land for distribution. Furthermore it
deprives the farm workers from ever questioning any violations that may
have happened in the past or may arise in the future in relation to the
1989 SDO MOA.
President “Cory” Aquino, sadly, presided over the emasculation of agrarian
reform and allowed her relatives to take undue advantage of the law’s
loopholes to retain their hold over HLI.
President “Noynoy” Aquino, her son, is today burdened by this odious
legacy, just as he is challenged to set this historical injustice to
His pretense that he has nothing to do with the “agreement” and his
obvious lack of interest in using his vast powers to see social justice
reign in his family’s hacienda exposes his glaring unconcern for the poor
and downtrodden peasantry who make up a majority of the people in this
August 12, 2010
LAND REFORM AND NATIONAL DEMOCRACY
(Speech by Jose Maria Sison delivered in Pilipino before the first
Central Luzon Regional Conference of Kabataang Makabayan, at Republic
Central Colleges, Angeles City, on October 31, 1965; and in English at the
College of Agriculture, University of the Philippines, Los Ba¤os, Laguna
on March 23, 1966.)
The Colonial Question and the Agrarian Question
AT THE PRESENT STAGE of our national history, the single immediate purpose
to which our people are committed is the acievement of national democracy.
On this single purpose, all are agreed, irrespective of social class,
unless one belongs to a class aggrandized by the perpetuation of
semi-colonial and semi- feudal conditions in our society. Unless one is a
landlord or a comprador, one aspires to have his nation free from colonial
and imperialist exploitation. Every patriotic Filipino wishes to liquidate
imperialism and feudalism simultaneously in order to achieve national
The relation between national democracy and land reform is very clear. We
can achieve genuine land reform only if we, as a nation, are free from
colonial and imperialist domination. In fighting for national democracy
against U.S. imperialism and feudalism today, we need to unite the
peasantry - the most numerous class in our society - on the side of all
other patriotic classes and we need to unite with the peasantry, as the
main force or backbone of our national unity and anti-imperialist
The peasantry will join the anti-imperialist movement only if it is
convinced that the movement can bring about a state capable of carrying
out land reform. In his long struggle for social justice, the Filipino
peasant has learned that there must first be a decisive change in the
character of the state, brought about largely and fundamentally by the
worker-peasant alliance. He has learned the lesson a long time ago that
before democratic reforms can be completely effected the national state
must be secured from imperialist control and must be firmed up by the
overwhelming support of the peasantry and the working class, whose
alliance is far more reliable and more qualitatively powerful than that
peasant-ilustrado combination which became frustrated by U.S. imperialism
at the start of this century.
If we study closely the early development of the national- democractic
movement, we can see its profound basis in the agrarian situation in the
Philippines during the Spanish colonial era. The demand for political
freedom became a valid demand to the masses only when they realized that a
national state, their own popular sovereignty, could protect them against
the exploitative colonial power which could only benefit the colonizers
and their local agents. The Philippine revolution of 1896 took full form
only after the peasantry became mobilized into a powerful national
liberation movement against colonialism and serfdom. The peasantry
provided the mass support for the Philippine revolutionary government and
fought the most intense patriotic war against colonial authority,
especially in those areas where the contradiction between the peasant and
the landlord was most intense. Colonial domination meant feudalism. It had
to be overthrown by the armed might of the peasantry.
If we study assiduously the writings and experience of the old national
democratic heroes, we cannot help but find the insistent line that the
lack of political freedom of a nation is based upon economic exploitation
and control by an alien power. In the case of the Filipino people, during
the Spanish era, the theocratic unity of church and state and the lack of
national and individual freedom were based upon the feudal economic order
and upon the mutual landlordism of lay and ecclesiastical authorities.
In Dr. Jose Rizal's El Filibusterismo, you will note how the story of
Cabesang Tales cries out for a nation-state capable of protecting its own
citizens against foreign exploiters. The story of Cabesang Tales is no
different from the lives of our peasant brothers today. He is a victim of
excessive land rent, usury, servitude, extortion, insecurity from both
lawless elements and legal authorities, ignorance of laws made by
landlords for their own benefit, and even of his own industry which only
attracts more exploitation from the exploiters. His daughter, Huli, is
sacrificed to the unjust circumstances that afflict her father's goodwill
as she falls prey to the pious hypocrisies of usurious do gooders and the
local curate who would even violate her virginal virtues as she seeks his
fatherly assistance. On the other hand, while her family suffers all these
difficulties, her brother is conscripted into the colonial army - in the
same way that our youth today are conscripted into the
U.S. controlled military machinery - to fight peasants that are in revolt
in other islands and in neighboring countries. As the unkindest cut of all
to her family, Tano her brother - now called Carolino after his share of
fighting for Spanish colonialism against the rebellions natives in the
Carolines - would find himself in his own country to hunt down a so-called
bandit called Matanglawin, his own father who has turned into a peasant
rebel leading multitudes of those who had been dispossessed of their land.
In an ironic situation where the peasant conscripts must fight their own
peasant brothers upon the orders of a foreign power, when the mercenaries
must face mountains and mountains of guerrillas, Carolino shoots down his
own grandfather, the docile and overpatient old peasant who has always
advised Cabesang Tales, his aggrieved son, never to respond to the
provocations of the powerful. Old as he is, representing several
generations of peasant oppression and patience, he has finally become a
peasant fighter after the brutal death of his dear granddaughter only to
be shot down in an objective act of colonial reaction by his own unwitting
grandson. It is too late when Tano or Carolino realizes it is his own
grandfather he has shot, unwittingly betraying his own family and his own
class. Such is the ironic situation into which many of our peasant
brothers are drawn when they enlist in the military, follow the orders of
U.S. trained officers, use U.S. arms, be guided by U.S.
intelligence, ideology and advice, and allow themselves to be used against
their own peasant brothers in other towns or provinces in our own country,
or in foreign countries where they are used by U.S. imperialism to fight
peasants who are fighting for their national freedom, as in many countries
of Southeast Asia today.
The story of the peasant rebel, Matanglawin, has its basis in the life of
Dr. Jose Rizal. As a young man and as a leader of his people, he showed
courage in exposing the exploitative practices of the friar landlords and
drew up a petition seeking redress which was signed by the tenants,
leaseholders and leading citizens of Calamba. What followed the petition
came to be known as the Calamba Affair. Governor General Weyler surrounded
the town of Calamba, burned the homes of the people, confiscated their
animals and exiled the Filipino townleaders. The colonial logic of the
Calamba Affair was pursued to the end, to the death and martyrdom of Rizal
and to the outbreak of the Philippine revolution. The dialectics of
history led to the polarization between the Filipino peasantry and the
Spanish colonial authorities. What made Rizal unforgivable to the Spanish
colonial authorities was his having exposed feudal exploitation to its
Andres Bonifacio, the city worker feeling spontaneously the fraternal
links between his nascent class and the long- standing class of the
peasantry, expressed in fiery revolutionary language the peasant protest
against feudalism in his poem Katapusang Hibik ng Pilipinas:
Ang lupa at bahay na tinatahanan, Bukid at tubigang kalawak-lawakan, Sa
paring kastila'y binubuwisan... Ikaw nga, Inang pabaya't sukaban Kami'y di
na iyo saan man humanggan. Ihanda mo, Ina, ang paglilibingan Sa mawawakwak
na maraming bangkay.
Bonifacio's call for revolt against feudal exploitation had been prepared
by a long series of peasant struggles covering hundreds of years before
him. Only after having waged a long series of sporadic and uncoordinated
rebellions did the Filipino peasant realize that it took a well-organized
and a conscious nation of peasants working as a single massive force to
successfully attack feudal power and achieve the formation of a
nation-state. Note clearly in the revolutionary poem of Bonifacio that the
denunciation of feudal exploitation goes with his call for armed struggle
against the colonial power.
Apolinario Mabini, in his Ordenanzas de la Revolucion, a collection of
directives for the successful conduct of the revolution, expressed in
clear terms the abolition of feudalism as a national objective:
Rule 21. All usurpations of properties made by the Spanish government and
the religious corporations will not be recognized by the revolution, this
being a movement representing the aspirations of the Filipino people, true
owners of the above properties.
The Philippine revolution of 1896 could have been the instrument of the
peasant masses for redeeming the lands taken away from them by their
feudal exploiters through more than 300 years of colonial rule.
U.S. Imperialism: Enemy of the Filipino Peasantry
When U.S. military intervention and aggression came in 1898 to mislead and
subsequently crush the Philippine revolution in the Filipino-American war
of 1899-1902, the main revolutionary objectives of establishing a free
nation-state and of achieving land reform was crushed. In order to succeed
in its reactionary venture, U.S. imperialism snuffed out the lives of more
than 250 thousand combatant and non- combatant peasants. They did to our
people, largely to our peasant masses, what they are now directly doing
again to the people of Vietnam with the same purpose of frustrating a
revolutionary nation and its collective desire for democratic reforms,
particularly land reform.
In order to stabilize its imperialist rule in the Philippines, the U.S.
government sought the collaboration of the old ruling class in the
previous colonial regime. It returned to the friars and their lay
collaborators their landed estates which had been confiscated from them,
and offered to the landlord class as a whole the privilege of sharing the
spoils of a new colonial administration and of participating in a new
pattern of commercial relations, that is, one between a capitalist
metropolis and a colony. The new dispensation of U.S. imperialism required
the Philippines to be a producer of raw materials for U.S. capitalist
industries and a purchaser of surplus U.S. manufactures.
As a result of the continuous struggle of the peasant masses against U.S.
imperialism even after 1902, when all the Filipino landlord and ilustrado
elements had already accepted U.S. sovereignty and were already
collaborating with the new colonial masters, the U.S. colonial
administration went through the motion of buying friar estates for the
purpose of dividing and redistributing them to tenants. However, no change
in the agrarian situation could really be effected. The tenants were in no
position to pay the high land prices, the high interest rates and the
onerous taxes. The complicated land title system confounded them and
allowed more smart government officials and private individuals to grab
lands. The lack of governmental measures of assistance brought about the
wholesale loss of holdings of tenants who did acquire them. Huge tracts of
land became alienated into the hands of U.S. corporations and individual
carpetbaggers incontravention of laws introduced by the U.S. regime
itself. Filipino landlords and renegades of the Philippine revolution were
given more lands as a reward for their collaboration and were allowed to
gobble up small landholding both legally and illegally.
U.S. imperialism had planned that large haciendas would still remain in
the hands of the landlords in order that sugar, copra, hem, tobacco and
other raw agricultural products would be immediately exchanged in bulk
with U.S. surplus manufactures through the agency of what we now call the
compradors. Today, if you wish to have a clear idea of compradors, observe
the comprador-landlords, under the leadership of Alfredo Montelibano in
the Camber of Agriculture and Natural Resources, who are benefitted by the
neocolonial trade between the Philippines and the United States and who
are now maneuvering the perpetuation of parity rights and preferential
According to the MacMillan-Rivera report, nineteen per cent of the farms
in the Philippines were operated by tenants or share-croppers at the
beginning of the U.S. colonial regime. By 1918, after the supposed
division and redistribution of the friar estates and after a large
increase in total farms through the opening of public lands, tenancy had
risen to 22 per cent. In the 1930's, as the peasantry became more
dispossessed and poorer, tenancy further rose to 36 per cent. The
pretended grant of independence by the United States, far from reversing
the trend of peasant pauperization, increased it and exposed the emptiness
of such a bogus grant. By the late 1950's the tenancy rate rose to 40 per
According to figures issued by the reactionary government, tenancy in the
Philippines embraced eight million out of 27 million Filipinos in 1963. In
Central Luzon, 65.87 per cent of all farms were tenant operated, and in
the province of Pampanga it was 88 per cent - the highest rate for all
provinces in the country. This did not yet include an equal number of the
wholly landless agricultural workers who subsisted under onerous contract
labor conditions on sugar haciendas, coconut plantations and elsewhere.
The displaced tenants and the irregular, seasonal agricultural workers -
the sacadas - are also a part of the hapless poor peasantry.
Political Unity of the Peasantry and the Working Class
Within a decade after the ruthless suppression of the last guerrilla
remnants of the First Philippine Republic, the worsened conditions of the
peasantry in our barrios gave rise to spontaneous revolts and also
produced peasant mass protest organizations. These unified in 1922 in the
Confedaracion de Apareceros y Obreros Agricolas de Filipinas, which was
broadened and renamed two years later as Kalipunang Pambansa ng mga
Magbubukid sa Pilipinas (KPMP). The KPMP not only demanded agrarian
reforms but also called for national independence in the same way the
Katipunan of Bonifacio did. In 1930, the leaders of this peasant
organization consequently united with the Katipunan ng mga Anak Pawis ng
Pilipinas for the purpose of creating a worker-peasant political alliance
under the leadership of the Communist Party of the Philippines.
The establishment of the Communist Party of the Philippines marked a
qualitative change in the status and thinking of the working class and a
strategic portion of the peasantry. It made these two classes more capable
of conducting their own class struggle and the national struggle. They
challenged the liberal democratic pretensions of U.S. imperialism and its
So long as U.S. imperialism held the reins of power in the Philippines,
however, the Filipino peasantry could not raise themselves from their
exploited condition. The more they manifested strength and progressive
consciousness, the more they became subjected to military and police
suppression unleashed by the U.S. imperialist regime. And yet, in that
period, the peasant mass organizations were led into reformist activities
exclusively and seemingly directed at the landlords and the trade union
movement directed its main blow at the bourgeoisie "in general". It is
true that the working class party was aware of the popular outcry for
national independence, but it failed to develop the corresponding national
democratic strategy. It failed to deliver powerful blows at U.S.
imperialism to expose it thoroughly and mass the forces of the nation
against it. Instead, it was the puppet politicians and even the
Sakdalistas who seemed to have perceived more clearly the main
the main demand and they tried to pursue the same objective of sabotaging
the national democratic movement into two disparate ways. The puppet
politicians took the way of begging for independence from U.S.
imperialism. The Sakdalistas took the way of anarchism.
U.S. imperialism, together with its landlord-comprador cohorts, was
certain of its main enemy. A few months after the formal alliance of the
KPMP and the KAP, the Communist Party of the Philippines was immediately
outlawed; thus, it was deprived of its democratic rights.
The outlawing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, nevertheless,
could not conceal the reality of peasant oppression during the direct
colonial rule of the United States. In 1931, a local peasant revolt
occurred in Tayug, Pangasinan. A bigger armed uprising of armed peasants
occurred in 1936 in the towns of Cabuyao and Sta. Rosa, Laguna led by the
Sakdal. These peasant revolts were continuing manifestations of the
unbearable exploitation of the peasantry and were at the same time the
critical effects of the U.S. capitalist depression in the 1930's.
The bitterest agrarian unrest in the 1930's occurred in Pampanga where the
Socialist Party and its peasant union, Aguman ding Maldang Talapagobra,
militantly fought the landlords and stood their ground against the
civilian guards and the Philippine Constabulary. The Socialist Party led
the peasants and agricultural workers in the open until anti-communist
repression was eased as a result of the Popular Front tactics and the
Communist Party of the Philippines allowed to surface to add its force to
the worldwide anti-fascist struggle. The "social justice" program of
President Quezon was articulated only as a concession to the vigorous
demand of the peasantry for agrarian reform.
When World War II broke out, the dislodgement of U.S. imperialism from the
Philippines and the emergence of anti- Japanese resistance became the
condition for the success of the peasant movement in Central Luzon and
Southern Luzon to effect land reform among themselves on the land
abandoned by the landlords. Throughout the country, landlord power was
generally weakened as its normal lines of control were broken by the
conditions of war.
The Japanese imperialists were resisted by armed peasant masses. Where
resistance was most successful, the peasant masses were able to use the
land abandoned by the landlords to their social advantage. The resistance
against Japanese imperialism served as a means for the peasants to assert
their power over the land. The armed struggle gave them the power to
eliminate the control and influence of the landlords over their land. Many
landlords decided to collaborate with the Japanese imperialists. This
occasion should have been an opportunity for the entire peasantry to learn
that landlordism seeks protection in the bigger power of imperialism,
whether American or Japanese. It was indeed, unfortunate that while they
were warding off the excesses and brutality of the newly-come
imperialists, they became distracted from the similar nature of U.S.
imperialism whose radio broadcasts were blatantly announcing its desire to
re-take the Philippines and whose motley agents were already
scattered throughout the archipelago to keep USAFFE guerrillas waiting for
MacArthur. The anti- fascist struggle could have been converted into a
struggle against imperialism, both Japanese and American. The cadres of
the peasant movement could have exposed the inter- imperialist aspect of
the U.S.-Japanese war and alerted the peasantry to the return of U.S.
imperialism. They could have spread out throughout the country and
developed a reliable anti-imperialist guerrilla movement independent of
the U.S. directed and U.S. controlled USAFFE. At any rate, through
constant struggles against Japanese fascism and its landlord
collaborators, the peasantry built up and supported a powerful national
liberation army which delivered the most effective blows against the
Japanese imperial army in the strategic areas of Central Luzon and
Southern Luzon. These areas are strategic because they envelop Manila.
The Return of U.S. Imperialism and Landlordism
When the U.S. imperialists returned in 1945, they immediately attempted to
re-install the landlords in all parts of the archipelago, particularly in
Central Luzon and Southern Luzon, where they went to the extent of
arresting, imprisoning, coercing and liquidating the peasant leaders and
their comrades. They trusted the landlords, including those who
collaborated with the fascist invaders, as their true allies and they were
extremely distrustful of peasant guerrillas who were independent of the
U.S. controlled USAFFE. Not only the Hukbalahap became the object of U.S.
discrimination and abuse after the war but also the independent guerrilla
units, of which the exemplary unit of Tomas Confesor in the Visayas was
typical. Post-war benefits and backpay went in bulk to prop up the
recognized hero- puppets of U.S. imperialism.
Depending on the intelligence provided by the USAFFE, the
Counter-Intelligence Corps and the landlords, the U.S. imperialists gave
instructions to the Military Police and the Civilian Guards to attack the
peasant masses and apprehend their leaders who had valiantly resisted the
An entire squadron of anti-Japanese peasant fighters which accompanied the
so-called U.S. liberators from Central Luzon to Manila was disarmed in
Manila, driven off on their bare feet and massacred in Bulacan by the
Military Police under secret imperialist orders. Peasant leaders were
thrown into the same prisons where pro-Japanese puppets were kept. No less
than the national chairman of the Pambansang Kaisahan ng Magbubukid was
murdered while he was under the protective custody of the Military police
and while he was campaigning for "democratic peace" in the countryside.
Eight members of Congress who ran under the Democratic Alliance and who
were elected by the overwhelming votes of the organized and
class-conscious peasantry were forcibly removed from Congress. all these
provocations, which preceded the outbreak of full-scale guerrilla warfare
were conducted by U.S. imperialism to clear the way for the complete
return of imperialist-landlord control of the Philippines. All
these provocations led ultimately to the suspension of the writ of habeas
corpus and the unwarranted murder and imprisonment of peasants and their
leaders and the anti-democratic crackdown on the Communist Party of the
Philippines and such mass organizations as the Pambansang kaisahan ng mga
After the expulsion of the peasant-supported Democratic Alliance members
of the Congress in an all-out abuse of democracy, the Bell Trade Act and
the Parity Amendment were ratified, formalizing the re-establishment of
the imperialist-landlord pattern of trade, free-trade so-called, and the
parity rights for U.S. citizens and corporations in the exploitation of
our natural resources and the operation of public utilities.
U.S. imperialism, by unilateral choice, retained its military bases at
twenty-three strategic points all over the archipelago, maintained the
privilege of expanding them and of moving its troops from there, and
employed them to exercise coercive influence on the peasantry and the
entire Filipino people. Subsequently, the U.S.-R.P. Military Assistance
Pact formally sanctioned the subordination of our military to U.S.
military officers in the JUSMAG and to the entire system of U.S. military
bases, supplies, planning and advice. In our civil service, U.S. advisers
continued to control and direct the most strategic offices. In short, U.S.
imperialism retained strategic control over the coercive paraphernalia of
the Philippine puppet state and over the economic foundation and civil
appurtenances of daily political life.
As the landlords and the imperialists cooperated to their mutual advantage
in attacking the peasant masses, the latter were compelled to fight back
in order to defend their national and democratic rights. There result of
the peasant struggle between the years 1946 to 1952 you already know, it
is recent history and there are no better sources of information on this
struggle than the veteran peasant guerrilla fighters themselves.
At the height of its world power, U.S. imperialism massed its forces
against the organized peasantry in order to paralyze the backbone of the
Filipino nation and make its anti-national and anti-democratic
impositions. In order to suppress the organized and class-conscious
peasantry, the puppet agencies of U.S. imperialism recruited its troops
from the peasantry only to use them against their own brothers in other
barrios and towns. Thus, the story of Cabesang Tales and his son Tano or
Carolino, was again repeated in the ceaseless struggle of the peasantry.
The leadership of the revolutionary mass movement had emerged from the war
politically unprepared to expose and fight the return of U.S. imperialism,
which was the only power which could under the circumstances effectively
help the landlords to retrieve their lands from the patriotic peasants of
Central Luzon and Southern Luzon. Instead of exposing and fighting the
reactionary alliance between the landlords and the newly-returned U.S.
imperialists who masterminded and gave full arms support to the Military
Police and the civilian guards, the peasant movement accused the landlords
only as pro-Japanese collaborators and failed to direct immediately the
main blow against U.S. imperialism. The leadership of the revolutionary
mass movement did not expose promptly the fact that the landlords who had
been pro-Japanese collaborators became pro-U.S. collaborators. The delay
in the exposure of U.S. imperialism, since before the war, as the leading
enemy of the Filipino people and the
peasantry gave both the U.S. imperialists and the landlords the time to
consolidate their positions.
The reactionary triumph of U.S. imperialism and feudalism has prolonged
the suffering and exploitation of the peasant masses. Our peasant masses
continue to suffer from the unfair distribution of land and the
exploitative relations between tenant and landlord, unfair sharing of the
crop, usury, landlord-controlled rural banks and cooperatives,
profiteering middlemen, lack of price support, lack or high cost of
fertilizers, irrigation and agricultural machines, inadequacy of extension
work and scientific information and the deplorable conditions of the
peasant in health, housing, nourishment and education. All of these
difficulties and misfortunes are those of the entire nation, our agrarian
nation whose numerically dominant class is the peasantry embracing more
than 70 per cent of our population. The specter of feudalism haunts us to
this day and substantially determines the colonial character of our
With the collaboration of U.S. imperialists and Filipino landlords in full
swing, we observe that the supremacy of a ruling elite in this country
combines the character of imperialism and feudalism. We observe the local
supremacy of the comprador-landlord class which is the most benefitted by
the strategic U.S. control of our national economy and foreign trade. The
owners of the sugar, coconut, abaca and other export-crop plantations have
been the most benefitted from that colonial pattern of trade between our
raw material exports and manufacture imports from the United States and
other capitalist countries.
It was the military power of U.S. imperialism which prevailed over the
peasantry in the absence of a prompt anti-imperialist and anti-feudal
strategy developed by a peasant-mobilizing party. However, the myth that
Ramon Magsaysay "saved democracy" has been created by U.S. imperialist
propaganda. While Magsaysay was a successful propaganda weapon of U.S.
imperialism and while he was able to confuse even some peasant leaders, it
is clear beyond doubt now that he was responsible for the all-out abuse of
democracy directed mainly against the peasantry, for thwarting the
solution of the land problem by the peasant masses themselves, for the
suspension of the writ of habeas corpus and for the brutalities of the
sona, village bombardments, mass detainments and murders.
The imperialist version of land reform for which Magsaysay was glorified
during his time has gone completely bankrupt. The land resettlement
program intended supposedly for the benefit of the landless has only
prolonged the life of feudalism in the Philippines. Landlords have taken
over far vaster tracts of land in those areas of resettlement and in too
many cases, they have even put into question the titles of small settlers.
The program of expropriating big landholding for redistribution to the
landless has only been used by the landlords to dispose of their barren
and useless lands at an overprice to the government. The Magsaysay land
reform, conducted by the Land Tenure Administration and the NARRA, have
failed to improve the condition of the peasantry as the rate of tenancy
has risen far beyond 40 per cent. The credit system of the ACCFA and the
system of FACOMA's have failed to help the tenants and the small farmers
and have only been manipulated by the landlords and corrupt
bureaucrats for their selfish interests. Agricultural extension workers
from the Bureau of Agricultural Extension have always been inadequate.
As the imperialist-landlord combination ruled over the country in the
1950's by force of its state power, the reform measures and palliative
proved ineffective in alleviating the condition of the peasantry or in
whipping up false illusion. Imperialist and clerical organizations like
the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM) and the Federation of
Free Farmers also proved ineffective even as propaganda instruments among
the peasantry, especially among those who had experienced genuine peasant
If the old palliative become totally useless, an exploiting ruling class
looks for new and seemingly better ones. The exposure of the true nature
of palliative is too risky for the ruling class. it must adopt new
palliative designed to meet a possible resurgence of its suppressed
adversary. Even as the class conscious and progressive peasant movement
has been quite suppressed since the middle of the fifties, the ruling
classes never discounts the possibility of an antagonistic resurgence of a
peasantry left with no quarters. So, it must make certain concessions even
only on paper. Thus, the Agricultural Land Reform Code has been proposed
and passed. At the same time a new scheme of "civic action" in the
countryside, directed by the JUSMAG and the "counter-insurgency" adviser,
has been laid out. This "civic action" in the rural areas is to be coupled
with the rural development campaign of the most numerous church.
New Conditions and the Danger of Yankee Monopolization
New conditions have developed making it necessary for U.S. imperialism to
exercise direct control of Philippine agriculture. U.S. imperialism is now
trying to plant its roots in Philippine agriculture and complete its
control of our agrarian economy in the face of the impending termination
and renegotiation of the Laurel-Langley Agreement and Parity Amendment.
The policy planners of U.S. imperialism are applying the same tricks they
applied on Cuba in the face of and after the dissolution of the Platt
Amendment - the Cuban version of our Parity Amendment. In other words, the
U.S. imperialists want to preempt the negotiation table by deepening their
control of our agrarian economy now. They want to continue parity rights
even after the formal termination of the Laurel-Langley Agreement.
The present world condition, especially in Southeast Asia, is forcing U.S.
imperialism to prepare the Philippines as a growing ground for
agricultural products that it uses directly or are used by Japan, its
co-imperialist in the Far-East. The Philippines is now being prepared as a
reagent in a U.S. controlled U.S.-Japan axis antagonistic to the
anti-imperialist peoples of Asia. If you investigate now the U.S.
agro-corporations or the Japanese agro- corporations wanting to develop
Philippine agriculture, you will notice how all are commanded by the U.S.
cartels and finance institutions, especially the Rockefeller monopoly
It is certain that the Agricultural Land Reform Code is directed, in its
original form as well as in its present form against old-style
landlordism. Has this code in its original version been passed, the
statutory retention limit of 25 hectares for landowners who refuse to
mechanize and the provisions imposing heavy taxes on undeveloped lands
would have severely weakened old-style landlordism. Landlords would have
come under greater legal compulsion to mechanize or sell out to those who
have capital to mechanize or just cheat the law by delaying it and
sabotaging it through a corrupt bureaucracy.
The sham liquidation of old-style landlordism is progressive on first
impression. But if the vast lands will only be retained or expanded in the
hands of those individuals and agro-corporations which have the necessary
capital to mechanize, then we will only be developing a new type of
feudalism, only in certain parts of the country, and the peasant masses,
particularly the landless tenants, would not be benefitted at all. The
condition of the peasant masses would only be aggravated by land
monopolization conducted by private agro-corporations and individual
capitalists. Some tenants would be converted into agricultural workers,
others would be displaced and thrown out of the farm by the process of
mechanization and modern business organization. The small landowners, in
due time, would be forced into bankruptcy because of higher production
costs per hectare and would not be able to compete with the large
plantations which maintain more economic operations. Even the rich
who produce more than enough for their households to be able to sell in
the market would be eventually eased out by lower prices of crops produced
by the modern plantations. A modern plantation economy in the Philippines
will convert a relatively few Filipino peasants into wage- earners but
will displace many more tenants whom it will not be able to employ
promptly and in sufficient number in industrial centers made even more
efficient by automation. An efficient plantation economy in the
philippines will become more of an appendage to foreign monopoly
capitalism. The Philippines will be farther from an even and well-
proportioned industrial development.
Since only U.S. firms are now in a financial position in the Philippines
to invest in Philippine agriculture, as our own Filipino industrialists
are themselves credit-starved (now much more in the case of old-style
landlords!) because of decontrol and other restrictive conditions, the
process of land monopolization would become more detrimental to the entire
Filipino people. The super-profits to be derived from these enterprises
would be continuously repatriated and unemployment would increase faster.
U.S. firms and subsidiaries are even under instruction now by the U.S.
government to prevent the outflow of dollars from the United States by
getting credit from local sources in the Philippines. It is a widely
perceived fact that U.S. projects and so-called joint ventures are
utilizing the resources of such institutions as GSIS, SSS, DBP and others,
thus depriving the Filipino investors themselves of much- needed credit.
Modern landlordism under the control of Esso, Dole, United
Fruit, Philippine Packing Corporation, Goodyear, Firestone and other U.S.
monopoly firms which have had the experience of ravaging Latin America is
no better than the old types of landlordism.
At the present moment, we can already see how vast tracts of land have
been alienated from our national patrimony by giant U.S. firms under
so-called "grower" or "planting" agreements with government corporations
like the National Development Company and the Mindanao Development
Authority. Despite the constitutional limitation that no private
corporations shall hold more than 1,024 hectares, the Philippine Packing
Corporation and the Dole Corporation have separately taken hold of 8,195
hectares and 5,569 hectares respectively through a "grower" agreement with
the National Development Company and they are supposed to hold on to these
lands, with option to expand at any time, for long stretches of periods
well beyond this generation and beyond 1974 when parity rights will have
The United Fruit deal involving the alienation of 10,000 hectares of
highly developed public lands and the project to segregate 50,000 hectares
of the Mt. Apo National Park Reservation for delivery to U.S. firms
through the NDC during the Macapagal administration are convincing
manifestations of a new plan U.S. imperialism has for the Philippines.
The Dole take-over of 5,569 hectares of homestead lands in Cotabato is a
clear negation of the owner-cultivatorship objective of the Agricultural
Land Reform Code. This particular takeover for pineapple plantation and
other commercial crops has adversely affected rice production in Cotabato
by reducing severely the area devoted to rice.
That U.S. imperialism is literally planting itself in Philippine soil is
very evident in several other moves, which were definitely made after
decontrol and the approval of the five-year socio-economic program of
Macapagal. Means for higher productivity in agriculture have been set up
confidently by U.S. firms. Esso has put up a $30 million fertilizer plant
which maintains a strategic role. International Harvester, including
Japanese farm machinery firms, are also optimistic that they will provide
the implements and machines for large-scale farms. In the long run, these
modern means for higher productivity can rise in price in such a way that
the big plantations, because they buy them in bulk and use them more
economically and profitably, will squeeze out the owner-cultivators from
the field of production and marketing. Control and ownership of fertilizer
production alone provides U.S. imperialism a powerful leverage with which
to squeeze out the leaseholders, the
owner-cultivators and even the rich peasants.
The U.S. government has conveniently made use of the World Bank to
encourage agricultural education in order to provide the necessary
technical support for U.S. plantations. The tested U.S. marionette, Carlos
P. Romulo, was reassigned to the University of the Philippines in order to
pay special attention to the receipt of $6.0 million loan from the World
Bank for Los Ba¤os and the procurement of P21 million from the Philippine
Congress as counterpart fund. Romulo's field of operation has been
expanded by the Marcos administration in apparent concession to U.S.
imperialism, by making him secretary of education. Twenty-three million
dollars of the belated $73 million in war damage payments is about to be
rolled out to sustain a land reform education program to be controlled
directly by the U.S. government in accordance with the Johnson-Macapagal
communique of 1964. This amount is expected by the reactionaries to
subvert the revolutionary peasant movement. At the moment, there is a
splurge of U.S. activity in the countryside through a multifarious array
of agencies such as AID, PACD, Freedom Fighters, Peace Corps, World
Neighbors, Esso, PRRM, CDRC, CAP, AGR, COAR, ACCI, FHD, IRRI, Operations
Brotherhood, CARE, DND and Special Forces, which are directly controlled
by the U.S. embassy through JUSMAG and the "counter- insurgency" adviser.
Noong ika-21 ng Mayo, 2010, sa pangunguna ng "sugo"
ng mga may-ari ng lupa, marahas na binuwag ng mga pulis at private
security guard ang barikada ng mga magsasaka sa Hacienda Yulo, sa Lungsod
August 6, 2010 | Sa unang anibersaryo ng CARPer, mga magsasaka gumamit ng
August 6, 2010 | Sa ika-14 na pagkakataon sa
ilalim ng administrasyon ni Noynoy Aquino, muling nagmartsa sa Mendiola
ang mga magsasaka upang igiit ang pagpapatupad ng tunay na reporma sa lupa
at pagbabasura sa huwad na programang agraryong CARPer.
Kasama ng mga magsasaka si "CaraGARB" na may nakakabit na wangwang sa
kanyang ulo bilang simbolo ng protesta sa pagsasawalang-kibo ng bagong
administrasyon sa usapin ng repormang agraryo.
Kasama din sa protesta ang mga magsasaka ng Hacienda Luisita na humaharap
ngayon sa panibagong panlilinlang ng pamilyang Cojuanco-Aquino.
Bago pa man manumpa si Noynoy Aquino bilang
bagong pangulo ng Republika ng Pilipinas malaun ng gumawa ng
kaukulang hakbangin ang mga magsasaka upang iparating sa bagong
administrasyon ang kanilang mga suliranin na dapat nitong tugunan.
Ika-30 ng Hunyo ngayon taong ito, araw ng inagurasyon ni Noynoy
Aquino bilang bagong pangulo, mula Department of Agrarian Reform ay
nagtungo ang mga magsasaka sa Mendiola upang iparating ang kanilang
mga kahilingan at suliranin sa lupang kanilang binubungkal.
Nagpasya ang mga magsasaka na magtayo ng 100-Araw na Kampuhan sa
Mendiola upang seryosohin ng bagong administrasyon ang kanilang mga
panawagan ngunit sa ika-apat na araw, marahas na binuwag ng mga
kapulisan ang kampuhang magsasaka. Apatnapu't dalawa ang inaresto at
labing pito ang nasugatan mula sa insidente.
Pagkatapos ang marahas na pagbuwag, agad itong kinundena ng mga
magsasaka, bumalik sila sa Mendiola upang isigaw muli ang kanilang
At upang mas lalong paigtingin ang kanilang pagkilos para sa tunay
na reporma sa lupa, lumahok ang mga magsasaka sa kauna-unahang State
Of the Nation Address ni Noynoy Aquino,ngunit pagkatapos ng SONA ay
nadismaya ang mga magsasaka dahil ni isang isyu na may kaugnay sa
lupa ng mga magsasaka ay hindi nabanggit sa kanyang kauna-unahang
Sa kasalukuyan tuloy ang 100 araw na Kampuhang Magsasaka sa harap ng
Department of Agrarian Reform na magtatapos sa ika-8 ng oktubre
KASAMA - Timog Katagalugan
28 July 2010
Tuloy ang Laban para sa Tunay na Reporma sa Lupa!
June 07, 2010
Maikling video alay kay Rogelio "Ka
Mamay" Galit. Bilang magiting ...
Bilang magiting na lider-magsasaka, si Ka Mamay ay nagsilbi bilang
tagapagsalita ng Katipunan ng Mga Magsasaka sa Kabite (KAMAGSASAKA-KA),
opisyal ng Katipunan ng mga Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan
(KASAMA-TK), miyembro ng Pambansang Konseho ng Kilusang Magbubukid
ng Pilipinas (KMP) at provincial coordinator ng ANAKPAWIS Partylist.
Sa kabila ng paulit-ulit na panggigipit ng gobyerno, si Ka Mamay ay
determinadong nagsulong ng pakikibaka para sa interes ng mga
magsasaka. Pulit-ulit siyang sinampahan ng rehimeng Arroyo ng mga
gawa-gawang kaso. Noong ika-23 ng Nobyembre, taong 2008, iligal
siyang inaresto at ikinulong. Nakalaya siya ilang buwan lamang ang
Nitong nakaraang Hunyo 1, 2010, sa edad na 52, siya ay pumanaw dahil
sa kumplikasyong dulot ng kanyang sakit na diabetes.
Tunay na bayani ng masang magsasaka at uring anakpawis si Ka Mamay.
June 4, 2009 - Farmers led by Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and
Katipunan ng Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan (KASAMA-TK) were
violently dispersed during the 2nd day of their 2-day protest action. This
rally on June 3-4 marked the culmination of their 54-day camp out calling
for the immediate enactment of HB 3059 or Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill
(GARB), and the scrapping of the pro-landlord HB 4077 or Comprehensive
Agrarian reform Program with Extension and Reforms (CARPer) and Charter
Change (ChaCha). The police might have prevented them from reaching the
Mendiola Bridge, but the farmers and other sectoral groups, remained
triumphant at the end of the day. Despite the harsh beatings and the water
cannon, their rank stood still and strong. Rather than stopping them, the
violent dispersal made the farmers more determined in their fight for the
right to the land they till.
Also, improvement of U.S. military bases in the South cannot but mean
securing Mindanao for U.S. agro-corporations. Within the Dole plantation
area, underground missile launchers are supposed to have been set up.
These are bases apparently prepared to strengthen U.S. aggression in
Southeast Asia. Nevertheless, they can very well serve to protect U.S.
agro-corporation producing crops that the United States may in the near
future never be able to get from neighboring countries because of the rise
of anti- imperialist movements in the region. It is highly significant
that large rubber plantations are being prepared in Mindanao today. Aside
from serving the needs of U.S. imperialism, technical crops are also
intended to serve the needs of Japan.
The narrow foreign policy of the Philippines, which has been chiefly
geared to the so-called special relations with the United States, is
expected to trap land reform in the vise of U.S. agro-corporations and of
U.S. global economic policy in general. The obvious lack of funds in the
National Treasury has been used as an occasion to call for "land reform"
loans from U.S.-controlled financing institutions like the World Bank,
AID, IMF, and others. The Land Bank and the Agricultural Credit
Association are bound to be controlled by the U.S. finance system.
U.S. imperialism, by virtue of its long-standing over-all strategic
control over the Philippine economy, has already strengthened its hold
over control points in Philippine agriculture.
The Agricultural Land Reform Code
The Agricultural Land Reform Code claims to seek the abolition of tenancy
and the establishment of owner- cultivatorship as the basis of Philippine
agriculture. It is supposed to help the small farmers, especially those
with economic family-size farms, to be free from pernicious institutional
restraints and practices to build a viable social and economic structure
in agriculture conducive to greater productivity and higher farm income.
Aside from expropriation and land redistribution, land resettlement and
public land distribution are also proposed by the code. A whole chapter of
the code is devoted to provisions guaranteeing the application of all
labor laws equally to both industrial and agricultural wage-earners.
For the purpose of giving lands to the landless and to those who have less
than enough for their respective families, a leasehold system is to be set
up as the first step towards self-reliance. The National Land Reform
Council, composed of the representatives of all land reform agencies and
of the political party in the minority, is supposed to proclaim an area as
a land reform area before its inhabitants can enjoy leasehold system
wherein the tenant becomes a leaseholder paying only 25 per cent of the
average of three previous annual harvests as rent to the landowner.
That only some Filipino tenants can enjoy the rent of 25 per cent upon the
proclamation made by the National Land Reform Council is quite puzzling to
those who are convinced that such rent may as well be paid in common by
all tenants to landowners all over the country by general proclamation.
This general proclamation should not even carry the pretentious claim that
it abolishes tenancy and replaces it with the leasehold system. For after
all, both terms "tenancy" and "leasehold system", although the former
sounds more pejorative, means essentially the burden of paying rent.
The Code says that the National Land Reform Council can proclaim a land
reform area only after it has considered the nature and possibilities of
the proposed land reform area in accordance with priorities set by the
It is in the consideration of these priorities and other factors that land
reform in favor of the peasant masses can be delayed indefinitely,
derailed and sabotaged. It is in the consideration of these priorities
that the bureaucrats in the land reform agencies will find more affinity
with the landlord and imperialist interests which have plans opposed to
those of the poor peasant on the same tract of land.
The very idea that the NLRC may proclaim a land reform area only where the
leaseholders have a good chance of developing into owner-cultivators is
obviously self-defeating and deceptive. Among the several factors that
must be considered in the choice of a land reform area are its
"suitability for economic family-size farmers", which is unfortunately
defined by the code as a "situation where a parcel of land whose
characteristics such as climate, soil, topography, availability of water
and location, will support a farm family if operated in economic
family-size farm units and does not include those where large-scale
operations will result in greater production and more efficient use of the
land". This matter of "suitability" is take into consideration even as the
leaseholders can always petition the Land Authority to acquire the
leaseholdings for redistribution to them.
On the question of suitability, before any proclamation is made by the
NLRC in favor of prospective leaseholders and owner-cultivators, the
landlord can easily preempt altogether the leasehold system and
expropriation proceedings by asserting that large-scale operations by
himself on his land will result in greater production and more efficient
use. The question can be reduced to a question of legal definition pure
and simple by the landlord, or he can actually start what may be termed as
"large scale operations" on his land in order to prevent either the
question of rent reduction or expropriation from being raised. What is
absurd in this matter is that, among the things preempted by the landlord
is the prospect of large-scale operations by cooperatives of owner-
cultivators on the same tract of land.
To evade the leasehold system and possible expropriation proceedings, the
landlord has simply to mechanize, to engage in "large scale" operations
such as sugar planting, or to plant permanent trees like citrus, coconuts,
cacao, coffee, durian, rubber and others. In Central Luzon and other parts
of the country, the landlords are converting their rice lands into sugar
lands. In the years to come, this will continue to deal a telling blow on
our rice production. In Southern Luzon, those working in coconut, citrus,
abaca and coffee lands as tenants are complaining and asking why they are
not benefitted by land reform. Those who work on fishponds and saltbeds
have the same complaint of not being within the purview of land reform.
To pursue the discussion as to how the landlord can evade expropriation,
let us assume that the NLRC does unilaterally and successfully proclaim a
certain area as land reform area. The Land Authority -- the implementing
arm of the council -- will still have to subject its acquisitions to the
following order of priorities: idle or abandoned lands; those whose area
exceeds 1,024 hectares; those whose area range between 500 and 1,024
hectares; those whose area range between 144 and 500 hectares; those whose
area range between 75 and 144 hectares. The Philippine government is
obviously making a big joke by saying that it wishes to exhaust its
financial resources on idle or abandoned lands which are in most cases too
expensive to develop. The poor peasant cannot afford to develop such kind
of land it is simply futile for the government to purchase this.
The statutory limit of 75 hectares that a landowner can retain is big
enough to perpetuate landlordism in the Philippines. Besides, a landlord
can easily retain many times more than this size so long as he has enough
members of his family to distribute it. Another course of action for the
landlord is to own land in many different places and keeping to the
statutory limit of 75 hectares in each place. in the Agricultural Land
Reform Code, there are no plugs to these loopholes.
The landlord has so many defenses to preempt the expropriation of his
property. But, little is it realized that a landlord might actually offer
to sell his land to the Land Authority. Because, according to the order of
priorities, in the acquisition of lands by the Land Authority, idle or
abandoned lands are to be purchased first. So long as the landlord can
demand "just compensation" or even an overprice, he can always strike at a
private bargain with the government appraiser. After getting the payment
for his expropriated property, he can always acquire private lands
elsewhere or public lands to perpetuate his class status. It can be said
conclusively at this juncture that the Agricultural Land Reform Code
allows the perpetuation of landlordism in the country. The landlords are
not hindered but even encouraged to seize public lands already tilled by
the national minorities and small settlers in frontier areas.
The ability of the Land Authority to relieve deep agrarian unrest and
provide the landlords with "just compensation" would depend on the
adequacy of funds in the Land Bank. It is already clear that the
government is reluctant to make an actual release of funds to the Land
Bank. The financial crisis of U.S. imperialism and all its running dogs is
something to be seriously reckoned with. Even if funds of whatever
enormity are to be released, these could be gobbled up by only a few
landlords and bureaucrats. Past experience clearly shows that the latter
are willing to part with. The result is that the landlords have more funds
to acquire more lands and the poor peasant can never afford the
redistribution price exacted by the government.
Except in the change of name, the Agricultural Credit Administration, is
no different from its corrupt and inadequate predecessor, the ACCFA. The
Commission on Agricultural Productivity is also nothing but a new name for
the old Bureau of Agricultural Extension; it is nothing but an ill-manned
and indolent bureaucratic agency of the Esfac. The landlords have always
used these agencies more to their advantage than the poor peasants.
There will be more severe contradictions between the peasant masses and
the landlord class. The contradictions will arise form the given
conditions of these classes as well as from the interpretation of the
Agricultural Land Reform Code. These contradictions are supposed to be
resolved by the Court of Agrarian Relations if ever they become formal
legal disputes. The Office of Agrarian Counsel is supposed to provide free
legal assistance to individual peasants and peasant organizations. But
judges and government lawyers are themselves landlords, landgrabbers and
land speculators. Behind the facade of populist expressions, they support
the landlord system.
It is relevant to cite the fact that when the Agricultural Land Reform
Bill was being drafted in Malaca¤ang and discussed in Congress, there was
no representative of the peasantry there -- particularly the poor
peasantry -- who was conscious of the class interests of the peasantry and
who would have fought for those class interests. What happened, therefore,
in the absence of direct political representatives of the peasant masses,
was that the political representatives of the landlords and the
imperialists had all the chance to finalize the bill according to their
class interest and provided themselves all the escape clauses.
The Agricultural Land Reform Code will not solve the land problem. As a
matter of fact, it will only aggregate the dispossession of the peasantry
and intensify unjust relations between the landlord class and the
peasantry. The beautiful phrases in the code in favor of the landless are
immediately nullified by provisions which in the realm of reality will be
taken advantage of by the landlord class.
What Is To Be Done
For the activists of national democracy there is no substitute to going to
the countryside and making concrete social investigation in order to
determine the oppression and exploitation imposed on the peasantry by the
There is no point in making a rural investigation if the facts learned
from the masses are not analyzed and processed into terms for basic
comprehension of problems as well as solutions. The activists of national
democracy should show to the peasants, especially those who have no land
at all and those who so not have enough land, the essence of their
suffering and arouse them to solve their own problem.
In the present era only the peasant masses can liberate themselves
provided they follow the correct leadership of the working class and its
party. It is senseless to put trust in laws made by the landlords
themselves no matter how gaudily they may wear the garments of bourgeois
The concrete step that can be immediately taken by the activists of
national democracy is to organize peasant associations dedicated to
fighting for the democratic rights of the peasantry. The present laws may
be used to some extent but if they are not enough, as practice has borne
out, then the peasant masses themselves will decide to take more effective
measures, including armed revolution.
The activitists of national democracy who go to the countryside should
exert all efforts to arouse and mobilize the peasant masses into breaking
the chains that have bound them for centuries. Agrarian revolution
provides the powerful base for the national democratic revolution.