Comprehensive Agrarian Reform instanced by the Hacienda Luisita owners and the Stock Distribution Option (SDO) made by its farmers would be fair and equitable if the said owners and farmers were in relatively equal footing in corporate knowledge and financial standing.
There is no question that the SDO is legal. But is it ethical in the particular case between the hacienda owners and farmers who are miles apart in management savvy and temporal resources? The termination of more than a hundred union officers and members of the Hacienda workers may be defensible before the court of law. But is it tenable before the bar of humanity?
And this is definitely the case in the Hacienda Luisita issue. That is why the Hacienda is slowly and progressively haunted by strong dissension and discontent. This is why farmers are killed. The owners are held suspect. The government is accused of collusion and overreaction.
The Hacienda owners have already gained enough. The Hacienda farmers have already suffered much. Too much blood has been spilled. Too many lives have been lost. The message in all these circumstances is clear: Honest to goodness agrarian reform of Hacienda Luisita.
By the revocation of the SDO and by the equitable distribution of the land to the farmers, there will be many winners: the owners earn their peace. The farmers have their due. The province enjoys some harmony. The country faces one less problem.
By maintaining the pitiful and dangerous status quo in Hacienda Luisita, one wonders who wins. The mill is off. The land produce is gone. The owners are disturbed. The farmers are hungry. The police are busy.
Even in a big wealthy family, the best preventive measure to avoid quarrels and litigations among its members is to have family possessions ultimately divided among them. The time has come for Hacienda Luisita to do the same.
With goodwill towards all.
25 April 2005