Friday, December 16, 2011

The Farmers, The Land, The Government

Considering the agricultural constructs and natural attributions of the Philippines, attending to the inequity behind the vast land tenures of few wealthy and powerful dynasties in the Country, it is both imperative and practical for Filipinos in general, to squarely confront the matter of land reform. In the same way, considering the difficult and pitiful plight of millions of Filipino farmers together with their families, it is but proper and just that the government must intervene to resolve such a national contradiction of long standing. By the way, this phenomenon of dynastic land control cannot but have its negative impact on the signal matter of food production – to the detriment of millions of Filipinos who depend on rice and vegetables for their day to day sustenance.

Hence, lo and behold, no less than a distinct and famous figure in the matter of dynastic and land tenure, opted to have a new Constitution for the Philippines written by no less than her personally chosen Commissioners. And lo and behold again, the 1986 Philippine Constitution contains the following provision as nothing less than a State Policy: “The state shall promote comprehensive rural development and agrarian reform.” (Declaration of Principles and State Policies, Art. II, Section 11).

As of this writing, the above cited very significant and relevant constitutional provision is good to have, to read and to know. It is not only very impressive but also realistic and practical. But sad to say, in so many ways, the cited State Policy by and large remains but speculative as well as contemplative. In other words, it can be said that the same constitutional provision remains in “Cloud 9.” Translation: Up there in thin air. Not here and now. It is but words, not reality.

The fact is that the illustrious and celebrated Lady President herself proclaimed that the centerpiece of her governance, the over-all fundamental finality of her administration, was “Land Reform.” The fact however stands that her dynastic rule and possession of the “Hacienda Luisita” was conveniently exempted from agrarian reform. Instead of the reform of the big-land ownership, there was a re-confirmation of the ownership of the “Hacienda” through the distribution of “Shares of Stocks” to the farmers –instead of the distribution of the land.

Recently, as decided and proclaimed by the Supreme Court, it is land distribution that is in order – not stock distribution. But the son himself of the past “Yellow Ribbon” Lady President – an heir himself of the “Hacienda” – in effect occupies the Office of Chief Executive. Question: Who would dare execute the judgment of the Supreme Court? What agency or agencies in the present administration would be that willing and ready to make the judgment a reality?

Just asking.