State Policy – Sec. 21: “The State shall promote comprehensive rural development and agrarian reform.”
The Kidapawan debacle is a loud and shameful call, a bloody and even fatal reminder that the above cited nothing less than a noble “State Policy” is in fact but a big farce. It has high sounding words, an ennobling vision but the long existing ground realities are exactly the opposite living facts from the time of its enactment and overwhelming Referendum approval.
State Visions: 1. Determined development of rural areas all over the land. 2. Common good and welfare of the folks living therein, the farmers in particular. 3. Just and fair partition of huge farms owned by non-farmers among the real farmers. 4. Equitable remuneration of non-farming owners of huge farmlands. 5. Benefits to the general public in terms of sufficient and fair-priced farm productions.
State Realities: 1. Subsisting Hacienda Luisita questionable phenomenon. 2. Unresolved Mendiola Massacre. 3. Unsettled Tarlac Killings. 4. Shameless C.J. Impeachment. 5. Poor and hungry farmer demonstrators met with guns and bullets.
“Words are cheap.” - so the saying goes and so the reality is. It is not really unknown who was the one who instanced and endorsed the framing of the above 1987 Philippine Constitution. After its popular approval, the record stands that it was the same figure who in fact made “Agrarian Reform” nothing less than the centerpiece of the latter’s governance. But what proved to be the reality was that exactly the same individual is said to have made the gross exemption from the above cited Constitutional Provision. The exception was seen in terms of the retention of a vast family agrarian land holding – with the farmers therein said to have been instead given “Certificate of Shares” thereof which the said farmers were unable to cook much less to eat.
Considering that the now still seating supreme-in-command figure in government is practically irrelevant on account of his day-to-day nearing exit from office, certain questions come to mind – such as the following: Who will be elected as the next President of the Philippines? Will the election prove acceptable to the people as to its honesty and acceptability? Assuming it is acceptable, would the one thus elected be in fact but merely a subordinate of the one now sitting in power with big family interest and concern about agrarian non-reform? In the event that there is one thus acceptably elected with neither direct nor indirect ties with all standing owners of haciendas here and there, what will he/she act on the above cited constitutional provision on Agrarian Reform nationwide?
It is rather strange – very strange indeed – that this Country with huge farmlands in all its regions – has farmers wallowing in poverty and hunger, has a people who buy and eat a good amount if imported farm products, rice included. So strange yet so true.