The agrarian issues were decided presumably upon the well-being of farm households and acceptance of political adhering especially in the midst of rural unrest, despite the fact that every colonial power and government followed land policies differing in terms of emphasis and pronunciation. It has been concluded that in regard to the many regime changes that the country has undergone in the last century, the legislation effort led to the accumulation of a diverse set of land policies, laws, and programs either complementary or opposing to each other.
There are many results and outcomes that brought the positive effects and as well as the negative outcome of the implementation of the program. First off, the allocation f land to the farmers or agriculturists with the purpose of producing crops and the usage of idle land indeed brought growth in the agriculture industry but with that, a lot of issues were also occurring rooting from the land owned and possessed of the late president, Carbon Aquinas together with her family, The Cognacs.
Agrarian reform first appeared on the agenda of Philippine policy making with the beginning of the American colonial rule. Since the turn of the century, several land related laws and programs were introduced by the American administration, followed by another set of reform laws enacted by the Philippine government after he installation of the Philippine Republic in 1946. Most of them were tenancy reforms and land settlement projects trying to address rural unrest rather than pursuing economic or social motives.
One of the first land issues to be addressed was the controversy on the friar estates encompassing 166,000 hectares, which were purchased in the first years of American administration and for distribution to 60,000 peasants. However, due to high amortization fees that small-scale farmers could not afford to pay, these estates were purchased by the landed wealthy elites. Consequently, it was viewed that agricultural development policies of the overspent had been unresponsive to the needs of the peasantry as a whole for many decades.
The apparent exploitative agrarian structure intensified the claims for land reform. It was in 1988, under the government of President Carbon Aquinas, that Republic Act 6657, otherwise known as the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law Final Economics By sanitation and land reform as the centerpiece of her administration’s social legislative agenda which took effect two years after the peaceful People Power Revolution and the end of the Marco’s authoritarian rule. Its fundamental principle and slogan was land-to- tiller. Under this law, land reform becomes a major component of agrarian reform.
Let me start with the origins of Agrarian reform which started even in the late 1700-sass. Despite of the common belief that land reform would bring economic well off to the poor farm beneficiaries, It raise some problems stemming down from weak government and tainted political leadership. The national level political dynamics, dominated by the landed oligarchy behind the legislation of CARP in 1988, have been a constant feature of the Philippine politics when it comes to land reform legislation of the various regimes in the past.
As a consequence, the CARP has done not much to improve the lives of those people in the countryside. Given the failure of governance for effective land reform, the end results have been far from the goals after more than two decades of implementation. This argument therefore is very timely in assessing CARP since this program is nearing its end, and will hopefully provide insights if CARP is indeed failing or not in meeting its promises.
The Marco’s land reform program left an estimated number of at least 56 percent of households dependent on agriculture, landless or with little land (Puttee, 1992: 25). Rural uprising, therefore, played an essential role in the 1986 DEEDS Revolution, which led to the presidency of Carbon Aquinas. Before her term in office, she had committed herself to making land reform an essential part of her governing period promising to address her own family’s landholding, Hacienda Lawsuit, one of the first targets. 1).
Land-to-the-tiller must become a reality, instead of an empty slogan, was Quoin’s motto when she set the agenda for land reforms. A land reform commission was formed, and the CARL, otherwise known as RA 6657, with its implementing program he Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) was enacted in 1988. The total original area to be covered by CARP was 10. 3 million hectares, one-third of the country’s land area of 30 million hectares. As a result of CARP Scope Validation, the covered area was reduced to 8. 16 million hectares to be distributed among the 4. 5 million beneficiaries.
This reduction is attributed to the number of exemptions and exclusions on land types (although it was rumored that this was another manipulation attempt of the landed elites in the Congress). Of this total amended area, 4. Million hectares (54 percent) falls under the responsibility of DARE and 3. 8 million hectares are under the Jurisdiction of the EDEN being public and forest lands. The CARL was the product of a legislation process in the Senate and the House of Representatives that took more than one year for its formal proclamation and reflected their respective composition of representatives and the apathy they have on rural poverty.
The important details of timing, priorities, and minimum legal holdings were determined by Congress in which majority of members were connected to landed interests, if not owners of large tracks of farms. At the time of deliberation of the CARL, the landlords dominated the House of Representatives and the Senate mainly consisted of urban-based businessmen who regarded agrarian reform essential for the development of the country. The bill proposed by the Senate was quite far reaching.
It claimed a retention limit of five hectares and the distribution of large land holdings to be addressed first. The bill of the House of Representatives reflected the landlord domination in this part of Congress. It contained a proposed retention limit of seven hectares, plus three hectares for every heir and provided that public lands should be addressed and distributed prior to private lands. In many ways, the CARL represents a compromise between these two bills and, therefore, reflects the struggle between pro-reform and anti-reform forces in the law making process.
It is clear that the ownership and control over private agricultural lands in the country were largely monopolized by landed classes; although, only about one- third of these farmlands were reported in official census as privately owned by 1988. The lack of control over land resources is believed to be one of the most important causes of persistent poverty in the country. The exploitative agrarian structure had been the cause and effect of the lop-sided distribution of political power in society and the state.
The same situation provoked periodic peasant upheavals that won only intermittent concessions from the state A combination of repression, resettlement, and limited reform had been the traditional way through which the elites and the state responded to peasant upheavals, and so peasant unrest remained an important part of rural politics throughout the twentieth century. And, the transition from an authoritarian regime to a national client-like electoral regime in 1986 did not lead to complete mechanization of the countryside.
After Marco’s’ martial law, the transition period 1986-1988 opened new political opportunities for partial demagnification, which led to a heated policy debate on agrarian reform. After initially dragging its feet on the issue, the administration of Carbon Aquinas was forced to act after the military opened fire to a 20,000-strong peasant march near the Presidential Palace, killing 13 peasants; this subsequently stirred up the highly contested land reform programs in the Philippine polity that resulted in the passage of CARL.
It was a bloody transition or the peasants who viewed themselves as victims of injustices for centuries. When Fidel V. Ramose took over the presidency from Aquinas, he supported her land reform program by providing the necessary budget for its continued operations. In his presidency, he signed into law the extension of CARP implementation until 1998. During this regime and the subsequent administration of Stared who stayed in power as president for less than three years only, there were less agrarian related issues.
Rural unrest has gone down as peasants have found their legal way through the CARL induced land reform courts. Disputes between landowners and peasants justice component from 1988 to 2004, a total 462,839 cases were filed of which 445,652 were solved. This Justice component entails the settlement of cases, which are related to landlord and tenant relationships. It also deals with cases pertaining to land valuation. From this figure, more than 17,000 cases remain unsolved during the same period.
This figure shows tremendous legal debacles between government, landlords and peasants, with the latter facing long deprivation of the ?promised] land. This connotes that in the end, it is the peasants who are sacrificed in the legal laying tactics. These cases are brought to DARE adjudication board and regular courts. The government is in lock up position given the many adjudication and court proceedings involved and the unyielding attitude of landowners. Obviously, landlords and corporate owners were employing delaying tactics in the inclusion of their farms for immediate implementation.
At the same time, the government is rather preoccupied with relatively smaller lands for reform inclusion. What is remarkable as far as the policy program of Ramose is the passage of RA 8532 which extended the and reform program for another ten years 1998-2008 and the provision of more public funds to support its implementation amounting to PH 50 billion. As for Strata’s regime, he initiated the passage of Executive Order 151 that allowed farmers to access long-term capital from the formal lending institutions. President Gloria Arroyo continued and committed herself in the CARP implementation.
Her administration formulated and implemented CARP related programs, I. E. KIGALI Rezone. These zones consisted of one or more municipalities with concentration of ARC population to achieve greater agro-productivity. One significant observation during Arroyo’s administration is that CARP was supposed to end in 2008, where all targeted lands for distribution would have been accomplished, and the work of agencies concerned this time would be limited to support services by assisting farmers in their farm operations.
Because of bureaucratic slowness, the total percentage of accomplishment was recorded at around 80 percent against the total land for redistribution. Without other alternative, Arroyo and her allies in congress extended the program. The year 2009 saw the passage of Republic Act 9700, otherwise known as the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms (CARPer) Bill. The CARPer Bill provides for additional funding of PH 150 billion over the next five years. By 2014, it is projected that the total land distributed by DARE will be 5. 166 million hectares of the total to 3 million farmers.
This funding figures the costly land reform in the Philippine history The rural peasants’ struggle remained the potent force at the grassroots level in the different regimes that led to the undertaking of land reform beginning from the Spanish colonialism up to the Aquinas presidency. With agricultural lands that had been in the possession of a few powerful landlords and corporations, for centuries the majority of people remained as tenants, farm workers and landless agricultural laborers, a reality that has contributed to the poverty in the countryside for long time.
As of Today, The Agrarian reform still is a big concern for the government given the historical events that brought the country to chaos due to the valiant acts of the themselves. The CARP may not be a complete failure; however, it possessed serious deficiencies to succeed as an agenda on poverty reduction. We have witnessed that we cannot split up the personal interest of landlords from landless Poor’s interest in any land reform laws and programs in the country. Land reform has been a polity reality, and the politics played a significant role on the various policies and programs in each regime.
It is obviously deficient in many aspects as different reform laws have been debated and passed by legislators with vested interests detrimental to the reform’s success. I believe that the redistributive nature of CARP possesses some flaws given its market-based orientation, biased exemptions and exclusions, disputable manner of acquisition and distribution, and the unwarranted cost both for the program administration and acquisition of lands. These flaws, to some extent, resulted in unsatisfactory outcomes.
Issues such as land valuation, payment to landlords and from beneficiaries, and access to support services for improved agricultural production constitute a setback to the greatest achievement of the reform goals. This problem is compounded by the lack of a more institutionalized support mechanism in the post-distribution stage. It is believed to be the most ambitious in the history of and reform in the country; I would like to enumerate the possible notions of the claim of the program. The term comprehensive has never been clearly defined. Other than this, all land reform laws of various regimes including CARP resemble in many aspects.
Believed to be a genuine land reform law, this public policy is not complete and in fact suffers deficiencies. The program has already taken its political toll. With court cases taking up much time for due process, landowners have succeeded in stalling CARP, and this even resulted in violent clashes involving landowners, beneficiaries and the military tit the police. Land related violence and problems have politicized further the Land reform programs such as the CARP have been enacted by different regimes for specific reasons, albeit political motive has been the common one.
As the objectives of such reform had undergone changes over time based primarily on the socio- political context prevailing in each period, the original intentions of the reform have also been subjected to changes in each political regime. While the motive of the government in instituting this reform deserves commendation; however, the reform saws have been tainted with 358 Limits of Good Governance in Developing Countries vested interest of the landed elite in enacting the law, making the reform implementation difficult and derailed.
The political debacles between peasants and the landlords resulted into turmoil and bloodshed, with the peasants as oftentimes the victims, politicized further the reform. Let alone the high record of adjudication cases and court proceedings related to land reform prove that land distribution is landed elites in the historical land reform laws and programs in the country. Land form has become a polity reality, and the politics played a significant role on the various policies and programs undertaken in each regime more than the true concern of the plight of landless poor people.
The existing land reform law-CARP- is obviously deficient in many aspects which are detrimental to success. In the future, any land related policies therefore must seriously take into account the market- orientation, administrative capacity, budgetary requirement, the modality of land transfer, equity across gender, and the manner of its implementation. These issues are the causes why CARP is taking a long time. While I opine that the current reform may not be a complete failure; however, its deficiencies and loopholes disrupt the efficient implementation thereby producing discontent and disbelief.
In the post-land reform regime, supportive institutions and inputs, as part of land reform policy, are vital in making the entire reform work. And this support must be publicly supplied and government initiated. If the government is lacking of its effort, the reform will fail to deliver the best outcomes that tackle equity consideration and poverty reduction in the long run. Government should therefore provide the accessory resources to the still frail new landowners to be able to adjust in their new role. Only when they become stable and can stand on their own that they can contribute to the other goals of development.
Land reform, after all, does not end in giving lands to the landless. They need public support that will enhance the effectiveness of the reform. We cannot Just leave farmers in limbo without the necessary safety nets. Overall, the program entails serious challenge to succeed as an agenda on poverty reduction of the government in the long run. While modest outcomes have been observed in the current land reform, in the future, however, more and more agricultural households can no longer secure livelihood from the land.
In the post- reform regime, as the case of many developing countries now, land reform may have not probably solved all the social, political and economic issues embedded in the development agenda; however, it is still a crucial ingredient in improving the well being of poor rural people. After all, rural is still dominated by agriculture, and its progress within the framework of agrarian development benefits local poor people and tackles poverty in the long run.