Final Economics Essay Example
Final Economics Essay Example

Final Economics Essay Example

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  • Pages: 8 (2001 words)
  • Published: October 28, 2017
  • Type: Case Study
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The agrarian issues of the country were determined based on the well-being of farm households and adherence to political ideologies, despite different land policies by each colonial power and government. Over the past century, there have been numerous regime changes that resulted in a diverse collection of land policies, laws, and programs, some of which complemented each other while others opposed. The implementation of these programs had both positive and negative effects.

On one hand, allocating land to farmers and utilizing idle land led to growth in the agriculture industry. However, issues emerged regarding the land owned by former president Carbon Aquinas and her family - the Cognacs.

Agrarian reform was initially introduced during American colonial rule and continued with various land-related laws and programs enacted by the Philippine government after the installation of the Phili


ppine Republic in 1946. Most projects aimed to address rural unrest rather than pursue economic or social goals. One initial issue addressed was the controversy surrounding friar estates totaling 166,000 hectares acquired during early years of American administration for distribution to 60,000 peasants. However, due to high amortization fees unaffordable for small-scale farmers, these estates were sold to wealthy elites.

The government's agricultural policies have failed to meet the needs of the peasantry for many years, resulting in increased demands for land reform. President Carbon Aquinas introduced Republic Act 6657, also known as the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL), in 1988 with the aim of prioritizing agrarian and land reform under President Aqualung's administration. This law was implemented two years after the peaceful People Power Revolution, which marked the end of Marcos' authoritarian rule. CARL's main principle was land-to-tiller, makin

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it an integral part of agrarian reform. However, poor beneficiaries faced inadequate government support and corrupt political leadership that hindered expected benefits. Wealthy elites in national politics consistently influenced land reform efforts in the Philippines across different regimes. As a result, CARL had limited success in improving rural communities' lives over more than two decades. With CARL nearing its conclusion, it is crucial to assess its effectiveness and determine if it can be considered a failure or not. Prior to her presidency, Aquino pledged to prioritize land reform due to dire conditions faced by approximately 56% of households reliant on agriculture but either landless or with small plots of land. This circumstance played a crucial role in the 1986 EDSA Revolution that led to Corazon Aquino assuming office.During her presidency, Hacienda Luisita, owned by the Aquino family, became a major target for land reform. Aquino stressed the importance of making the "land-to-the-tiller" slogan a reality, resulting in the establishment of a land reform commission and the enactment of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), also known as RA 6657, in 1988. Originally, CARP aimed to cover 10.3 million hectares, which accounted for approximately one-third of the country's total land area of 30 million hectares. However, after undergoing CARP Scope Validation, this coverage was reduced to 8.16 million hectares and would be distributed among 4.5 million beneficiaries.

The decrease in coverage can be attributed to various exemptions and exclusions on certain types of lands; there were also rumors suggesting that wealthy landowners in Congress sought to manipulate the process once again. The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) took responsibility for managing 4 million hectares (54 percent) of

the amended area while the Environment and Natural Resources Department (ENRD) had jurisdiction over 3.8 million hectares as public and forest lands.

It took both the Senate and House of Representatives over a year to pass the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL). This delay revealed politicians' lack of interest in addressing rural poverty as they prioritized their own proposals instead.During the CARL deliberations, Congress members affiliated with landed interests or large farms played a significant role in determining timing, priorities, and minimum legal holdings. The House of Representatives had a dominant presence of landlords, while the Senate consisted mainly of urban-based businessmen who recognized agrarian reform as crucial for national development. The Senate proposed a comprehensive bill that included a retention limit of five hectares and prioritized the distribution of large land holdings. In contrast, the House's bill reflected landlord influence by suggesting a retention limit of seven hectares with an additional three hectares for each heir. Additionally, it emphasized addressing and distributing public lands before private lands. The CARL represents a compromise between pro-reform and anti-reform factions during the legislative process, reflecting an ongoing struggle. It is evident that ownership and control over private agricultural lands in the country were largely held by landed classes, although only about one-third of these farmlands were officially reported as privately owned by 1988. The lack of control over land resources is considered a primary cause of persistent poverty in the country.The exploitative agrarian structure led to an unequal distribution of political power in society and the state, resulting in periodic peasant uprisings. These uprisings faced repression, resettlement, and limited reforms from elites and government authorities. Peasant unrest remained

a significant aspect of rural politics throughout the twentieth century.

In 1986, there was a shift from an authoritarian regime to a national client-like electoral regime. However, complete demagnification of the countryside did not occur. During the transition period of 1986-1988 following martial law, there were some new political opportunities for partial demagnification.

Initially reluctant to address this issue, Carbon Aquinas' administration changed its stance after a tragedy occurred. The military fired on a 20,000-strong peasant march near the Presidential Palace, resulting in the deaths of 13 peasants. This event sparked intense policy debates on agrarian reform in the Philippine polity and ultimately led to the passage of CARL (Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law).

Peasants had long considered themselves victims of injustices which contributed to their violent transition. During Fidel V. Ramos' presidency, he supported Aquinas' land reform program by allocating necessary budget resources for ongoing operations and signing into law an extension of CARP implementation until 1998.

Under his administration and subsequent leadership by Strand, fewer agricultural issues arose in rural areas.To alleviate rural unrest and settle disputes with landowners, peasants utilized the CARL-induced land reform courts. Between 1988 and 2004, a total of 462,839 cases were filed and 45,652 were resolved through this justice component that dealt with conflicts between landlords and tenants as well as land valuation issues. Despite progress made, there were more than 17,000 unresolved cases during this time period. These challenges caused delays in granting land to peasants and were faced by the government, landlords, and peasants alike. The cases were brought before both the DARE adjudication board and regular courts, which further prolonged the process due to multiple proceedings and uncooperative landowners using

tactics to delay resolution. The government's primary focus was on smaller lands for inclusion in the reform. Under Ramose's policy program, the land reform program was extended for an additional ten years (1998-2008) with PH 50 billion allocated from public funds for its implementation. Strata's regime introduced Executive Order 151 which allowed farmers to access long-term capital from formal lending institutions. President Gloria Arroyo continued implementing CARP while also formulating CARP-related programs such as KIGALI Rezone aimed at improving agricultural productivity in municipalities with Agrarian Reform Community populations.
During Arroyo's administration, it was noted that CARP was supposed to conclude in 2008. However, bureaucratic delays caused only approximately 80 percent of targeted lands to be redistributed by that time. To address this issue, Arroyo and her allies in Congress passed Republic Act 9700, also known as the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms (CARPer) Bill. This bill allocated an additional PH 150 billion in funding over the next five years.

By 2014, it was expected that the Department of Agrarian Reform and Empowerment (DARE) would have distributed a total of 5.166 million hectares of land to 3 million farmers through CARPer, making it the most expensive land reform initiative in Philippine history.

Throughout different regimes, including Spanish colonialism and the Aquino presidency, the struggle of rural peasants has consistently driven calls for land reform. The dominance of powerful landlords and corporations controlling agricultural lands has resulted in a majority of individuals being tenants, farm workers, or without any access to land - leading to longstanding poverty in rural areas.

Given these historical events and valiant efforts towards land reform, agrarian reform remains a significant concern for the government.

While CARP may not be deemed a complete failure, its ability to effectively reduce poverty is hindered by serious deficiencies. Laws and programs concerning land cannot ignore the personal interests held by both landlords and those who lack access to land. Politics significantly influences policies and programs related to land reform under each regime.However, the issues at hand have not been adequately addressed by implemented reforms so far. Legislators with vested interests have passed reform laws that hinder the success of these reforms. One such program with flaws is the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP). CARP has a market-based approach, biased exemptions and exclusions, disputable methods of acquisition and distribution, and unnecessary administrative costs. As a result, CARP has yielded unsatisfactory outcomes. These flaws give rise to difficulties in land valuation, payment to landlords and beneficiaries, and limited access to support services for agriculture. These challenges impede the achievement of the reform program's goals. Furthermore, there is a lack of a well-established support mechanism after land distribution which exacerbates these setbacks.

Despite its shortcomings, CARP is considered one of the most ambitious land reform programs in this country's history. However, the term "comprehensive" lacks clear definition.Nonetheless, despite their differences and deficiencies, all land reform laws share similarities with each other.It is believed that CARP was designed as a genuine land reform law but falls short due to incompleteness and various deficiencies.The implementation of CARP has faced political challenges over time.Court cases have caused delays and allowed landowners to successfully stall the progress of CARP (Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program).The implementation of land reform programs, such as CARP, has often led to violent clashes involving landowners, beneficiaries, military

personnel, and police forces. These conflicts have been influenced by the interests of the landed elite and have tainted the reforms. Despite the government's good intentions, the reform efforts have been derailed due to conflict between peasants and landlords. This has further politicized the reforms. Court proceedings related to land reform show that distributing land is a challenging task. Historical land reform laws in the country have also been influenced by vested interests. Land reform is now a political reality where politics shape policies and programs in each regime. The current land reform law, CARP, lacks certain elements that hinder its success. Therefore, future land-related policies should consider factors like market orientation, administrative capacity, budget requirements, method of land transfer, gender equality, and implementation approach.The delays in achieving CARP's goals are primarily caused by these issues. In my opinion, the current reform is not a complete failure, but its deficiencies and loopholes hinder efficient implementation and create discontent and skepticism. To ensure effective post-land reform policies, it is necessary to have supportive institutions and inputs as part of the overall strategy. Additionally, this support should be provided publicly by the government. If the government does not make sufficient effort, then equitable considerations and long-term poverty reduction will not effectively be addressed through this reform. Therefore, the government should allocate additional resources to assist new landowners until they can become self-sufficient and contribute to other development goals.

It is important to emphasize that land reform involves more than just redistributing land; public support is essential for success. Safety nets must be implemented and poverty reduction challenges must be addressed in order to ensure the long-term effectiveness of

the program. While there has been some progress in ongoing land reform efforts, future agricultural households may still encounter difficulties in sustaining their livelihoods on newly acquired lands.

Although land reform alone cannot solve all social, political, and economic issues, it remains a crucial step towards improving the well-being of rural communities and reducing poverty.Over time, the advancement of agriculture directly benefits impoverished locals in these areas as it continues to remain their primary industry.

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