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Agrarian Reform Essay

2360 words - 10 pages

* Historically, agrarian-related remedies extended by past regimes and administrators proved to be totally unable to fulfill the promise of alleviating the quality of life of the landless peasants.
* The land laws have invariably contained provisions that enabled powerful landowners to circumvent the law, or even use the law to sustain and further strengthen their positions in power.
1. Pre-Spanish Era
- Land was not unequally distributed before the Spaniards came to the Philippines.
- The notion of private property was unknown then.
- The community (barangay) owned the ...view middle of the document...

* By virtue of this Royal Order, encomiendas were granted to favor Spanish officials and clerics who were entrusted the responsibility to look after the spiritual and temporal developments of the natives in a colonized territory.
Almost all the grants that Legazpi extended to the Spanish officials and friars were confined to what would eventually become the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, and Bulacan
* Much later, in place of the encomiendas, the Spanish authorities began to group together several barangays into administration units.
* They termed these units as pueblos or municipios which were governed by gobernadorcillos.
* Together, the cabezas and gobernadorcillos made up of the landed class known as caciques (landed class).
* At the passing of time, the Filipino caciques intermarried with Spaniards. This gave such class as mestizo cast which exists to this day.
Through this enviable position, the cabezas the gobernadorcillos gained more and more stature or prestige with the Spanish civil and ecclesiastical authorities, and the common people
In time, the caciques were given the prerogative of collecting taxes as well.
* This act vested in them great power.
* Certainly, this did not help to endear them to the ordinary people.
* Caciquism as an institution became deeply rooted in Philippine soil. This paved the way to many present-day agrarian problems and unrests.
* As the cacique system grew, it also became more oppressive.
* This brought about colonial uprisings during the 19th century, which tended to occur in the areas with much agricultural activity such as Central Luzon.
* Agrarian-related problems were the only source of major conflicts during this time. Land was available in the entire archipelago.
* The major sources of conflict and rebellion were really the harsh Spanish impositions, such as: tributo, polo, encomienda, etc.
* During the 19th century, several developments occurred that solidified the land tenure system, and aroused antagonism over its injustices and inequalities.
* Since the Spaniards did not levy a land tax or a head tax (cedula), and few records of land-ownership were kept, the Spanish government issued two Royal Decrees: decreto realenga (1880) and the Maura Law (1894)
* These decrees ordered the caciques and natives, to secure legal title for their lands or suffer forfeiture.
* The Filipino peasants, either ignorant of the processes of the law or of the Spanish-written instructions, were just slow to respond.
* The landowners (caciques) were quick to react. They did not only register their own landholdings but also took advantage of the ignorance of the peasants, by claiming peasant lands adjacent to their own holdings.
* It was estimated that 400,000 Filipino peasants were left without titles.
* No option was left for those dispossessed because documented titles to the land prevailed over verbal claims.
* Hence, most...

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