Saturday, April 28, 2012

Hacienda Luisita ruling a watershed in Philippine History

The symbol of oligarchic rule has been shattered with the recent Supreme Court decision. Hacienda Luisita is now the property of thousands of farmers who toiled the land for decades. This is a symbolic victory. It can also be termed as a watershed in Philippine History.

First, the ages-old agrarian reform problem in the Philippines got a big boost with this decision. It affirmed the spirit of the Comprehensive agrarian reform law, something which should have been accomplished several years ago. And second, it likewise signalled the beginning of the end of feudal landlordism which has been the basic feature of Philippine society since the Spanish times.

What this also symbolized is the shift of the nature of productions in this country. This proves that land is not anymore as valuable as it was for the oligarchs several decades back. The old rich has already acknowledged that wealth is not tied with the land anymore, but with capital. Hopefully, farmers will become direct producers and sellers of their products. This will eventually change the complexion of Tarlac.

As what the Hacienda Luisita Incorporated says, they will continue on operating as a manufacturing or sugar processing company. Of course, they will now be leasing land from the farmers or buying sugarcane from producers, unlike before when they are directly involved in planting sugar cane and selling it. Probably, the owners of Luisita already recognized that they are now living in the modern age where you don't need to be a direct manufacturer. You only buy the resources and develop it into a product and sell it. 

What we will be seeing in the next few years is consolidation of wealth among the very few elite groups in the country. Manuel Pangilinan already started the ball rolling. This shift will usher in new wealth which will, in the long run, benefit this country. Of course, this involves a configuration in the politics of this country since any new development in the economic front will inevitably result to a change in the political landscape as well. 

Truly, with this ruling it signals a slow yet sure and steady deconstruction of the old semi-feudal system. Those who still hold significant landholdings in this country will, one by one, be forced to conform with the agrarian law. With that, comes the opportunity for new political forces to come into play, especially the politics in the countrysides where power emanates from landholders. 

Lastly, this also signifies a change in the focus of the revolution. In the next few months, the complexion of the struggle will emphasize more on labor issues rather than agrarian. Labor will become a significant force in the next few months.