Agrarian Reform History

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  • Topic: Real property law, Land tenure, Land reform
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Agrarian Reform History



Bureau of Agrarian Reform Information and Education

Agrarian Reform History
Why is history of Philippine agrarian reform important? The Philippine agrarian reform history teaches us valuable lessons and insights about the past agrarian reform programs and the peasant initiatives that contributes to the evolution of the Philippine agrarian reform program from the pre-colonial times to the present administration.

Pre-Colonial Times (Before 16th Century)
What was the type of land ownership during the pre-Spanish time and how was it cultivated? Land was commonly owned by the community known as barangay a small unit of government consisting of 30-100 families administered by the chiefs. Land cultivation was done commonly by kaingin system or the slash and burn method wherein land was cleared by burning the bushes before planting the crops or either land was plowed and harrowed before planting. How do they practice mutual sharing of resources? Everyone in the barangay regardless of status had access on the land and mutually share resources and the fruits of their labor. They believed in and practiced the concept of “stewardship” where relationship between man and nature is important. What was the economic system during this period? Food production was intended for family consumption only. Later, neighboring communities where engaged in a barter trade, exchanging their goods with others. Some even traded their agricultural products with luxury items of some foreign traders like Chinese, Arabs and Europeans. Was leasing and selling of lands exercised during this period? The Maragtas Code seems to be the only recorded transaction of land sale during this time. This tells us about the selling of the Panay island by the natives to the ten Bornean datus in exchange of a golden salakot and a long gold necklace. Although the Code of Luwaran was one of the oldest written laws of the Muslim society which contains provision on the lease of cultivated lands, there was no record how this lease arrangement was practiced.

Bureau of Agrarian Reform Information and Education

Agrarian Reform History SPANISH ERA (1521-1896)
What was the system of land cultivation at this period? The colonial government at this period introduced a pueblo agriculture, a system wherein native rural communities were organized into pueblo and each Christianized native family is given a four to five hectares of land to cultivate. The pueblo agriculture practiced no share cropper class or landless class.

Can the native families own a land? No. The native families were merely landholders and not landowners. By law, the land assigned to them was the property of the Spanish King where they pay their colonial tributes to the Spanish authorities in the form of agricultural products they produced. What were the benefits and limitations of this pueblo system? The pueblo system was beneficial to the natives because: (1) land distribution was uniform; (2) there were no sharecropper or landless tillers; (3) and new tools and techniques were introduced to improve their productivity. However, these lead to the abusive Spanish authorities/friars to collect more tributes that greatly decreased the share of the native Filipinos of their own harvest. They further required them to provide forced service that made their life even more difficult. How was agricultural tenancy originated? Through the Laws of the Indies, the Spanish crown awarded vast tracts of land to wit: · · · Friar lands for the religious orders; Repartiamentos for lands granted to the Spanish military as a reward for their service; and Encomienda a large tracts of land given to Spaniards (encomiendero) to manage and have the right to receive tributes from the natives tilling it.

Natives within these areas became mere tillers working for a share of crops. They did not even have any rights to the land. How does the hacienda system...
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