taxation and land reform

Topics: Philippines, Negros Occidental, Conflict Pages: 5 (1405 words) Published: February 16, 2014
kMembers of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) detain a farmer activist during a protest near the Malacanang Presidential Palace in Manila February 11, 2014. The farmers are calling for President Benigno Aquino to fully implement the land acquisition and distribution component of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), according to local media. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco (PHILIPPINES - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST)egal defense in cases filed against farmers and farm workers also requires their direct participation. The various cases that are filed by landowners to avoid CARP or to bring about a reversion of agrarian gains need to be resolved, but the farmers and farm workers affected by such actions must also have the opportunity to present their cases properly before the deciding authorities. In most cases, however, decisions are reached that are adverse to the interests of farmers and farm workers because their claims and defence have not been fully explained in the courts or agencies where the cases are lodged. Sometimes, the farmers and farm workers concerned are not even included as party-litigants.

It is believed that agrarian legal defence could be better effected with the participation of the farmers and farm workers. This can only be achieved if they are equipped with the fundamental knowledge of the pertinent laws and rules. In particular, the following benefits would result from farmers and farm workers being properlyIn general, they could push for more efficient legal representation by private or public counsel. In certain venues and cases, they could represent themselves (thus eliminating dependence on lawyers to pursue their claims and defence).

Policy reform initiatives should be actively undertaken by farmers and farm workers. It is a recognized fact that there are many existing policies in agrarian reform that stifle the programme's efficient implementation and defence. Policy reform advocacy is, therefore, essential. As regards alternative policies, these should be grounded on actual farmer/farm worker experience.

Needless to say, policy reform is best approached through the initiatives of farmers and farm workers who experience at first hand the hindering factors of existing policies (e.g. overly tedious procedures in CARP implementation, processes and structures that are engulfed in bureaucratic red tape). It is essential that policy reform efforts entail the training of farmers and farm workers in the relevant legal knowledge and skills.

Final frontier for agrarian reform

Negros Occidental is no haven for farmers wanting a piece of land. To date, it holds first place out of the 77 Philippine provinces in terms of acquisition and distribution of private agricultural lands. The provincial peasant federation Task Force Mapalad has worked on people's initiative while taking on these realities. In 2000, its sustained campaigns for land tenure improvement achieved a number of important gains, including the installation of some 645 CARP beneficiaries at ten haciendas covering 974 ha; the generation and awarding of CLOAs to some 100 beneficiaries at three haciendas covering 400 ha; and the establishment and empowerment of 15 municipal organizations and 105 hacienda-based organizations.

These actual gains indicate that CARP can indeed be beneficial to its main constituents if the state is continually pressed to work effectively and if people are provided with a common venue in their collective struggle for land. *************

CASE STUDY 2. CONFLICT MANAGEMENT AMONG FARM WORKERS IN THE GUINGONA ESTATE

Background

The Guingona estate is a 609-ha piece of land situated in the village of San Miguel, Maramag municipality, Bukidnon province in the southern part of the Philippines. It is owned primarily by Luis Guingona, brother of the incumbent vice-president of the Philippines, Teofisto Guingona.

The remaining lots are registered in the names of corporations owned by the...
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