(march 25, 1889)
We applaud the efforts of the minister of colonies to foster agriculture in the Philippines. Proofs of these are the boards, commissions, and committees and numerous projects. We suggest, however, that the farmer be consulted also, the one in direct contact with the land, who makes the land productive with his capital and labor and puts into practice the measures that science and experience suggest. And not only must he not forgotten but neither must his hands are tied, disabling them for work, as it happens, unfortunately. It is not enough to issue royal decrees and timely measures; they must be enforced and enforced expediently. The Filipino farmer has to struggle not only with plagues and public calamities but also with petty tyrants and robbers. Against the first, defense indeed is permitted; against the latter, not always. We shall explain. After the floods, locusts, fires, bad harvests, and the like, the farmer capitalist has to deal with the constable who takes away from him his laborers for personal service, some public works, repair of roads, bridges, and others; with the civil guard who arrests them for various reasons, sometimes for not carrying with them their personal cedulas (certificates), for not saluting properly, for being suspicious persons or for no reason whatsoever, and they menacle them to clean the barracks and thus compel the capitalist to live on better terms with the chief and, if not, they take away his carabaos, oxen, in spite of many protests, returning them later however, as these acts of violence are almost always unjustified and not within the competence of the civil guard. The work is usually delayed three or four days only but at times it is delayed weeks, the animal is lost or dies; and this happens when the civil guard, going beyond its jurisdiction or province, commits these plunders in another province and then returns to its own;...
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