Friday, May 11, 2012

Philippines land reform

"THE flag of the United Luisita Workers’ Union flaps in the breeze rolling across Hacienda Luisita, a vast sugar plantation named after a Catalonian marchioness, 100km (60-odd miles) north of the capital, Manila. The flag shows three stalks of cane severed by a tip-heavy machete, known as a bolo. For a decade the union has been trying to sever this land from its powerful owners, who happen to be the family of the Philippines’ president, Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino. On April 24th it won a big victory. The Supreme Court upheld a 2011 decision to distribute 4,335 hectares (10,712 acres) of the plantation’s fertile land to 6,269 farmworkers. “We are very happy,” says Lito Bais, acting president of the union, with a gap-toothed smile.

The ruling was a defeat for Mr Aquino’s cousins and uncles, but a victory for his late mother, Cory Aquino. In 1988 she passed a land-reform law, two years after “people power” swept her into the presidency. The law was supposed to uproot the country’s colonial legacy of concentrated landownership." (Thanks Marcy)

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