The Promised Land
One of the blunt injustices in the Philippines, and in many other countries, is the shocking contrast between the few who amass vast areas of land and the poor farmers often deprived of their own survival. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, up to a quarter of the world`s population is estimated to be landless, including 200 million people living in rural areas. Failed agrarian reform programs, the greed of several landowners, the false promises made by politicians, and the many difficulties encountered by those who advocate the fair distribution of lands, have culminated in a mere notion of a "promised land" to the poor farmers. These have not only impoverished the farmers and crushed the hopes and dreams of their families, but have threatened the food security of the country as well. Land constitutes the main asset from which the rural poor are able to derive a livelihood. Thus, access to land is important for development and poverty reduction.
After the downfall of the dictatorial Marcos regime in 1986, many laws were enacted by the newly-installed democratic Philippine government to ensure the restoration and dispensation of social justice and human rights. Among these is the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law, the goal of which was to distribute land, amassed by the wealthy, to poor farmers. Almost three decades into its implementation, however, false promises by officials and loopholes within the law itself continue to prevent farmers from receiving their due, jeopardizing not only the lives of poor farming families but the food security of the country as well.
|Inside the farmers` mind|
In an interview with WM, lawyer and agrarian reform advocate Christian Monsod gave an insight into the struggling farmers` mind, what the farmers` dreams, aspirations, and frustrations are, as the fight for land continues, amid the growing indifference shown by the government and influential landowners. As a constituti...
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