THE “Program” was supposed to be “Comprehensive” for the “Reform” of huge and impressive “Agrarian” possessions of some blessed and distinguished families all over the country—a famous hacienda somewhere in Tarlac well-included. In fact, in 1998, Agrarian Reform was loudly and repeatedly proclaimed as the centerpiece of the loving attention and genuine concern of the then gloriously reigning administration. Such a program understandably received high praises plus the profound gratitude of all the long-exploited and much wanting farmers—those from the said very extensive and famous hacienda well-included.
But lo and behold—after the much-publicized and widely-acclaimed Reform Program—there are at least three well-known infamous realities that to this date remain conveniently forgotten and nonchalantly unresolved: One, the infamous Mendiola Massacre where unarmed farmers demonstrating against the untouched Hacienda were mercilessly gunned down by well-armed supposedly lawmen. The conscienceless killers are altogether unnamed and unknown to this day. Two, the shameless Tarlac Murders when even an old, kind and lovable Aglipayan bishop was slaughtered. Who did the crime is a well-kept secret to this writing. Three, the amazing Hacienda continued existence and operation notwithstanding all loud announcements and repeated claims to the contrary made by the government officials concerned—and notwithstanding the apparently well-paid ouster of a Chief Justice who dared preside in a pro-farmers judgment.
Question: How is the Agrarian Reform Program going on? Answer: It is more going nowhere than what was supposed to happen. Question: What about the “Comprehensive” reform of huge agrarian possessions? Answer: It is anything and everything except being really “Comprehensive”. Question: How much agrarian lands have undergone reform? Answer: Only but some 15% since 1988. Question: How much did it cost the government, i.e. the people’s taxes—to have such a small reform done? Answer: Some 82 billion pesos or more. Alas, there are more questions than answers.
ARP, CARP, CLOA, CLT, etc. So much was the program, but so little was done. So far, so bad.