Reaction Paper on Hacienda Luisita
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SUPREME COURT DECISION ON HACIENDA LUISITA: IMPACT OR IMPLICATIONS ON AGRARIAN REFORM IN THE PHILIPPINES After more than five decades of waiting, the Supreme Court, subsequent to issuing a temporary restraining order for land distribution, has now given its verdict on the case of Hacienda Luisita: “Distribute the agricultural land to its tenant farmers”. In the decision made by the Supreme Court, the 14 magistrates has been said to “recall and set aside ” the option of the recipient farmers to remain as stockholders of Hacienda Luisita. The 6,296 beneficiaries are to be paid with a total of P1,330,511,500 from the modification and sale of some lands. The former 6,435 hectares of land is now down to 4,334.55 hectares since parts of the land were converted and sold to industrial companies. Hacienda Luisita became one of the most long-time controversial issue in the country as it involves the family of the latest president of the republic of the Philippines, the Cojuangcos. The decision made by the Supreme Court will put an end to long-bound conflicts pertaining to land ownership in Hacienda Luisita between the Cojuangcos and its farmers. The resolution of the supreme court has a great effect on the agrarian reform in the country to protect the rights of the farmers, provide equal opportunities for land tiller and owners, to increase employment and to provide equitable and just assessment for Filipino farmers to alleviate them from poverty.
Hacienda Luisita became a symbol of the current state of agrarian reform in the Philippines as it concerns the issue of land ownership of small tenant farmers who work on the haciendas against the wealthy families who own the haciendas that goes beyond the matter of land rights. It pertains to the matters of who owns and does not own land, how land is used and who shares in the distribution in the produce of the land. It has been known that when Hacienda Luisita is handed down to Jose “Pepe” Cojuangco by the late president Ramon Magsaysay through a peso loan from the Government Insurance System and dollar loan to the Manufacturers Trust Company of New York which was guaranteed by the Central Bank of the Philippines, it was associated with an important condition that after ten years from its purchase in 1958, the 6,435 hectare Hacienda Luisita must be given to its small farmers. However, in 1968, ten years after the agreement, no land was made available to any tenant farmer or sugar planter in Hacienda Luisita, opposite from the agreement made. The Hacienda Luisita workers formed union asked for land distribution but still, no land were distributed and this starts the conflict between
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