Is the government supporting or killing agrarian reform? Based on the current 2012 government budget deliberations, the latter is more likely.
Omi Royondoyan, co-convenor of the “Save Agrarian Reform Alliance,” recently gave us an excerpt on “Declaration of Unity”: “We know from experience that the achievement of agrarian reform goals relies heavily on the annual budget allocated by Congress.”
However, all is not lost. If Congress acts swiftly, an absolutely essential budget component of the Department of Agrarian Reform budget can be included to give agrarian reform hope for success.
Former US President Bill Clinton, in identifying the major factor ailing his country when he was running for president, said, “It’s the economy, stupid!” Economist Bernardo Villegas, when pinpointing the reason why our economic development has lagged behind our Asian neighbors, said, “It’s agriculture, stupid!” In the same vein, when asked why agrarian reform has failed in our country, our response is: “It’s support services, stupid (SSS).”
Some say Christianity has failed in certain areas. The answer is: “Because it has never been tried.” In the same way, we contend that agrarian reform has failed in the Philippines because it has never been truly tried.
Last Feb. 3, 2010, I was asked to be the speaker on agrarian reform at the UP Academic Congress “Beyond 2010: Leadership for the Next Generation.” I worked with Centro Saka’s Carmencita Flores, who specializes in this area. A 21-page document “Making Agrarian Reform Work” resulted from reviewing the various research studies based on actual experiences that differentiated the successful from failed agrarian reform projects.
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