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The pronounced yearning to give more to those who have less in life to have
more in law started since time immemorial, and the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform
Law of 1988 is a part of this long history of advocacy. It sustains the rights of the
landless farmers or regular farm workers to directly or collectively own the lands that
they till, or receive a reasonable share on the fruits harvested after an agricultural
period. With this, the government shall ensure that there is just distribution of the
agricultural lands, subject to certain conditions set forth in the law.
The objectives of this law are laid down very clearly. I dare say, however, that the
desired results were not achieved, and that it did not have any significant effect on the
economic well-being of the beneficiaries. The evidence is very apparent; so many
farmers have remained to be landless to date; they still till the lands that they do not
own. I can only conclude as to what went wrong along the way. I guess graft and
corruption stepped in, and swallowed the good intentions of the law and the people.
This is a saddening fact because if we will not alleviate the issue on graft and
corruption, then we can never expect ourselves to rise above poverty. They plainly go
together. The much-trumpeted social justice will always evade us in the process.