Elites and Agrarian Reform in the Philippines

First published 1991/02

By David Wurfel University of Windsor. Published by IPD, February 1991.
This project has grown out of the recent proliferation of literature on state capacity, especially Joel Migdal, Strong Societies and Weak States; Merilee Grindle, Politics and Policy Implementation in the Third World; and Gillian Hart et al, Agrarian Transformation: Local Processes and the State in Southeast Asia.

The concept of a “strong” state here—one with a degree of “capacity” or “autonomy”—is that of a bureaucratic structure capable of the implementing the decisions of state leaders, regardless of internal societal or foreign pressures. It is widely recognized that state “strength” rises with rising state legitimacy. Democratic theory goes further to point out that in a politically mobilized society responsiveness to societal demands is a key requirement for legitimacy. Thus there is a seeming contradiction with an emphasis on the virtues of a strong state which we must address later.

The literature posits that state capacity varies over time and may be policy specific. We would add that it may vary as well from region to region. Thus it is possible to compare a state widely regarded as quite weak, the Philippines, (with the lowest collection of income tax as a percentage of GNP in ASEAN) and one with an earlier image of great strength, Vietnam. But both are having difficulty in implementing new agrarian policies-for Vietnam particularly in the south. (Research on Vietnam will be pursued during field observations in March and April.) In both cases local elites have some control over economic as well as political resources. And both local elites exercise leverage on the center because they are needed: for elections, to help impose peace and order, or for revenue extraction. Thus local elites, as well as national, have the ability to obstruct, evade or implement policy, even though national elites have some means for restricting the actions of their local counterparts.

Our research task is first to understand how agrarian reform is, or is not, implemented in four selected provinces in four regions: Bataan, Camarines Sur,Negros Occidental and Basilan. (These provinces were chosen on the basis of different cropping patterns and land tenure arrangements—and research access.)

Then we must analyze how implementation has been affected by the behavior of local elites. (The way in which national elites emasculated the framework of policy, RA 6657, has already been well documented.)

We use the term “elite” to mean top powerholders, and since the study focuses on agrarian reform, this means particularly those who exercise power over that policy area—even though at the local level power tends to be more generalized and less policy specific than at the center. While the socio-economic components of the informal, non-office-holding, elite may indeed be identified as coming from a single social class, the term “elite” is defined primarily in power, not class, terms. And because elites are understood to exercise power through the control of wealth, as well as through control of government or social institutions, we have identified elites both in terms of institutional office-holding”, and through the less precise process of consultation with informants knowledgeable about the informal elite. Limitations of time and money have prevented our undertaking more than twelve interviews at the provincial level or more than 12 in each of the two municipalities targeted in the four selected provinces. Governors and mayors, provincial and municipal agrarian reform officers (PAROs and MAROs), bishops and parish priests, as well as economic elites, were always included. But in addition to obtaining elite perceptions through interviews, we have attempted to chronicle elite actions (including those they would not admit) through documenting case studies of particular problems and conflicts.

ll. Empirical Finding

A. Status of Agrarian Reform Implementation Nationally

(see also paper by Prof. Ed Tadem given at International Conference on Agrarian Reform in Nueva Ecija)

1. OLT

Most of the accomplishments reported by DAR are Emancipation Patent distribution, now reaching about 45% of the scope of the program set in the 1970’s. This distribution has been slowed by the requirement of the Supreme Court (G.R.78742, Aug. 23, 1990) that payment to landowners be completed first. This allows LO non-cooperation in providing documentation (required prerequisites to Land Bank payment), which has been growing due to the low price set for PD 27 land, to slow EP distribution to a nearly halt. (LOs of nearly 50,000 has. of land, on which EP were distributed, have not been paid.) And often where LOs have not been paid, they are still receiving rent from their former tenants.

2. CARP

(a) Foreclosed Lands.

Despite EO 407 (June 1990), which speeded the glacial transfer of title from banks to OAR, many properties are classified as VDS (in Basilan, most VDS are from banks). While 42,000 has. As of January 1991 had been transferred from government banks to OAR, there were more than 200,000 has estimated yet to be transferred. [Memo from Undersec Medina, Jan. 8, 1991]. But because of the recency of the transfer of these lands to OAR, there is no evidence of the issuance of CLDAs (Certificate of land ownership award) yet. In fact, some foreclosed lands are still under the control of their original owners, as in Negros Occ., so distribution may not be as easy as first imagined. In any case, identification of beneficiaries may be difficult, because such lands often have no legal occupants.

(b) Sequestered Lands.

OAR ICD reports 41,000 has. of PCGG and APT lands transferred to OAR as of January 1991. But in Negros, which reported nearly 10,000 has. of PCGG and APT properties, the hectarage of many Benedicto and E. Cojuangco lands was not included. Large portions of those lands are still under the effective control of Benedicto and Cojuangco interests, enforced by armed guards. There has been no transfer to FBs so far of sequestered land.

© VOS

As of mid-1990 VOS covering over 430,000 has. had been received in the central office of DAR, but claim files submitted to LBP covered only 8,109 has., and the LBP had approved payment on only 3,083 has. On June 14th EO 405 transferred valuation of land to the LBP, and almost no payments to owners have been made since. Both Camarines Sur and Negros Occidental have an above average area under VDS, with 25-30,000 has. and 30,000 has. respectively. In Camarines Sur, VDS land is equal to more than half of the “over 50 has.” category; in Basilan it is nearly half,; and in Negros Occ., less than one-third. This is the category of land transfer that has attracted most attention and created most farmer beneficiary (FB) expectation. But some LOs, discouraged by LBP’s slow payment, and by reports of low valuation, have stopped supplying documentation. Nationally only 5% of prices set by the LBP have so far been accepted by LOs. Fortunately DAR, under RA 6657, may make payments to a trust fund for the LD even without his acceptance and proceed with redistribution.

(d) Stock option/cooperative ownership

While these two aspects of the law may seem quite different, one providing for the transfer of land ownership and the other not, they may have much the same outcome. In both cases the original plantation owners may retain the right of operation.

The Hda. Luisita pattern is best known, and it stimulated other applications, both in Negros Occ. and Basilan. In Negros Occ. over 13,000 has. are under application for profit sharing and stock option, or more than 1/10 of land held by owners with more than 50 has., according to LISTASAKA. The text of only one such proposal was examined—that of Sime Darby in Basilan. It seemed to be more generous than the arrangement in Hda. Luisita: the land may have been undervalued, at 181. of total assets, but it was to be donated to workers and a separate corporation formed under their control which would lease land back to Sime Darby to operate. Foreshadowing the possibility that Sime Darby might not declare any “profit” and thus not pay land rent, Sime Darby promised annual payments of a P200,000 “bonus”(less than P500 per worker). Because the NFL has a strong affiliate in Sime Darby, Latuan, this deal was rejected-and the owner has filed for deferment, even though the deadline has passed!

In the UP-NDC estate in Lamitan, CLOAs have been transferred to a cooperative (dominated, to be sure, by management and office workers),which then signed a lease-bark operation agreement with the corporation formed by the Mayor of Lamitan, TRC. In Tumahubong, Basilan, the NFL is trying to operate the estate through a worker’s coop—even before receiving a CLDA. But under considerable harassment it may fail.

Transferring both ownership and control of plantations to workers will not be easy, since they presently lack capital, managerial skills, and even organizational cohesion.

(e) Compulsory Acquisition (CA)

Despite priority given to this aspect of the law by both Secs. Santiago and Abad, only identification of some lands was accomplished; now there is no further activity. The registration of beneficiaries under AD No. 10, 1989, or LISTATAD, began briefly, but was not finished. CA is bound to create the greatest LD opposition.

(f) Problems

DAR implementation is plagued by problems, derived from the law itself, from lack of presidential commitment, and thus the revolving door~ of secretaries, from LO resistance, and from the non-cooperation of other agencies. The brief three months under Secretary Abad showed what might be accomplished under existing laws and structures. Squeezing out Abad was second only to the law itself as major efforts of the landed elite on the national level lo sabotage reform.

Policy confusion—with field personnel often not knowing what rules to apply, and thus doing nothing—is the result of rapid turnover at the top, and the law’s own vagueness. On again and off again on CA, and change of procedures on land valuation are only the two most obvious. Rules were changed to liberalize issuance of EPs (and thus show “accomplishment”), but reversed by the Supreme Court in 1990. And the quality of statistics are often so poor that the responsible officer does not know what they mean.

Inter-agency wrangling has seriously delayed the program. This is basically a result of presidential disinterest and the fai1ure- of PARC to adequately fulfill its coordinating role. “Centerpiece” is indeed “decorative and immobile” as described in Camarines Sur. PARCOMS have not functioned, (even though the chairs were finally appointed in 1990) and were thus replaced late last year with PCITs (Provincial CARP Implementing Teams) which exclude NGOs except in Negros Occ. and Bukidnon. In Region V the DAR regional Director, himself a former head of the Nueva Ecija Integrated Rural Development Program, established a Regional CIT. Coordination seems to be best when NGOs are involved. Though it has been reported that DAR would like to establish a, municipal CIT, there has been no evidence of implementation.

Despite increased emphasis on “implementing teams”, the relationship of the two main CARP agencies, DAR and the Land Bank, often seems like guerilla warfare, with each describing the valuation process differently. The two agencies are tossing VOS claim files back and forth like hot potatoes. And both the Registrar of Deeds and mortgaging banks have sometimes refused to provide necessary documents, saying they are “understaffed”.

But perhaps what best illustrates the weakness of OAR in inter-agency conflict is the fact that the PARO does not even know how much in CARP funds other line agencies in the province have received, and DAR has no control whatsoever over their use. Only 29.5’l. of CARP funds nationally have gone to DAR. This is the “lead agency”?! In Naga, the DTI used CARP funds to finance a conference of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce!

Yet as great as they are, acquisition problems may be small compared to distribution problems. Under OLT land reform has proven to be a leaky bucket. As soon as some FBs get land, they begin to transfer rights, to pay debts or get new credit. Nobody knows how much land has been so transferred because there is a conspiracy of silence. Even survey research may not be able to break that conspiracy. Best estimates are that about 30’l. of OLT land has been illegally’ transferred.

In CARP, unlike OLT (in which the plot being cultivated was simply transferred to the tenant occupant), the very task of identifying the FB is fraught with all kinds of difficulties. If land is worked by hacienda management with lists of workers, the problem may not be too serious — unless the land is not sufficient for both contract and permanent workers. If land was not occupied or cultivated immediately before DAR acquisition, as 1n the Picuaria Estate, Bula, Camarines Sur, then you may have pitched battles between groups of potential FBs. Very seldom has the Barrio Agrarian Reform Committee (BARC) been of any help.

One cannot be sanguine about the impact on DAR of projected IMF-mandated budget cuts. They have already lost casual employees. Will much-needed contract surveyors be next? But more important than the loss of essential personnel is the loss of working time that will be devoted to tsismis, tactical confabs, and negotiations triggered by the prospect of terminations. The recent union charge against Sec. Leong was only the first round. Tension will also reinvigorate factional differences between appointees of various secretaries.

Yet for all its faults, we must remember that CARL is the first agrarian reform law in Philippine history to be passed primarily as a result of mass pressure (probably even greater than the case of the 1971 amendments) Also even despite the nonfunctioning of PARCOMs and BARCs, there is more NGO-PO monitoring of and participation in implementation than ever before – though it must grow.

B. Local Elites Response.

We have divided local elites, as power holders, into official, both administrative and elected, and unofficial) both socio-economic elites and counter-elites. (The last category includes all those who aspire to exercise decisive influence over policy, and would include NGO leaders.) We cannot yet report on case studies because they are still incomplete.

1. Administrative Elites

We have touched on one response of administrative elites already when talking of inter-agency wrangling. Most agencies who receive CARP funds are happy for the money (P7.7 billion has been distributed to other agencies but only P3.2 billion to DAR), but don’t want supervision of expenditure by DAR. Most funds (except P3.2 billion for the Land Bank and those for DAR) have had only indirect or partial benefit for FBs. Only a few agencies like the Registrar of Deeds (perhaps piqued by failure to get sufficient CARP funds) have obstructed agrarian reform. In some cases the Registrar of Deeds is now being provided special assistance in the search for titles.

The military is a special sub-category. In all four provinces CARP implementation is surrounded by, but, except in Negros, little affected by counter-insurgency. In Camarines Sur, the insurgency is mostly at the fringes of the CARP area, though the Army has recently come in to Isarog Pulp and Paper in Tigaon, which is awaiting VOS payment. The PNP Provincial Director claims that the NPA is not using agrarian reform themes in their communications as much as they did earlier. There is no private funding of CAFGU and the only reports of PC or PNP pro-landowner bias was when they were breaking up land occupations on court orders, as in Tinambac. But the director’s level of political understanding was revealed in his quick labeling of some pop-dem groups as “CPP fronts”.

In Basilan there are so many armed groups of different religious and political persuasions, that landowners have mostly hired their own guards, rather than link1ng up with the PC/PNP, though Sime Darby did pay CAFGUs in their Latuan plantation. Widespread abuses by earlier Army units have apparently ceased to be a problem with the replacement Marines.

Negros Occidental is different. Sugar plantations have been openly funding the “special CAFGU”, though the present PNP Director says this should be phased out. Thus the CAFGU are often tools of the landowners—although sometimes rusty tools. There have been recent public demonstrations by CAFGU for their failure to be paid. (Funds going through PNP officers sometime don’t reach the CAFGU rank and file.) The military has been quick to label some farmers organizations as “Communist fronts”, and has harassed them accordingly. Even though the NFSW has been cooperating with DAR on particu1ar projects since early last year, the PNP Director, Col. Velasco, didn’t know that. Velasco, who is a member of the PCIT, did end one abuse when brought to his attention: a PNP sergeant and officer were leasing land from an hacendero who was resisting reform. When the matter was brought to PCIT, they were immediately reassigned. But then, recently in Hda. Bautista in Escalante, under- VOS with 35 DAR recognized FBs who were members of NFSW, CAFGUs cut down 300 coconut trees and sold them for lumber in Bacolod because they had not been paid. Sugar planters and the military may have created a monster they can’t control.

2. Elected Officials

(This includes Congressmen, who are national/local intermediaries).

Elected officials have had a much smaller role to play than has the administrative elite… In fact, governors in Camarines Sur and Basilan were somewhat bitter about being “left out” of CARP. (In Negros Occidental, on the other hand, the governor chairs the PCIT.) And mayors have never been involved in any formal way with DAR activities. Heads of line agencies have long tried to minimize “interference” by mayors and governors. In the case of DAR they seem to have been successful (except in Basilan).

Gov. Lacson of Negros Occidental regards himself as a strong proponent of reform, even though his 60-30-10 plan was seen by some as an attempt to preempt CARP. But that plan is now largely dormant, with many landowners taking back their land. Lacson now appears to be supporting CARP. He has even included PClT in his concept of KABlSlG, and claims it is the first linkage of KABISIG and CARP. .

Gov. Salapudin of Basilan now sees himself as champion of Yakan ancestral land claims—it is even linked to his reelection. This could become a major obstacle to CARP. Gov. Villafuerte of Camarines Sur, on the other hand, has a more. typical position—he wants to be for CARP as well as critical of it.

3. Socio-Economic Elite

(Other than” the church, this is mainly landlords.) The Bishop in Basilan supports CARP, human rights and BCCs, almost as strongly as Bishop Fortich did in Negros. But now the church in Negros Occidental is deeply split, with Bishop Gregorio trying to undermine the earlier work of Fortich, but so far not too successfully. The conservative Archbishop in Naga has given the tone to the church there, though some clergy are active in social reform.

Landowner responses to CARP differ among the provinces studied, but also show a common pattern. The first stage reaction was the brave call to arms by Congresswoman Starke and her ilk. And there are medium-sized landowners (50-300 has.) who still voice such sentiments, in Basilan as well as Negros.

The second stage, after the landowner has had a brief study of the provisions of RA 6657, (which created an awareness that it wasn’t so bad” after all) and a recognition that some implementation was inevitable, followed two alternate paths, evasion and manipulation.

The first and easiest step in evasion was to refuse to participate in LISTASAKA. This removed perhaps 30% of the landowners from the CARP process. Other, cruder, means were threats and court cases against DAR field workers to keep them away. Evasion also included transfer of land to children, predating sales.

The second alternative was to manipulate the law: make a killing on vas, convert agricultural land to urban, ask deferment, or, like Luz Farms, go to court and get livestock poultry removed from CARP coverage.

After many of these initiatives were taken, in 1988 and ’89, landowners found it possible to relax a bit. In Negros and Bicol, as well as Bataan .and Basilan, the insurgency waned and many imagined that it was over. Furthermore, after the brief flurry of activity under Abad, they became more confident that DAR was not going to move to Compulsory Acquisition (CA). Annoyed at reports of niggardly pricing by the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP), even some who had filed for VOS decided to abandon the quest and hang on to their land—though with slumping world rubber prices this was less likely in Basilan.

Those landowners able to file for VOS and wait for payment tended to be those with diversified holdings, not so emotionally attached to the land, partly because they did not live on it, or perhaps even manage it. Thus this approach was easier for corporate owners. But the hostility to DAR intervention remains strong among medium-sized landowners and would probably be reactivated by any decision to move to compulsory acquisition.

In these efforts toward evasion or manipulation landowners have sometimes found allies in the military, or even DAR itself, but do not seem to have turned to local elected officials for help. Congressmen, on the’ other hand, as in the Garchitorena scam, may be crucial mediators between landowners and OAR. But, as might have been expected, landowners have acted as individuals to protect their own land, not as a class—except in Negros, where mechanisms were already in place to provide funds to the special CAFGUs, and where there was strong leadership.

4. Counter Elites

As pointed out already, counter-elites have a greater role in implementation of agrarian reform than ever before, though they understandably want more. TRIPPARO and the PCIT in Negros Occidental have given them the most prominent role. What is most interesting to note is a shift on the part of the NFSW, the leading PO in Negros Occidental. In 1985 it still struck fear in the hearts of the elite, causing Bitay. Lacson and a few others to talk of reform. Now NFSW has decided that there is more to be gained for the organization and the workers by getting OAR support for NFSW projects for FBs. This seems to be the sharpest policy shift by a major PO in the last year or so. Other heretofore non-cooperative POs may find it more advantageous to their members, and thus their organizations to seek short term benefits by working with DAR.

III. It may be possible to refine the themes of state capacity and elite pressure on administrators.

1. State Capacity.

a) A weak state may be as much a consequence of inter-agency conflicts as it is of societal intrusion, though one may be partly a consequence of the other. Line agencies spent considerable effort fighting for turf long before CARP. But for CARP to have worked (especially for support services to have been adequate), DAR had to be truly the “lead agency”. That it is not is a reflection of opposition to CARP in Congress and in MalacaƱang. The search for the right formula for coordination goes on—from PARCOM, to PCIT, to RCIT, to MCIT?—but in the meantime CARP administrative capacity has suffered—and would suffer even more dramatically from the overload that would be caused by the introduction of compulsory acquistion. For a weak state is only made weaker by attempting to do too much.Overload so strains state capacity that even what it was achieving before may be jeopardized.

b) A weak state can also be weakened by too many competing demands from targeted beneficiaries, or even NGOs. The difficulty of weighing the merits of competing claims couched in the same terms and drawing on the same values can paralyze a bureaucratic organization especially one with inadequate facilities for field investigation.

c) Under present circumstances, however, a weak state, or penetrable bureaucracy, may not be all bad for agrarian reform. It is more vulnerable to NGO/PO pressure than if it were “strong”. Thus if NGOs/POs are better informed, better organized and wiser tactically than landed elites, then they have a chance to decisively influence policy and its implementation. In fact, as mass pressures build, the state becomes stronger in the sense that it becomes easier to implement the law, which elite pressures are trying to frustrate. Furthermore, pressures from elite and mass balance responsiveness, creating greater legitimacy. And legitimacy is a source of state strength. This is a linkage that the literature on state capacity sometimes overlooks, equating all societal penetration of the bureaucracy with “weakness”.

Another question also arises in connection with increased NGO/PO participation in policy implementation. Is there a danger of them becoming coopted by the state, thus becoming less effective channels of mass demands? The answer probably depends on the percentage of time and effort which an NGO or PO devotes to that participation, compared to mobilization, education and advocacy work.

d) The assumption of the literature is that levels of state capacity may be policy specific and may change over time. But field investigation makes it clear that there may also be variation from place to place. Even though central agencies are ostensibly identical in all provinces, they work under different societal pressures. Where mass pressures are poorly organized and articulated, CARP implementation will be weaker.

2. Elite Opposition and Manipulation

a) The intensity of economic elite opposition to CARP seems to be a function of the degree of economic security of the landowner. For instance, those who depend for livelihood (and lifestyle) entirely on a 100 hectare farm are going to be more hostile than those with diverse interests. (Nonong Trivino, owning more than 1000 hectares in Camarines Sur may be an exception to this rule. He seems to have the resources to leave the farm in comfort, but seems willing to commit his life to hanging on to the estate by establishing a cooperative he controls—and keeping out DAR.)

b) Administrative or elected elites who attempt to use segments of the CARP process for personal gain only weaken it further, e.g. a department head who wants to bolster his image of accomplishment by the issue of meaningless CBCs, or a senator who wants to use BARCs for his campaign.

IV. Policy Implications

1. If overstretching DAR’s administrative capabilities, or “administrative overload”, is an important problem, then DAR must avoid introducing new procedures and mechanisms until present programs are mostly completed. Thus no asset swaps or direct payments by FBs to landowners (designed to conserve DAR’s. budget) or compulsory acquisition should be introduced in the next two years, at least. threatening or prom1sing to do what can’t be done well (e.g. compulsory acquisition) harms FBs by strengthening landowners resistance—for landowners listen to DAR rhetoric—or evasion, while raising and dashing FB expectat1ons. And FB discouragement can as easily lead to disillusionment with agrarian reform itself as with the regime. Distribution of VOS and GFI lands will itself be a new and difficult challenge, requiring more NGO/PO presence to help identify beneficiaries, and a fundamental recasting of BARC. Even though the procedure for reorganizing BARCs under Administrative Order 14 is an improvement, the method of selection is still confused and lacks legitimacy—an essential requirement if BARCs are to engage in dispute settlement. Furthermore, a careful, closely monitored implementation of AO 14, requiring intimate knowledge of politics in each barangay, plus many hours of DAR technicians’ time may be beyond DAR’s capability. (Perhaps BARCs could be made committees of the barangay council, selected by that council in categories prescribed by A014.)

2. The Land Bank also suffers from administrative overload. One major cause should certainly be stopped: the parcel by parcel valuation of GFI land. An agreement on intra-governmental bookkeeping should under the leadership of PARC. Is that possible?

3. Speed in LBP payment is crucial because of the decline in investment, specially in plantation agriculture, caused by the uncertainty of CARP implementation. Coconut and rubber replanting have practically halted. The effects will not be fully felt for a few years but could be disastrous at that point. Why not allow a 10-year leaseback to the previous owner, if the land is transferred to a workers’ cooperative and guarantee of replanting is made? The real fight in plantation agriculture will come over control of processing facilities, and if the workers are to acquire them, an amendment to the law will be required. That fight would best come when organizations are stronger and more experienced.

4. In any case, in coconuts far more important than CARP in its potential for transferring wealth and power is the struggle to control for the P35 billion Cocofund, which PCA now seems determined to take away from Cojuanco by introducing elections for Cocofed from the barrio up. A new organizing drive among small coconut farmers is urgent. Opportunities for peasants and workers emerge when elite quarrel.

5. Perhaps the most serious problem in agrarian reform is that FBs are losing their land so soon after they receive titles. It must be addressed. One answer is more adequate support services, but the danger is that bureaucracy or an NGO merely becomes a new patron. More important is to promote rural industrialization. There is circular causation between industrialization and agrarian reform. Each requires the other. For only if the FB has new income sources close at hand can he retain the land. LBP President Vistan’s proposal for a payment premium for landowners who reinvest in the same community is excellent, though a bonus of 50X on the price is a bit rich. If there is no such provision, CARP will drain capital from the countryside, or even facilitate capital export.

6. DAR must recognize NGOs and PO’s as allies in inter-agency fights and bring them into the PCITs. By being willing to be such an ally, NGOs and POs gain leverage over DAR. NGOs should even publicize’ misuse of CARP funds by other agencies.

7. Overall the long term strategy of peasants and their supporters should be to strengthen peasant and rural workers organizations, capitalize on opportunities created by intra-elite conflict, support the growth of DAR administrative capacity, and avoid pitched battles where likely to lose—good guerrilla tactics. General hostility to CARP, rather than just criticism of itforecloses the opportunity to build tactical elite alliances, which will be needed beyond 1992.

People’s initiatives, a valuable stimulus to agrarian policy improvement and implementation, can be successful only if they adhere to this overall strategy.

While these suggestions have been made on the assumption that for the time being it is necessary to work with the present law and administrative framework, the ideal is, of course, to “win big” in 1992, so that a new and better law ,new structures and new leadership may emerge. For no matter how difficult the struggle, or how significant the policy modifications that may be needed, the Philippines cannot afford to give up on agrarian reform.