By Raïssa Robles
That was in 1987, when then President Corazon Aquino could have ordered the redistribution of her family’s vast landholdings with a stroke of the pen, using her revolutionary powers.
Social Weather Stations president, Dr. Mahar Mangahas, was kind enough to send me the officially published copy of this report. Earlier, I had posted a “preliminary and confidential” copy which I tagged “secret” because the findings were not made public until after the first Congress had convened on July 1, 1987.
By then, it was too late for the public to know that most Filipinos had wanted Mrs Aquino to use her revolutionary powers to compel the distribution of Hacienda Luisita to farmers.
Dr. Mangahas himself discussed the findings on their survey touching on that most sensitive topic – Hacienda Luisita.
Among the two most important findings he saw were:
Number 1: An “overwhelming number” of respondents wanted Hacienda Luisita placed under land reform (see Number 4)
Number 2: The urgent need for the Cojuangco family “to participate” in the “speedy” redistribution of Hacienda Luisita
I should stress here that Dr. Mangahas was not expressing his personal opinion regarding land reform. He was discussing the SWS findings then regarding this very touchy, incendiary subject.
Dr. Mangahas said respondents saw that Ferdinand Marcos’s land reform program which only touched on rice lands did not go far enough.
Filipinos overwhelmingly wanted land reform to go even further:
Land reform is Cory Aquino’s unfinished business.
It is now up to his son, President Benigno Aquino III, and his relatives on the Cojuangco side to do something about it.
Anything they do will be long remembered in history.
Land reform, as it is today, was designed to fail.
To read Mahar Mangahas’ paper on land reform, click on the following link:
Mangahas, Public Opinion on Land Reform – Mangahas 1987
SWS’ Dr. Mahar Mangahas confirms doing Land Reform survey in 1987
Secret SWS survey told President Cory – most Filipinos want Hacienda Luisita land distributed
I think the only opinion that matters as far as the disposition of land in Hacienda Luisita is that of the farmers in Hacienda Luisita. They will have to live with the consequences of their decision. The public does not.
The public does not know first-hand what it is like to live there. The public knows only from what they are told. They are guided by their perception but the farmers are guided by their experience. It is an issue to the public, it is reality to the farmers.