May 2, 2012
6000 Families Inherit Sugar Cane Estate
The Supreme Court of the Philippines divided Hacienda Luisita, one of the largest estates in the Philippines, among the 6000 families who worked on the large sugar cane plantation. The court's decision carried symbolic value for the people of the Philippines, who have lived under a plantation controlled economy.
In the past, the wealthiest citizens of the Philippines have controlled the government and most of the wealth in the country. This retribution of land is not new and began when the current president's predecessor and mother began the policy of re-distributing land to the farmers of the Philippines in her presidency. She met bitter resistance from both the wealthy plantation owners and members of her own family. Now, the Supreme Court has upheld her idea by dividing her family's plantation. By dividing the plantation, the court hopes to reduce poverty and spread the large concentrations of wealth among the citizens of the country.
The court's decision will distribute about 5,000 acres of land. However, the court's ruling has also met some political controversy. In addition, the allies of the current president have charged the Chief Justice of Supreme Court with corruption for her ties to the former president and political revival of the current president, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
See Floyd Whaley and Norimitsu Onishi, Philippine Court Rules Aquino Estate Must Be Split Among 6,000, New York Times, Apr. 24, 2012.
Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.)) for bringing this article to my attention.
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