We told you so…

It is with undisguised pleasure that I watch “the rice shortage” unraveling… and what a ridiculous irony that it should happen during the administration of the Lubao peasant’s daughter, the demanding dwarf.  After all, it was “poor boy from Lubao’s” grand vision that brought this misery to fruition… proving the old maxim that “What comes around, goes around.”

First, we no longer have enough agricultural lands planted to rice; the tenants who acquired them from the landowners sold them off immediately to eager Chinese businessmen who knew their real estate potential.  Second, unscrupulous and rich Chinese traders are hoarding hundreds of thousands of cavans of rice in anticipation of big profits with the world rise in commodity prices.  While I think they are just being their usual brilliant selves, expediting the starvation of a people is beyond all justification, and they should absolutely be hanged in public at the Luneta for that with all the fanfare that our silly politicians can muster [ think of all the “pogi” points they would get from the entertainment-starved populace ].

“Poor Boy from Lubao,” in one of his hungry hallucinations, remembered a grand scheme he had read in Socialist literature to liberate the poor farmers from the oppression of the rich landowners:  agrarian reform.  So he made an inner vow that should the impossible come true and he become President, he would implement his memorable hungry hallucination.  He introduced it as a law but did not have the “cojones” / balls to implement it.  That was because, being the naively intelligent peasant that he was, he knew all along that it wouldn’t work, but that it was madly effective for political grandstanding.  “Dadong” the dodo.

Come “Ilocano dictator” after “poor boy from Lubao.”  Agrarian reform was not his brainchild — an infinitely more brilliant man than his predecessor, the unceasing accumulation of gold in Swiss banks was more to his pragmatic tastes — but it sure was a convenient way of amassing the votes of the poor majority at the same time breaking the power of the uncooperative “oligarchs.”  Furthermore, it was a great way to distract the populace from the private indulgences — not always “pro-poor” — of “the New Society.”

So the lands were forcibly taken from their rightful owners.  And what did the foolish tenant recipients do???  They sold them to the first Chinese businessmen that came sallying along — hungry for investments with their plentiful cash — and bet the proceeds on their favorite “jueteng,” “monte,” and “panguingue” games.  And they ended up worse off than they had ever been before.  No land, no capital.  Nada.

Glorious agrarian reform was supposed to uplift the plight of the poor farmers.  Of course.  Tell us then why they continue to besiege us former landowners asking for loans and help for a thousand problems that plague them.  Tell us why their young daughters now work as prostitutes [ or “entertainers” ] in Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and wherever else.  Tell us why their young sons now work in male massage parlors and do not hesitate “to do what is necessary.”  Face it, agrarian reform in the Philippines is a failure.  The current disastrous state of our agriculture proves it.   It may have had its pitiful, hypocritical public relations successes here and there, but by and large it was a hilarious exercise in political grandstanding.

We already told you nearly 40 years ago that your indiscriminate and ill-supported agrarian reform would result in agricultural unproductivity and an eventual rice shortage.  No, no, no.  Your political self-aggrandizement was of the utmost importance.  You had to be the star at all costs!!!

Abraham Lincoln did say:  “You cannot give to the poor by taking from the rich.”

Go stew in your own oil.  Make sure it’s olive, virgin, first press, first class.  Add seasonings of insults and recriminations to taste.  Scandals would be delicious.

That’s what one gets when he takes what isn’t his.


I am perfectly aware that this rant is “politically incorrect.”  But I am just too thrilled — my blood is gurgling with delight inside my resurgent veins, raring for vengeance — by what is happening to keep silent.  Absolutely delightful, methinks!!!

All Life is like that, isn’t it???  What was brilliant in the past could be totally irrelevant today.



  1. Christian Manao Palma said,

    September 22, 2011 at 4:39 pm


    I can relate to this post and I do agree. My brother and myself have been watching and trying to buy rice terraces for about 5 years now. Every one we do come accross are owned patially by a chinese partner who actually is the whole partner and the filipino who is just the front man who actually does not own any stake in the rice terrace at all. One issue my brother Lawrence and myself have is that the typical rice terraces are being ran by the elders who are currently in their 50’s or older. The children want nothing to do with farming and school and friends are their number one priority. Rice planting it is a dying tradition. So when the elders pass on, there are acutally no one left to tend to the rice terraces. Then the rice terraces get passed down to the children who will then sell the property and squander the earnings.

    Another issue I have is that the elders who happens to be a farmer is pawning and selling family items and heilooms to the Indians from India for their child to get a better education and the children take it for granted later on in life. This who cares about the future live for the moment crap is wrong and should not be tollerated. I understand education is important, but family is family and the family sold and suffered for you, you must do the same for them and not abandon them when they get the chance to come accross money.

    What happened to the old days where the father would teach the son religion, how to harvest and how to gather for food. Instead they spend spend spend with no savings on the horizon until it is all gone and there is nothing left. Then I find them later squatting on one of my properties with nothing to show.

    Dont get me started on religion because all the church’s need more church leaders and the new generation dont want anything to do with that either. Which is wrong!!!!!!

    Barong Tagalog weavers is another art that is dying in the Philippines. Only the elders are doing it and that is why the costfor them are so expensive. No younger generation wants to create them anymore. Leaving elders to create them until they pass on.

    Geeeezzzz i’m pissed. Great Post and great job though!!!!!

    Christian Palma

  2. April 23, 2008 at 12:28 pm


    Ahahahah!!! There is no way in the world that our family, even in those days, could be termed as “oligarchs”!!! By definition, an “oligarch is a privileged and powerful person who is a member of a small governing faction.” In that sense, only the leading members of grand and politically powerful [ albeit discreet ] Filipino families like the Zobel de Ayala, Madrigal, Cojuangco, and Lopez could qualify for that term.

    What was “Bad Boy from Batac” anyway but an Elected Oligarch??? That is something all historians should realize.

    Also, it is an undisputable fact that the Philippines veered closest to being a “Banana Republic” under the talents of “Poor Boy from Lubao” but even more so by “Bad Boy from Batac.”

    Toto Gonzalez

  3. qwerty said,

    April 23, 2008 at 7:53 am

    my own family’s small holdings were diminished even further by land reform in the New Society. but that is too far off in the past for me. interesting to read how emotions simmer to date and to read a personal tirade from an affected party. you see, i belong to the camp which applauds the gumption of Marcos for shoving it to the oligarchy. i can see where you’re coming from and i sympathize with you enough to write this note. my guess is if dadong and macoy didnt do it, the huks and the commies (or a more violent force) would have taken over and done the dirty job. it’s not too far fetched. think nicaragua, el salvador, even cambodia.

  4. cousin paz said,

    April 23, 2008 at 3:31 am


    I can only agree with your post. You read what was on my mind. To this day we suffer from the ill effects of Agrarian Reform with “thick-skinned” tenants even selling their so-called “rights” to more enterprising businessmen. Worse, they even threaten us with their alleged connections from the left.

    Now this Demanding Dwarf even has the gull to use the campaign tag – “Pagkain sa bawat mesa!” Hello! Ang daming mesa … walang pagkain!

    Cousin Paz

  5. kong wi said,

    April 23, 2008 at 3:15 am

    i quite agree with you toto…we lose our sugarlands and most rice lands to “agrairian reform”…some of the farmers have used the lands they got for loans, but they were not able to pay up…so a lot of our lands went to banks…were auctioned off, and now are owned by developers…too bad…even our former tenants are sad to what happened…oh well…

  6. joy dabao akeley said,

    April 23, 2008 at 12:28 am

    i’m with you, toto,

    there are a few folks here in negros who continue to fight this legalized form of land grabbing…and doing so with guns! were the motives for this program ever pure? and did it work? now we know, and we’ll see in a couple of months if this madness will be allowed to go on.

    thank you, toto, for your blog. this new form of expression has been described as the new “weapon of mass destruction.” this is a healthy way to vent really, and a lot cheaper than therapy! off i go to another blog. i have joined the mob there. the ills of our country are beyond belief!

    but we also see beauty and wit, as seen clearly in your life and in your stories! even in anger!


  7. LCIN said,

    April 22, 2008 at 11:28 pm

    Toto, so what if “people will say that this is a rant from some penurious descendant of a once-landed family”?

    Our forefathers acquired those lands through hard work and honest means. True to your word, no one had the right to take it away…..

    I share the same sentiments.

  8. April 22, 2008 at 9:43 pm


    I am usually a peace-loving person. But Injustice like that makes me carry an UZI and turn into a mass murderer / serial killer.

    Toto Gonzalez

  9. dalokkanon said,

    April 22, 2008 at 8:12 pm

    BRAVO!!! Well said! I could feel your passion seeping through my veins — I was getting angrier and angrier with every word. Elitist? No! Realistic, yes!

  10. April 22, 2008 at 6:10 pm


    Oh yes… very honest about that one!!! The most shamelessly outspoken piece I have ever written. And I mean every goddamn word of it. To the bone!!!

    Why would you have that “vague crisis of conscience” if your grandparents were able to save your lands from Agrarian Reform??? Unless they acquired those properties through dishonest means, then they did the right thing!!! What they did was nothing more than safeguard the fruits of their honest labor, which is Everyone’s Right wherever you go in the world. But that was something that many Filipino landowning families were not able to do, for one reason or the other…

    To continue…

    Brilliant “Ilocano Dictator” thought, and planned, that spectacular “sweeping changes” must accompany his declaration of Martial Law on 21 September 1972 so that it would appear justifiable, so he declared the immediate implementation of the Agrarian Reform Law, which was not his original brainchild but that of his wimpy predecessor “Poor Boy from Lubao,” who was promptly and pitilessly shunted to the sidelines of Oblivion with the rise of his “Bad Boy from Batac” successor. Fear with capital F-E-A-R was the specialty of “Bad Boy from Batac”… until the only people he actually feared, the “Brawny Buff Bastards” turned on him fourteen years later.

    Our family was one of the first victims of the 1972 Agrarian Reform. I was only five years old and blissfully ignorant of Life’s crises and difficulties. Years later, my [ late ] father told me that All the Landowners were summoned to the Central Bank for a meeting. They were directed to immediately surrender their agricultural lands for redistribution to the tenants. They were not informed of any “Retention” [ and I can still present living eyewitnesses ]. Nada. The prominent Nueva Ecija and Manila heiress Atty. Pacita Ongsiako de los Reyes-Philips protested vehemently, of course to no avail.

    My beloved 69 year old grandmother “Lola Charing,” Dona Rosario Arnedo de Gonzalez, ill with severe diabetes, took it very badly. Two weeks after the announcement, she had a near fatal heart attack, lapsed into depression, and never recovered until her death five years later in May 1977. I vividly remember her looking out to her rose garden: frail, shivering from severe diabetes, pain and disbelief in her face. It was not the loss of the lands that pained her per se, it was the pitiless robbing of the memories of the love and work she had shared with my industrious grandfather — something to which an ill, decent, old lady should never have been subjected!!! Under any circumstances. I loved my Lola Charing deeply, and because Agrarian Reform killed her, The Madman in Me made an inner vow that someday when I rise to some form of power, I will hunt down the perpetrators of Agrarian Reform and their descendants and exact revenge from them. I will make them pay, and pay heavily.

    The vast lands were not inherited; the smaller parcels were sentimental legacies from various Gonzalez, Sioco, Rodriguez, Arnedo, and Espiritu ancestors. My grandfather Don Augusto Gonzalez and my grandmother lived austerely their entire married life during PreWar just to be able to purchase those agricultural lands. No grand houses, no fancy cars, no splendid clothes, dresses and shoes, no jewelry, no society parties, no travel, no frivolities. Nada. Frugality upon frugality. And then for what…???!!!

    People will say that this is a rant from some penurious descendant of a once-landed family. Happily enough, I can frankly declare that things now have never been better in all of our family history!!! But I will not let pass the injustice, indignity, ignominy, and suffering that the 1972 Agrarian Reform brought upon us. Those “sin verguenza” sonsofbitches. They should be subjected to what the Jews did to Jesus Christ in the Mel Gibson film “The Passion of the Christ.” And they will. Nothing less.

    All I’m saying is: One should be happy with the fruits of his honest labor — be it big or small — without Anyone taking it away from Him.

    But that is Life, isn’t it???!!! Simply put: People will always want what the Others have, no matter what. *from firsthand experience*

    Toto Gonzalez

  11. maiden said,

    April 22, 2008 at 5:04 pm

    may i just say thank you for your honesty? i grew up having this vague crisis of conscience because my grandparents somehow got around That law and saved most of the family lands ‘back there.’ what you said has opened a new perspective for me.

  12. April 22, 2008 at 12:32 pm

    chong mo:

    CARP “Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program.” That’s about as outmoded as telling the kids these days that the sex symbols of those days were Merle Fernandez and Rosanna Ortiz. Positively Jurassic. *shakes head*

    Toto Gonzalez

  13. chong mo said,

    April 22, 2008 at 7:49 am

    Lets just hope and pray CARP doesn’t get extended.

  14. yangsky said,

    April 22, 2008 at 3:46 am

    Same thing is happening over in Zimbabwe. The Government turned over the White-owned farms to the black farmers, but the black farmers didn’t make good use of the land that was given to them, because they don’t have the finances and technical know-how to properly cultivate the land.

  15. April 22, 2008 at 3:30 am


    I transferred your very interesting comment about the Japanese Imperial Family to the blog posts “Tito Jorge, Jorge Jose Leoncio de Leon y Lichauco, the aristocratic gentleman of the Old World” and “Familia Arnedo de Sulipan, Apalit, Pampanga” where it really belongs.


    Toto Gonzalez

  16. Juancho L. Baylon said,

    April 21, 2008 at 11:04 pm

    i heard from some family members how some branches of government offices in some municipalities and cities have to lay-off personnel as cost cutting measures for lack of funds due to low collection of taxes arising from non-payments made by these new tenant-recipients due to bankruptcy and lack of capital.

  17. LCIN said,

    April 21, 2008 at 3:23 am

    the agrarian reform…..grrr >:/

  18. periphery said,

    April 21, 2008 at 12:35 am

    LOL. Tell us how you really feel, why don’t you. 🙂

    I agree with you, though. My family never had a heck of a lot of land to begin with. Just around 200-300 hectares or something like that. But by the time this whole land reform business reached its ugly climax, we were down to a total of 30 hectares, which is what we still have today “back in the old country”. Never did have rice farms, though… just coffee and fruit orchards of various kinds…

  19. April 21, 2008 at 12:23 am

    You know my family did not belong to the illustrious “hacenderos” of Old Pampanga but rather illicit recipients of their largesse through “The New Society” but I totally agree with you. Economies of Scale are very much a truth in this hullaballoo.

    Somehow my grandaunts’ memories of Old Pampanga still haunt me… back when Jose Yabut, Conrado Yabut, and Nemesio Yabut held sway and their part of Pampanga was a picturesque little old town filed with “azucareras,” “palay,” and occasional mango orchards.

    Now, all we have are our collection of coconut tracts throughout Eastern Visayas.

    The least we could do is improvise our end products and substitute “cocobread” for “trigo,” cocodiesel for petrol, et. al. in anticipation of this momentous famine.

    The only problem is that the weather there is not cooperating. The Pacific winds are too strong. Oh! And it’s so hard to bring the expensive processing plants in. The NPAs / “comunistas” still hide under the coconut fronds. And yes, the courts still consider some of the lands as “sequestered” when they definitely should NOT be.

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