"If you’re walking down the right path and you’re willing to keep walking, eventually you’ll make progress." -Barack Obama
After more than a year of Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino'stenure as Philippine president, local opinion asks the hopeful question:
"Could we now be witnessing the dawn of a new era in Philippine Land Reform?"
In the midst of an announcement that draws plaudits from supporters and critics alike, President Noynoy Aquino, after decades of inconclusive decisions and delays, finally and publicly expressed a personal willingness (even appealing to his allied lawyers and relatives) to obey the Supreme Court's decision, calling for the redistribution of agricultural land in his traditional political bailiwick - Hacienda Luisita (located in his home province of Tarlac in the island of Luzon) to at least 6,000 farmer tenants.
It is said that up to 10,000 or even more beneficiaries stand to receive land parcels from the long awaited implementation of the high court's decision. A decision that fueled guarded expectations; that perhaps Noynoy's supporters are beginning to realize why they voted him to Malacanang in the first place.
The high court's decision also revived positive perception of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) and its highly vaunted benefits to countryside folk. Hope is somehow revitalized as more Filipinos expect more changes leading to Noynoy's oft promised proverbial 'Straight Path' ('Daang matuwid' in the vernacular) strengthened by what many perceive to be a "setting of a good example" not just Noynoy's but also from his entire clan (the Aquino's and the Cojuangco's) determination to stay true to promises he made in his election sorties and SONA speeches.
Although the administration is not lacking in critics, this latest act seems to indicate a sincere commitment to genuine change and obedience to the rule of law ; that could also signify a defining moment for Noynoy's presidency. And experts agree that if the current regime show itself committed to this path , then momentum could be on Noynoy's side in the quest to solidify the Aquino government's legacy.
Almost simultaneous with Noynoy's announcement, his predecessor, former president and now Congresswoman Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (CGMA) bids for a transition to house arrest from a hospital confinement on allegations of election fraud. Bringing to fore memories of a similar fate as it happened to another former president, her predecessor, Joseph "Erap" Ejercito Estrada, who also acceded to house arrest on charges of plunder.
Based on these activities, Philippine politics at the highest level seems to be getting more colorful as the year 2011 draws to a close. And as expected, more questions and mixed opinions are formed:
"Will CGMA, the Arroyos, and ther allies in the past administration redeem themselves by revealing more "secret deals" from their extended regime?"
"Is this the "first of many" or the "among "gestures of magnanimity" from wealthy landlords? Or is this an isolated political stunt?"
"Will genuine CARP, a remnant of the Marcos era decades ago, that promised a "new society", finally see full implementation?
"Will these political developments help Filipinos achieve genuine economic recovery and social transformation?"
An archipelago of citizens hungry for sincere and lasting change is waiting to see how the story goes.