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Bohol's Dagohoy pioneered in Land Reform
« on: August 26, 2007, 08:08:07 PM »
Written By Engineer Jes Tirol

LEGACY OF THE DAGOHOY REVOLUTION
   
Proem

The official report of Major Manuel Sanz to Governor General Mariano Ricarfort stated that the Dagohoy Revolution in Bohol officially ended on August 31, 1829. That revolution was started by Francisco Sendrijas alias "Dagohoy" on July 4, 1744.

When the revolution was defeated, the leader of the Boholanos was already Handog who was a son of Dagohoy. The co-leader was Awag or Cawag, another son of Dagohoy.

Legacy of Freedom

When we hear speeches about the Dagohoy Revolution, we always hear the political aspects such as the love of freedom, independence, and the fight against tyranny.

However, seldom can you hear being mentioned the legacies in the social and cultural aspects.

First Land Reform

According to the Year 2000 census, ninety-seven percent (97%) of Boholanos own or have owner-like possession of the house and lot they live in. In the province of Bohol, there are no big landed estates. This situation was brought about by the land reform made by Francisco Dagohoy. He confiscated the big Spanish haciendas and distributed it to the people.

However, the book "The Philippine Islands", authored by Blair and Robertson could only mention the Jesuit Estate known as the "San Xavier" hacienda. In my recent research conducted at the National Archives, I found in the records named Varias Provincias Cebu: 1761, another name, Hacienda de Pedro Garaycochea. Unfortunately, I could not pinpoint its definite location in Bohol.

Concept of Land Ownership


The present concept of land ownership by means of land titles is of western origin. It was first brought here by the Spaniards and followed by the Americans.

Our old concept was actual possession. You own the land where your house is being built and its immediate surroundings, usually evidenced by a fence. You own the land that you actually till. If a farm is left idle or not tilled for two successive years, it is deemed abandoned and anybody could go to the village council to be allowed to work the abandoned farm.

Any passerby can climb a coconut tree, if he is hunry or thirsty, and get a coconut. As evidence of hunger or thirst, you must leave the coconut husk at the base of the tree.

If you bring home the coconut, then it is considered as stealing.

In any camote or sweet potato farm, the farmer has the right of first harvest and the tubers from the sweet potato mounds. After the first harvest, anybody in the community can harvest any tuber found in the stringers (katay) of the sweet potato plant.

Division of Inheritance

Occasionally you will find a Boholano practice of land inheritance that is different from the one prescribed by our westernized laws.

The old practice was to divide the land among the heirs and the plants will be considered for a separate division. So occasionally you will find in Bohol that one heir owns the land but he does not own a particular plant growing in his land. It is even extended to the situation that the brother or sister who planted the tree owns the tree and not the heir who inherited the land.

Even though these practices are not generally honored by our present court of law, still the custom is practiced and honored by some Boholanos.

You Could Not Inherit a Mortgage

Our present laws about mortgages are of western origin. The laws of mortgages fostered by the Dagohoy Revolution are somewhat different.

The only type of mortgage practiced during the Dagohoy Government is what is presently called Dacion en pago, or to allow the use of something as a payment.

For example I owe you one thousand pesos. As a security of payment I will mortgage to you my coconut grove. I will allow you to harvest the fruits from my one hundred coconut trees for three harvest seasons and the debt will be extinguished. Unlike today when you mortgage you land to the bank and you will eventually lost your land because the bank will not be interested to take over the operation of your land. The bank will be interested only of their money and interest that you must pay out of the product of your land. In former times, you surrender you land for a period of time and then repossess it. It is up to the reader to conclude which is the better procedure.

Most of all, during the Dagohoy government, a mortgage is not subject to inheritance.

For example, Pedro owes P1,000 from your father and Pedro mortgaged his coconut grove for three years. Your father died, and you as the sole heir you could not inherit the privilege enjoyed by your father. You could not inherit the privilege of harvesting the coconuts because the mortgage was only to your father. The coconut grove will return to the ownership of Pedro even if the debt was not fully paid. This is a very pro-poor custom, which unfortunately is no longer practiced.

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Re: Bohol's Dagohoy pioneered in Land Reform
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2009, 08:46:38 PM »
I wonder if during the time of Mariano "Anoy" Datahan land reform was also practiced.  It is also interesting to know how the Homestead Law was implemented in Bohol and why most of those who benefited from this national act are farmers from Loon. This fact, however, is not found in any document on the historical development of host towns like San Miguel, Dagohoy, Danao, Catigbian, etc.  Very old farmers in central Bohol talk about "homistid", "umistad", etc. obviously referring to "homestead".



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