Opinion on the effects of Forced Labor and the Bandala system to Filipino Laborers

Polo y servicio is the forced labor for 40 days of men ranging from 16 to 60 years of age who were obligated to give personal services to community projects. One could be exempted from polo by paying the falla ( a corruption of the Spanish Falta, meaning “absence”), a daily fine of one and a half real.

In 1884, the labor was reduced to 15 days. The polo system was patterned after the Mexican repartimento. A person who performed this was called polista.

The Polista would be assigned to build a building, repairing of roads and bridges, construction of Public buildings and churches, cutting timber in the forest, working in shipyards and serving as soldiers in military expeditions.

Although this kind of rules, provide Spaniards a positive effect on their governance but for the Filipino community it is considered as maltreated.

At this period, the family will be separated from each other. Once separated, there will be a tendency the person going into far place will be homesick or the family left will be sad.

Aside from being isolated, there is also a possibility that those who have joined the military expeditions will never return.  Most affected on this system is emotional stress.

The Bandala system

Bandala – an indirect tax imposed on the Filipino farmers who were forcefully required to sell their products to the government. In most cases, the government did not have enough funds for payment of the products. As a result, the government provides or issued a token payment. And sometimes the Filipino farmers were not paid accordingly. The heaviest sufferers were Pampanga and the Tagalog provinces. It is a policy requiring Filipinos to sell their products to the Spaniards at the lowest price.

With this kind of system, the farmers can only gain limited income, an income that’s not enough or adequately provide their daily needs and most of all they are unable to improve their farmland.

Aside from selling it at very low price, once the Spanish government is unable to provide a cash value for their products, they were only given with token payments. This type of payment is prone to corruption. What if they lose the token? How could they claim it? It seems a farmer’s hard work will go into the air.

My conclusion is the farmers can only get a little amount of their hard work while the Spanish Government and the rich can get more profit at poor farmers expense.

With this kind of rules, the farmer will stay as farmers forever while the rich are getting richer.

Tags : LaborPhilippine GovermentTaxes
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