• CARP;
  • dispossession;
  • elite formation;
  • land reform;
  • Philippines;
  • social differentiation


This article elaborates on how agrarian social structures and relations have changed after redistributive land reform under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) on coconut plantations in the province of Davao Oriental, Philippines. Three major arguments can be derived from this question. First, despite the objective of this land reform to transfer control over land and labour to poor agricultural workers, a majority of the coconut farmers are trapped in new forms of debt-bondage and, as a result, are forced to transfer the rights over their resources and/or land. Second, a regional business elite has managed to obtain control over these lands and resources through all sorts of informal arrangements. Lastly, medium-sized landed elites in coconut plantations have been disadvantaged because of CARP implementation since they became dispossessed from their sole form of economic power, land.