"It is very clear that extreme conditions of poverty, wide disparity in wealth and income, large-scale unemployment, the existence of powerful land owning groups, provide a very disturbing context for the conduct of free and fair elections".
These words are from an article in the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Foreign observers note fraud, violence in Negros Occidental).
We just came back from a 3 week vacation in the Philippines. We were not there during the elections but we saw a lot of the election propaganda during our stay there. It is very disturbing to read these reports.
When the 2006 Nobel Prize for Peace was awarded to Muhammad Yumus (the founder of the Grameen Bank), the citation expressed that "lasting peace can not be achieved unless large population groups find ways in which to break out of poverty. Micro-credit is one such means. Development from below also serves to advance democracy and human rights".
If landlords genuinely want peace in the province, they should help in their capacity to alleviate the poverty among their workers. Helping to provide access to micro-credit loans, access to education and training can be means to achieving a better life for all. Less for self, more for others, enough for all.