Since the days of the Spanish occupation the flat rice paddies of Central Luzon have been the Philippines' main bread basket and bitterest bone of contention. Generations of Filipino landlords and tenant farmers have battled over how the crops should be divided. Always the result has been the same. From each carnage of broken heads emerged fewer and richer landlords, more and poorer croppers.

Since war's end fierce Hukbalahap gangs have tried, with the same guerrilla tactics they used against the Japs, to enforce ex-President Osmena's decree dividing crops 60-40 in favor of the peasant. But new President Manuel...

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