The basic story is depressingly familiar. In 1991, peasants on a beautiful bay, Hacienda Looc, in the Phillipines, found that others were casting covetous eyes on their lands. They are good rice farms on the plains, next to seas with good fishing; and border hills where fruit trees grow. Too tempting to property developers! The peasants thought that two Government Agrarian ‘reforms" had granted them the ancestral land. But in 1991, found that the Government had sold it for a bargain price! 7,000 peasants and fishers were to be evicted to make room for, "eco-tourism". Local and federal government had sold the land to "Fil-Estate Land, Inc.", for "marinas, penthouses, tourist areas. And four golf courses".
The life sustaining land, would be gone and the peasants would "find work in the cities and the tourist resort", said the mayor. But as one resident described her plight:
The peasants formed an organization to resist - Umalpas-Ka, part of a national peasant federation KMP. But the developers were in cahoots with the Major of the local area, and with President Ramos and then President Estrada. The brother of the owners of Fil-Estate was appointed as federal Minister of Tourism. They simply brought in goons and armed police. In short order 3 peasants died. At this stage the New People's Army – a Maoist inspired guerilla movement – offered to assist the peasants. A tense stand off has continued, but the goons backed off. The public large-scale demonstrations held by the peasants to advertise their plight struck a chord.
So where is the "black humour"? Well, the director
J.Schradie went to a press conference after the Demonstration Tournament
that Tiger Woods gave. She asked him if she knew of the plight
of the peasants who were worried about the impact that Golf was having
on their own lives? To his credit, he stammered in a visibly upset and
embarrassed way. Earlier the father had been showing as Tiger gave demo
tee-offs, saying that "Golf was only a game – G-A-M-E – it is not life
and death" – and when asked what Golf would give the poor of Philippines
he said "Teach them all about life". The naïve Woods are too easy
targets and Schradie does not make them the center. More a repetitive counter-point.
Her deft interviews with both the peasants, the guerillas of the NPA the
corrupt mayor and the property agents are a delight to watch. She has made
a great film. The film is available to activists via: http://www.golfwar.org/story.htm