Fr. Joseph A. Mulry, S.J.: Principles for Philippine Agrarian Reform

In the view of Fr. Joseph A. Mulry (1889-1945), “the most pressing social problem in the Philippines at that time was the agrarian situation in central Luzon and in the province of Negros.  In both regions, the ownership of land was limited to a comparatively few landowners, while the vast majority of the population were landless tenants or migrant workers. ”

Fr. Mulry’s principles for agrarian reform:

  1. The person who tills the land should own the land he tills.  But to achieve that goal, a gradual process of education is required, which is the dissemination and the inculcation of ideas.  Land ownership requires maturity and skill, and both must be acquired gradually.
  2. Transfer of ownership of land should be effected not only gradually but also voluntarily.  There should be no violence or coercion.
  3. Government must not intervene, for this would only bring in politics and corruption.  The land problem must be solved by the private sector acting voluntarily.


Miguel A. Bernad, S.J. “Joseph A Mulry: Founder of Social Justice Movement” in Unusual and Ordinary: Biographical Sketches of Some Philippine Jesuits (Jesuit Communications Foundation, Quezon City, 2006), pp. 105-115.  See p. 110.

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About Quirino M. Sugon Jr
Theoretical Physicist in Manila Observatory

2 Responses to Fr. Joseph A. Mulry, S.J.: Principles for Philippine Agrarian Reform

  1. James M. Mulry says:

    Dear Jesuit Communications,

    Thank you! I appreciate you posting information about my great Uncle, Joseph A Mulry, SJ. I hope to visit the Philippines one day and would like to visit his grave. Can you tell me where my uncle was buried?

    Respectfully submitted,

    James M Mulry

  2. Quirino M. Sugon Jr says:

    Dear James,

    I asked Fr. Victor Badillo, SJ regarding your query. Here is his response:

    “The remains of Fr Joseph Mulry are in the Jesuit cemetery in the Sacred Heart Novitiate in Novaliches, QC. God bless you. Victor”.

    The address is

    Sacred Heart Novitiate‎
    1117 Quirino Highway
    Quezon City, Philippines

    Google Map: Sacred Heart Novitiate

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