MANILA — The Philippine Congress today approved a land-reform bill aimed at easing one of the most critical problems in the country--the disparity between rich and poor that has polarized much of society and fueled a bloody insurgency.
In a marathon session that lasted through the night, the House approved the bill 152 to 20. The Senate had already approved it.
President Corazon Aquino has indicated that she will sign the measure before leaving next week on a state visit to Europe.
Many observers had considered Congress incapable of agreeing on a land-reform bill. Powerful landowners and leftist groups were equally critical of the bill. One landowner assailed it as a "declaration of war," and a leftist leader called it "a watered-down nothing."