What Was the Bandala System?

The Bandala System was a system implemented by Spanish authorities in the Philippines that required native Filipino farmers to sell their goods to the government. The farmers were not in favor of this system and were not even offered fair market prices for their crops.

When Spain began to colonize the Philippines, the land was split into parcels and divided among dignitaries and distinguished officers of the military. Parcel owner’s were required to care for the native inhabitants of his land, providing for their well-being and protection. Within a short time, abuses became apparent and it was discontinued in favor of a new system in which the natives were required to pay taxes, or a “tribute”, to the government.

Filipinos were forced to endure other unfair practices, such as forced labor, which was required for all Filipinos from age 16 to age 60. The work included building roads, clearing trees, and building shipyards. The only way to avoid labor was to pay a fee to the government, called “falla.”

Policies and practices like the Bandala System, polo, and tribute taxation oppressed the natives of the Philippines for many years as the local Spanish government officials became richer and more successful.