After World War II, the bad relationship between landlords and farmers, who were seeking better conditions, became worse. The tenancy problem plagued the country, particularly in the provinces of Pampanga, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, and Tarlac in central Luzon.
There was too much tension when the landlords who evacuated to urban areas during the war came to the rural areas to ask for back “rent” for their lands from the farmers. With the help of their own armed bands, they tried to force the peasants to give to them what they owed them.
As a result, General Douglas MacArthur put to jail Luis Taruc and Casto Alejandro, the leading Huk leaders. Furthermore, the U.S. forces were ordered to disarmed the Huks. Instead, the Huks fled to the mountains. Still armed, they supported the Pambansang Kaisahan ng mga Magbubukid-PKM (National Peasant Union) in its fight against the landowners.
By that time, the peasants’ movement represented about 500,000 members. The PKM,
as part of the left-wing Democratic Alliance, which also included other groups, had supported Sergio Osmeña as the Nacionalista Party’s presidential candidate against Manuel Roxas during the 1946 election campaign. Osmeña was the president of the Philippine Commonwealth, who replaced President Manuel Quezon after he died in the U.S. in 1944.
Osmeña got the support of the labor movement. He promised the farmers that a new law giving 60 percent of the harvest, instead of the then 50 percent or less, would be passed. At that time, Taruc, who was released from jail, and five other candidates of the Democratic Alliance won congressional seats during the 1946 elections which elected Roxas to the presidency.
However, Taruc and the other Democratic Alliance winners were not allowed to be installed into their positions. They were accused of having used terrorist acts during the campaign. Violence by landlords with the help of the police worsened against peasant activities. In August 1946, Juan Feleo, a PKM leader was killed, resulting in the rebellion of the Huks in central Luzon. The People’s Liberation Army (Hukbong Mapagpalaya ng Bayan) became the new name of the People’s Anti-Japanese Army.