Category Archives: Land Reform
The Asia Land Forum was held on 5 September 2016 in Ortigas Center, Quezon City, Philippines. Divided into two parts, the Forum engaged the Philippine Government on the proposed legislative land agenda of the CSO members of the International Land Coalition (ILC), and provided space for knowledge exchanges on achieving food sovereignty through advancing land rights. Around 85 participants from the Governments of Philippines, Nepal, and Cambodia; intergovernmental organizations (ADB, FAO, IFAD, WB); CSO representatives from Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines and Thailand took part in the discussion.
The morning session on “Shaping the Land Agenda in the Philippines” pressed on the land agenda for the Duterte Adiministration under the framework of land rights as human rights. Philippine CSO members of ILC demanded for the passage of the (i) Completion of Notice of Coverage Bill or the NOC Bill, (ii) Indigenous Community Conservation Area (ICCA) Bill, and (iii) the National Land Use Act (NLUA) Bill, collectively called as the “Triple Land Rights Bills,” to effectively address land rights issues that affects the lives of marginalized sectors such as indigenous peoples, farmers and fisher folks as well as the urban poor communities.
Wilson Requez of the People’s Campaign for Agrarian Reform Network, Inc. (AR Now!) discussed that more than 69,000 hectares (ha) of landholdings are yet to be covered for redistribution (DAR Status Report, 2016) under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP). With the failure to pass the NOC Bill on completing the land acquisition and distribution provision of the CARP during the 16th Congress, it is hoped that in this 17th Congress, the Bill will be passed as the legislative champions for agrarian reforms both in the Lower and Upper Housed have already filed bills for the Completion of Notice of Coverage and are hoping to sustain the momentum it gained during the 16th Congress.
Dave de Vera of the Philippine Association for Intercultural Development (PAFID) highlighted the importance of ICCAs in conserving indigenous people (IP)’s lives and source of livelihood leading to biodiversity conservation. Hence, the passage of the ICCA Bill will further strengthen the mandate of the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act (IPRA) and will highlight the very important role of IPs in the conservation of our remaining resources.
Lastly, Elmer Mercado, EnP of the Campaign for Land Use Policy Now! (CLUP Now!) stressed that a clear land use policy through the NLUA should be passed to rationalize the use of lands and address the current degradation of country’s land resources.
Representative Teddy Baguilat committed to support the passage of these Bills in the current Congress.
During the afternoon session on “Realizing the sustainable development goals: Defending land rights of communities to achieve food sovereignty in the region,” participants discussed the food security priorities of international organizations and selected Asian countries and sustainable development goals in the context of hunger and land rights.
Fifty-two representatives of grassroots organizations, peoples’ movements and CSOs from 10 Asian countries signed the Quezon City Declaration on Food Sovereignty calling upon concerned States, institutions, and corporations to respect and adhere to the 12 principles of the Declaration on protecting and strengthening land rights towards food sovereignty. See Declaration here.
The Asian NGO Coalition for Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (ANGOC), the International Land Coalition (ILC), the GIZ, and the Philippine Development Forum-Working Group on Sustainable Rural Development Forum (PDF-SRD), in partnership with AFA, AR NOW!, CARRD, PAKISAMA, PAFID, TFM and XSF organized this event.
To learn about the land and housing laws, and the strategies of the CSO in ensuring the access of resource rights among the sectors, the NGO Forum on Cambodia (NGOF) organized the Learning Visit on Land and Housing Rights in the Philippines on 26-28 July 2016. Representatives from Sahmakum Teang Tnaut (STT), Focus on the Global South, Equitable Cambodia (EC), and Community Legal Education Center (CLEC), and ADHOC Cambodia also took part in the study tour.
Hosted by ANGOC, the first day focused on the Philippine land laws and the strategies and experiences of CSOs in pursuing their advocacies on agrarian reform and land use. While Philippines has many asset reform laws rooting to the Philippine Constitution of 1987, they are highly sectoral in approach; thus overlapping provisions and jurisdictions persist in the country resulting to resource conflicts among different sectors. Hence, the Philippine CSOs push for the passage of the National Land Use Act (NLUA) Bill. CSOs and advocacy groups who presented their advocacy experiences were The People’s Campaign for Agrarian Reform Network Incorporated (AR Now!), Center for Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (CARRD), and Campaign for Land Use Policy Now! (CLUP Now!).
On the second day, Cambodian CSOs visited the Community Organizers Multiversity (COM) office to hear about the Urban Development and Housing Act (UDHA) as the main Philippine law on urban housing. They have also learned the initiatives COM conducts to ensure proper implementation of the said law. They have visited a site where an urban housing project is being implemented in Manggahan, Pasig City to learn the experiences and struggles of the Alliance of People’s Organization along Manggahan Floodway Pasig (APOAMF) in successfully fighting for their right to live within city through a near-city housing relocation site project which they, themselves, have developed and proposed to the Government.
Lastly, the Cambodian CSOs visited and learned from the Pastolan indigenous community in Hermosa, Bataan, who have successfully claimed their ancestral domain title with the support of the Philippine Association for Intercultural Development (PAFID). Visitors have also learned how the government and the indigenous community have sustained a harmonious relationship to one another in a dialogue with the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA).
We are posting this story shared by Kaunlaran ng Kanayunan at Repormang Pansakahan (KAISAHAN).
After 20 years of land acquisition struggles, 23 farmer beneficiaries in Barangays Sumanga and Valenciana in Ormoc City, Leyte have been successfully installed to the lands they have long been awarded with certificates of land ownership (CLOA).
The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) led the installation on 20 and 21 June 2016 in the two villages together with some 300 officials and representatives from the Philippine National Police (PNP), Commission on Human Rights (CHR), and other advocacy groups including KAISAHAN.
This long-time story of unsecured land tenure of farmers roots to landowners’ resistance to the redistribution. Whenever installation is attempted, farmers receive threats and intimidation from the previous landowners, Larrazabal, resulting to repeated failures of the process. The last time was on 9 February 2016.
Even up to the day of this event, previous landowners have been continuously resisting. KAISAHAN Executive Director Anthony Marzan and legal officer Atty. Claire Demaisip reiterated to the opposing party that only a temporary restraining order from the Supreme Court can postpone the instalment.
To secure the post-installation situation, KAISAHAN has insisted of putting up a PNP detachment until the peace and order in the area is assured. Farmer groups and federations in the areas have also assured that they will provide support services to the new farmer-landowners to ensure sustainable use of their lands.
We are posting this news shared by Solidarity Towards Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (KAISAHAN).
The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Office of Leyte announced postponement of land installations in Barangays Valencia and Sumanga in Ormoc, Leyte on 9 February 2016 affecting around 30 agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs).
DAR recalled its own writ of installation allegedly due to a filed case of cancellation of Certificate of Land Ownership and Acquisition (CLOA) over the land by other farmers. Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer (PARPO) II Renato Badilla sent orders stating that previous landowners, Tan Landholdings and the Potenciano & Anecita Larrazabal Enterprises Corporation (PALEC) opposed the installations in the 30 and 35 hectares of land in the two barangays due to the alleged erroneous coverage of the subject landholdings.
Together with the farmers, KAISAHAN expressed their frustration to the non-installment. Atty. Claire Demaisip of KAISAHAN pointed out that “EXCEPT FOR THE SUPREME COURT, no court in the Philippines shall have jurisdiction to issue any restraining order or writ of preliminary injunction against the PARC [Presidential Agrarian Reform Council], the DAR, or any of its duly authorized or designated agencies in any case, dispute or controversy arising from, necessary to, or in connection with the application, implementation, enforcement, or interpretation of (the AR laws).” “It is clearly stated that only a TRO [temporary restraining order] from the Supreme Court can stop this installation,” adds Atty. Rolly Poero, also from KAISAHAN.
In a meeting following the release of the Orders, the farmer beneficiaries wielded their CLOAs before DAR and Municipal Agrarian Reform Officer (MARO) representatives with Leyte Sheriff Joseph Catingub and demanded the immediate resolution of this case and their installation. However their response was that as much as they wanted to install the farmers, they are not in the position to resolve the issue. They can only write their appeals to the PARO’s Orders.
The said farmer beneficiaries from Valencia and Sumanga have already had several attempts for installation since they received their CLOAs way back in 1996. However, all these attempts failed due to resistance of the previous landowners.
After years of Ekta Parishad’s campaigning and conducting mass mobilizations for land rights, the National Rural Homestead Bill was drafted in 2013 to ensure that rural families have the right to a home and a piece of land not less than 10 cents (0.04 hectares). Despite repeated promises from the government to prioritize its passage, the Bill has never been presented in the parliament.
On 14-15 March 2016, Ekta Parishad once again gathered more than 5,000 India’s landless people in Jantar Mantar, New Delhi to demand for their homestead land rights.
From these series of activities, Ekta Parishad asserted that movements for land rights need new form – improving the culture of protest to ensure that demands of people are heard; and the culture of governance to guarantee government’s actions from their promises.
With the Indonesia President Joko Widodo’s agenda on agrarian reform, 21 government and CSO Indonesian delegates (13 from Ministry of Agrarian Affairs and Spatial Planning, and 8 from CSOs from KPA including a representative from Samdhana Institute) visited the Philippines on 9-15 February 2016 to learn the Philippines’ experiences in formulating and implementing its agrarian law and reform.
Hosted by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and facilitated by the Asian NGO Coalition for Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (ANGOC), the learning visit started with delegates meeting with the DAR Team headed by Secretary Virgilio delos Reyes on the orientation of Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL) and status of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP). Meetings as well with the Land Registration Authority (LRA) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) were organized to discuss land administration concerns. The delegates had a meeting with the Congressional Committee Chairman on Agrarian Reform, Representative Teddy Baguilat, Jr. regarding the legislative processes and the overlapping tenurial arrangements between CARL and the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA).
On the other hand, Philippine CSOs including ANGOC, Philippine Association for Intercultural Development (PAFID), (National Confederation of Small Farmers’ and Fishers’ Organizations (PAKISAMA), Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) and Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center (LRC) shared their perspectives on the challenges and lessons learned in implementing asset reform programs in the country. On-site exposures were also conducted with DAR regional and provincial offices and farmer beneficiaries in Northern Mindanao.
Both countries agreed to continue this learning exchange process.
We are sharing this news posted in Nepali Times in February 2016.
More than 39,000 landless farmers have acquired land titles in Nepal from non-violent land rights movements.
For the past 20 years, civil society groups (CSOs) in Nepal have been advocating for land rights of farmers, women, and indigenous peoples, and other marginalized groups. Community Self-Reliance Centre (CSRC), National Land Rights Forum (NLRF), and other CSOs have been organizing these groups to help them access their land rights. NLRF has also played a vital role in promoting the “Joint Land Ownership Policy” in establishing equal ownership of land for women.
As agrarian conflicts arise from overlapping interests on lands, Nepal, through the efforts of grassroots and CSOs, managed to improve their land reform peacefully. Back in a news post in 2008, the new government has been challenged of the concept of ‘land and peace,’ where more than redistribution, land reform should also resolve land conflicts.
We are posting this news story shared by the Association for Land Reform and Development (ALRD).
Bangladesh is a densely populated country which results fierce competition over land. About 80% of pending cases in the country’s court of law are related to litigation over land ownership. The land ownership is highly skewed with the 80% of the rural poor having access to only 20% of the country’s land due of corruption and lack of good governance in land administration. Women, poor, and the indigenous peoples and other marginalized communities are mostly affected.
In line with this, ALRD has been conducted training on land reform and survey for 23 years with support from Land Record and Survey Department aimed at raising awareness on land management system and land survey for a comprehensive land and agrarian reform in Bangladesh.
ALRD and the Directorate of Land Record and Survey conducted a 15-day training course on ‘Land Reform and Land Survey’ on 7 to 21 December 2015 at ALRD training center. Twenty-five representatives (3 were female) from former enclave Dashiarchhara and IP leaders from Headman Association in Rangamati and Bandarban participated in the training to build their knowledge and capacity on land survey which will be helpful in land conflicts.
A field activity was also included in the curriculum.
We are happy to share our newest publications!
With limited land, access to it has been a prevailing issue which leads to human rights violations to farmers, and to the disadvantaged women and indigenous peoples.
These Land Watch Asia (LWA)’s Lok Niti journals compile scoping studies from seven Asian countries (Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, and Philippines) telling of how women and indigenous peoples struggle to claim their land rights:
The Lok Niti on “Women stake their claim to land” outlines the statuses of women’s land rights in each country, the legal frameworks covering such rights, the key factors promoting or impending women’s land rights, and the strategies to address gender inequality and advance women’s rights to own and benefit from the land. Its issue brief, “Women’s land rights in Asia,” may also be downloaded here.
The Lok Niti on “Indigenous peoples and their sacred lands,”on the other hand,reveals how the basic bond of indigenous peoples to land are threatened by forces far more powerful than they are equipped to face. The IP issue brief, “On the customary rights of indigenous peoples in Asia,” is also available here.
LWA also started the Land Reform Monitoring Initiaive in 2010 strengthening evidence-based advocacies of CSOs on access to land and security of land tenure. The “2014 CSO Land Reform Monitoring Report: Towards an Accountable Governance on Land in Asia” features the 2014 CSO land reform monitoring reports on the status of land tenure and access to land of the seven countries. It also reflects the recent expansion of the monitoring initiative to a ridge-to-reef framework providing a more holistic approach in addressing ancestral lands, rural lands, and marine resource concerns.
A proceedings on “A Regional Workshop on Land Monitoring Initiatives”was also prepared to highlight LWA’s “Regional Workshop on Land Monitoring Initiatives: Towards an Accountable Governance on Land” held in Manila, Philippines on 21-22 April 2015 – which includes the country land monitoring reports; the country updates in Lao PDR, Myanmar, and Vietnam; and the new land reform monitoring framework modified for the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
We are posting this news shared by Bina Desa.
More than 3,000 peasants, agrarian reform advocates, students, and CSOs amassed on 21 September 2015 to demand the government to strengthen agrarian reform and food sovereignty, resolve agrarian conflicts, and establish a special body implementing the national action on agrarian reform.
Organized by Bina Desa, Consortium for Agrarian Reform (KPA), Network for Participatory Mapping (JKPP), and 23 other NGOs, the advocates marched from Istiqlal Mosque to the Presidential Palace in Central Jakarta.
Moreover, aiming to formulate strategies on implementing agrarian reform, Bina Desa co-organized the Commemoration of the National Peasant’s Day in Cihanjuang Village in Banten, Indonesia on 27-28 September, where more than 4,000 participated in the event.
With these activities, advocates and CSOs ensured the commitment of the government to implement agrarian reform, and of the Agrarian Minister’s cooperation of bringing the people’s demands to the President.