Category Archives: Agrarian Reform

Asia Land Forum: Shaping land agenda and defining land rights to achieve food sovereignty

Participants of the Asia Land Forum.

Participants of the Asia Land Forum.

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.

Peter Hauschnik of GIZ opening the Forum

Peter Hauschnik of GIZ opening the Forum

 

img_2625

ANGOC Chairperson Emeritus Fr. Francis Lucas opening the Forum.

 

img_2640

Representative Teddy Baguilat giving his reaction to the presentation on the proposed NOC Bill,

Advertisements

Ensuring famers’ land ownership in the new administration

Participants of the conference on agrarian reform. Photo by KAISAHAN.

Participants of the conference on agrarian reform. Photo by KAISAHAN.

On 27-30 June 2016, around 120 agrarian reform beneficiaries from 12 dioceses and agrarian reform advocates gathered together to share and reflect on the outgoing administration’s implementation of agrarian reform in a conference on Protecting Farmers’ Land Tenure and Ownership: Prospects of Maximizing the Opportunities and Addressing the Challenges in the Duterte Administration.

As a preparatory activity for this event, a local assessment was conducted from April to June 2016 to: (a) review the status or effectiveness of agrarian reform (AR) implementation; (b) determine problems/issues and responses from the government and/or community; (c) identify the program’s impacts to living conditions; and (d) to collect and collate existing local data on the program’s Implementation, particularly in the Land Acquisition and Distribution (LAD) component. The local assessment generally aims to analyze the government’s implementation of the agrarian reform program, and evaluate the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program with Extension and Reforms (CARPER) from the perspective of farmers and farm workers.

The local assessment was conducted in the Diocesan Areas in the Provinces of Bukidnon, Iloilo, Leyte, Masbate, Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, North Cotabato, South Cotabato and Surigao, in which the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR)’s performance is poor.

It was found that there needs to be reform in terms of bureaucracy and in policies. The participants urge to continuously rationalize and evaluate DAR’s bureaucracy from the national down to the village level, ensuring that officials and employees do their responsibilities. The group also encourages the new administration to review, amend or repeal controversial “anti-farmer” policies instituted by DAR.

The group has also identified the priority issues for the new administration to focus on during their first 100 days which include:

  • Installation of agrarian reform beneficiaries to the land awarded to them
  • Poor implementation of agrarian reform due to lack of political will DAR
  • Cancellation of Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOAs)
  • Human rights violations
  • Overlapping and conflicting laws

To this, the new DAR secretary, Rafael “Ka Paeng” Mariano promised that he will personally visit provinces that encounter the worst problems on land rights such as Leyte, Masbate, Isabela, Iloilo and Sultan Kudarat. Furthermore, he vowed that no farmer, CLOA holder or not, will be forced to leave his/her farm.

Participants were hopeful that in President Duterte’s administration and the proclamation of Rafael “Ka Paeng” Mariano as DAR secretary, their problems would be attended and resolved.

The National AR Conference was organized by NASSA/CARITAS Philippines, in partnership with the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace, AR Now!, ANGOC, CARRD, Focus on the Global South, KAISHAN, PAKISAMA, PhilDHRRA, Rights Network/ KATARUNGAN, TFM and Sulong CARHRIHL.

For more information, please contact Wilson Requez of AR Now! at wkrequez@gmail.com

Philippines: Lands that farmers can finally call their own

We are posting this story shared by Kaunlaran ng Kanayunan at Repormang Pansakahan (KAISAHAN).

Farmers marking their lands. Photo by KAISAHAN.

Farmers marking their lands. Photo by 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.

Land installation to agrarian reform beneficiaries in Leyte, Philippines: stalled!

We are posting this news shared by Solidarity Towards Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (KAISAHAN).

photo by KAISAHAN

Photo by 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.

Indonesia high delegation learning visit to the Philippines on agrarian reform

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.

Indonesia CSOs (KPA and Samdhana Institute) representatives with the Philippines’ DAR Secretary Virgilio delos Reyes. Photo by DAR.

Indonesia CSOs (KPA and Samdhana Institute) representatives with the Philippines’ DAR Secretary Virgilio delos Reyes.
Photo by DAR.

DAR Secretary delos Reyes presenting the status of Philippine agrarian lands during the orientation meeting.

DAR Secretary delos Reyes presenting the status of Philippine agrarian lands during the orientation meeting. Photo by DAR.

Indonesian delegates and CSOs meet with Congressional Committee Chairman on Agrarian Reform Teddy Baguilat, Jr. (center). Photo by DAR.

Indonesian delegates and CSOs meet with Congressional Committee Chairman on Agrarian Reform Teddy Baguilat, Jr. (center). Photo by DAR.

Briefing on agrarian reform implementation in Northern Mindanao. Photo by DAR.

Briefing on agrarian reform implementation in Northern Mindanao. Photo by DAR.

Field visit in Bukidnon. Photo by DAR.

Field visit in Bukidnon. Photo by DAR.

Capacity building program on ‘Land Reform and Land Survey’

We are posting this news story shared by the Association for Land Reform and Development (ALRD).

Land Record Director and Directorate of Land Record and Survey gracing the inaugural session of the land survey training.

Land Record Director and Directorate of Land Record and Survey gracing the inaugural session of the land survey training.

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.

Philippines celebrates the International Year of Family Farming 2015

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Yolando Arban of IFAD giving his welcoming remarks.

Following the success of the first Philippine celebration of the International Year of Family Farming (IYFF) through the Knowledge and Learning Market –Policy Engagement (KLM-PE) in 2014, Government, CSOs, farmers, and fisherfolks, led by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)-Philippines, once again commemorated this event, through the KLM-PE 2015 to continuously promote family and smallholder farming in ensuring food security and nutrition.

Themed, IYFF+1 Partnership for Food Security, Nutrition and Climate Resiliency: Increasing Farmers Market Power, the KLMPE-PE 2014 gathered 200 participants on 25-26 November 2015 at the Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) Convention Center, Quezon City to:

  1. Generate progress updates, review current challenges and opportunities on 2014 IYFF Declaration and commitments;
  2. Draw lessons from current models/innovations on climate-resilient agriculture, institutional purchase and farmers’ market, and agri-cooperatives;
  3. Agree on action points for 2016 that would advance capacity building and effective participation of family farmers in policy making and program implementation, monitoring and evaluation of current government programs that build farmers’ cooperatives, increase their market power and capacity to mitigate climate change.

Government agencies and CSOs presented updates of their work to the 2014 IYFF Declaration on asset reform, enterprise development, governance, climate change, and young farmers. CSOs[1], represented by the National Confederation of Small Farmers’ and Fishers’ Organizations (PAKISAMA) and Asian Partnership for the Development of Human Resources in Rural Asia (AsiaDHRRA), have reported their efforts on continuous lobbying of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms (CARPER) Extension Law on completion of the land acquisition and distribution component, and on promoting new Administrative Order on municipal water delineation. CSOs have also provided support on the enactment of the National Land Use and Management Bill, the RA 10654 (“An Act to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing”) and the Coconut Farmers’ Trust Fund. The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) shared their interventions on agriculture and poverty alleviation including the development of 100 sugar block farms to improve farmers’ income, and the Agrarian Production Credit Program offering lower credit interest rates to farmers. The Department of Agriculture (DA), on the other hand, presented the establishment of 150 weather stations as a climate change adaptation mechanism for farmers. In terms of agricultural research, DA has allotted more than Php1 Billion funds in 2015. Other ongoing interventions include road improvement for transfer of goods, agriculture and agrofishery credit programs, farmer’ training, and improved trading centers.

There was also parallel side events on “Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Resiliency,” Enlarging Farmers Market Power,” and “Agri Cooperatives” where participants shared and recommended points on good practices on empowering family farmers.

The two-day event concluded with the Government and CSOs accepting the challenges and policy recommendations of the “2016 Philippines IYFF+1 Action Agenda” handed-over by farmer organization representatives. IFAD-Philippines, DAR, AsiaDHRRA, and PAKISAMA committed on stage to continuously and strongly support family farmers and uphold rural development.

12289710_1088110497888064_2914742070863168675_n

Government and CSO representatives accepting the “2016 Philippines IYFF+1 Action Agenda” from farmer organization representatives. Photo by IFAD-Philippines. 

[1] AgriCord, Asian NGO Coalition for Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (ANGOC), National Confederation of Small Farmers’ and Fishers’ Organizations (PAKISAMA), Asian Farmers’ Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA), Asian Partnership for the Development of Human Resources in Rural Asia (AsiaDHRRA), Philippine Partnership for the Development of Human Resources in Rural Areas (PhilDHRRA), and We Effect.

National Peasants’ Day march for agrarian reform in Indonesia

We are posting this news shared by Bina Desa.

Farmers, advocates, and CSOs marched for agrarian reform during the National Peasants' Day. Photo by Aliansi Petani Indonesia (API).

Farmers, advocates, and CSOs marched for agrarian reform during the National Peasants’ Day. Photo by Aliansi Petani Indonesia (API).

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.

During the Commemoration of National Peasants' Day 2015. Photo by www.spi.or.id

During the Commemoration of National Peasants’ Day 2015. Photo by http://www.spi.or.id

Religious leaders and farmers declare ‘no-vote’ for the Visayan landlord-politicians in the Congress in 2016

We are sharing this press release posted in Task Force Mapalad’s Facebook page on 18 September 2015.

Religious leaders and landless farmers marching for the passage of HB 4296. Photo by Task Force Mapalad (TFM).

Religious leaders and landless farmers marching for the passage of HB 4296. Photo by Task Force Mapalad (TFM).

“The injustice that you have done to our landless peasants will be translated to the poor and the pro-poor Church’s no vote in 2016.”

The above statement was the testimonial of Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo, together with the landless farmers, against the Congress Visayan bloc lawmakers during a march on 18 September led by SULONG CARPER and Task Force Mapalad (TFM).

The march was to call for the passage of House Bill 4296[1] which is still pending in the House of Representatives due to the amendments of politicians in the Visayan bloc allegedly to keep control over large tracts of lands that should have long been distributed to the farmers – despite the Bill’s passage in the Senate.

Bishop Pabillo, who also chairs the Permanent Committee on Public Affairs of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), highlighted the broken promises of these politicians of uplifting the lives of the poor. “We will remember what you did to our poor and oppressed farmers that’s why they still don’t have land up to now,” he says.

Likewise, Cagayan de Oro Archbishop Antonio Ledesma urged President Benigno Aquino III not to abandon his responsibility to complete the agrarian reform which, his mother, President Corazon Aquino, started.

[1] House Bill 4296 will complete the land acquisition and distribution component of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms (CARPER) which has expired last June 2014.

Regional network of agrarian reform cooperatives formed

Contributor: Xavier Science Foundation, Inc (XSF)

IMG_20150529_105634_2CS

Agrarian reform beneficiary cooperatives in Northern Mindanao, Philippines organized themselves into a regional federation last 29 May in Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines.

The cooperatives are recipients of the agrarian reform program of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) of the Government of the Philippines.

Xavier Science Foundation, Inc. (XSF) assisted the farmer leaders in crafting the federation’s vision and mission.

The federation aims to strengthen its rank in bolstering local agriculture amid growing competition for lands and trades, as well as the challenges of climate change. The group will be encouraging other farmer groups in the region to join.