Category Archives: land disputes

Casiguran farmers, fisherfolks, and indigenous people’s plea: stop APECO

Ka Tony

Ka Tony Barbosa, a fisherfolk participant during the workshop on “Increase the use of the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests (VGGT) among CSOs and Grassroots Organizations in the Philippines,” was in tears as he shared how their livelihood will be lost upon construction of port along the foreshore of Casiguran, Aurora. Even now, they can no longer use the docks they used to anchor their boats for fishing. Industrial wastes would also pollute the waters sheltering the fishes they catch.

Farmers and indigenous peoples of the Casiguran are also in the same dismal situation as their lands will soon be converted to industrial parks, airport, hotels, ship anchorages, and recreational facilities through the implementation of the Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Freeport Authority (APECO).

APECO is an abruptly approved Php 1-Billion project created by law allegedly lobbied secretly by the ruling political family in Aurora. It covers more than 13,000 hectares of rice lands, coconut plantations, forests, coastal areas, and human settlements in five barangays of Casiguran.

While APECO violates basic sectors rights to access to land, food, livelihood, and health, it is also in conflict with some provisions of the Constitution and policies governing indigenous people (according to a case study by Dave de Vera of PAFID).

These sectors call for the non-implementation of the APECO project. “We don’t want the jobs they offer. We need our lands and livelihoods secured.”

Related resource:

Philippines: Justice for the Kidapawan rally victims!

Kidapawan protester gun-shot. Photo by

Kidapawan protester gun-shot. Photo by

With the Philippines now experiencing the El Niño phenomenon or the dry season, farmlands suffer from drought resulting to low to zero agricultural production.

This scenario has been occurring in five provinces affected by dry spell and in 18 provinces (mostly in the Mindanao Region) experiencing dry conditions since February 2016 – the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Center (NDRRMC) confirms.

The National Government has been aware of the calamity. As early as December 2015, President Aquino III approved a Php19-Billion budget to combat the effects of El Niño which may last until May 2016. North Cotabato in Mindanao was already identified as one of the nine provinces experiencing dry spell as early as December. The farmers in Kidapawan, North Cotabato have not yet been receiving any.

On 30 March 2016, around 3,000 protesters started to block the Davao-Cotabato Highway to demand for government assistance (including calamity funds and food relief) in the wake of the adverse effects of the already 3-month long severe drought in the area.

After four days of peaceful protest in front of the provincial office of the National Food Authority, the police forces started an open fire to the unarmed farmers leaving three shot dead and more than 40 wounded.

Until now, the government assistance has not been distributed to the farmers.

ANGOC, together with the many CSOs having concern on this issue, supports the statement on expressing utmost condemnation on the killing of unarmed farmers.

Wounded protesters demanding government assistance in the wake of drought in North Cotabato. Photo by ABS-CBN Network.

Wounded protesters demanding government assistance in the wake of drought in North Cotabato. Photo by ABS-CBN Network.

“Statistical Analysis of Land Disputes in Cambodia, 2014” report launched

We are sharing this news posted in The NGO Forum on Cambodia website on 28 September 2015.

Panel of the launching workshop. Photo by NGOF.

Panel of the launching workshop.
Photo by NGOF.

NGOF launched the report on Statistical Analysis of Land Disputes in Cambodia, 2014 on 22 September. The report launching workshop was to publicly disseminate the report results, present key findings, and to increase knowledge and understanding of land situations in order to bring all relevant stakeholders to pay attention on them and further spread out to call for intervention.

Around 60 participants from the National Assembly, Mondolkiri’s Deputy Governor, Ministry of Land Management Urban Planning and Construction, local authorities in Phnom Penh, development partners, local and international NGOs network/members and communities attended the launching.

The report aimed to provide evidences of land disputes in 2014. Findings include:[1]

  • that land disputes occurred in 2014 is lesser than the previous years;
  • the highest rate of land disputes occur in Phnom Penh;
  • economic land concessions (ELCs) are the major cause of land disputes;
  • 14% of land disputes affect indigenous peoples;
  • displacements affected 230 families; and
  • 68 cases were resolved in 2014.

Moreover, NGOF Executive Director Dr. Tek Vannara mentioned that land disputes are the biggest challenges Cambodia face.

The report is available online in Khmer and English versions.

[1] As culled from the report [The NGO Forum on Cambodia (NGOF). (2015). Statistical Analysis of Land Disputes in Cambodia, 2014. Phnom Penh: NGOF.]