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Benguet folk quarrel over mining exploration –, Philippine News for Filipinos

Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 20:18:00 09/12/2010

BAKUN, Benguet, Philippines –Tension has erupted among residents of Barangay Gambang here after the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) issued a mining permit to Royalco Philippines to explore 1,442 hectares in the village.

In a consultation called by local officials on Friday, members of the Gambang Indigenous Peoples Association and Community Organization (Gipaco) clashed with land owners who welcomed the exploration.

Gipaco members, most of them farmers, assailed the MGB’s decision to issue the permit despite what they said was the community’s rejection of the project.

Read more at  Benguet folk quarrel over mining exploration –, Philippine News for Filipinos.

Filipino farmers in Capiz reoccupy their land after a decade

This 16 September 2010, the farmer-beneficiaries of Barangay Consolacion Dumalag, Capiz will be marching back to claim the land that has been awarded to them nine years ago by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) through the Comprehensive and Agrarian Reform Program (CARP). In 20 October 2000, the DAR distributed individual Certificate of Land Ownership Award (CLOA) to qualified agrarian reform beneficiaries as proof of their ownership to the lands that they have been tilling as farm workers for several years.
“Sa inyo ang DAR kag papel, sa amon ang lupa!” (You may have the DAR and the paper, but the lands will remain to be in our possession). Hopes were dashed when a group led by Richard Biaco, a lessee of the former landowner stormed the landholding, illegally occupied the lands and filed a protest to the DAR. The protest on the identification and qualification of ARBs was filed as Eduardo Fedalgo, et. al., versus Maria Fungot and members of Consolacion ARBMPC. This caused to the loss of livelihoods and hopelessness that their ownership of the land awarded to the farmers since 2000 would become real.


8,975 farmers, agri workers hopeful of finally getting land under CARP

Source: Manila Bulletin
August 16, 2010, 3:54pm

No less than 8,975 farmers and agricultural workers are pinning their hopes of finally getting land under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) in the event the Supreme Court (SC) junks the already invalidated stock distribution offer (SDO) implemented in Hacienda Luisita.

The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) said Monday these farmers and workers work in 14 plantations in Tarlac, Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, Iloilo and Davao del Sur.

The KMP said the biggest is still Hacienda Luisita, which has 4,916 hectares of land covered by the SDO and beneficiaries numbering 6,296.

The Hacienda Luisita SDO was approved on Nov. 11, 1989, or more than two years after former President Cory Aquino announced her agrarian reform program that would cover all plantations producing a variety of crops.

At five members per household, the total number of people affected is about 50,000. (Read full article, click here)

Oil Palm Firm Faces Action On Land Rights

Courtesy of Sabah News Times


Kota Kinabalu: The Land and Survey Department will take legal action against a company for encroaching into customary rights land in Kota Marudu.

Its director Datuk Osman Jamal said the department inspected the area on July 23 and found that the company had encroached on the villagers’ customary rights land to develop its oil palm plantation .

According to him, 88 individuals applied for 1,760 acres of land in the area, and approval was given by the state government via a letter (MNR114/22/1110/16) dated June 2, 1978.

And following that, 22 land titles were issued.

“We understand that the company was given the Power of Attorney by the said land owners to develop the area for oil palm.

“But during an inspection in July, we discovered that the company was also clearing the area outside the 1,760 acres to plant oil palm,” Osman said.

He assured that the department would take appropriate action in accordance with the Land Ordinance.

Read more: Oil Palm Firm Faces Action on Land Rights

Cambodian Woman faces prison in land-grabbing case

Source: KI Media blog, August 17, 2010
Land protesters in Cambodia (Photo: Sek Bandith, RFA)
(KI Media reports a recent case of land grabbing that happened in Cambodia last  Monday, 16th August. This report is posted on their blog. For more, click on link below.)
Mu Sochua took part in a Press Conference organized in the context of a recent land dispute case (in Kompong Thom Province). Local representative, Lem Nath, has been physically abused and thrown into prison for stepping up in the case of local land grabbing. As Mu Sochua declared, “the Press Conference was held to shine the light on the illegal way she was arrested and the misuse of police power and court illegal mishandling of the case. [Further], the purpose is to educate the public about the law and the false practices by the court.”

Please read for full details on Mu Sochua’s blog:

This case of human rights violation is one of many happening every day here in Cambodia. We are raising awareness about this terrible case. Please forward on this information in Cambodia and abroad.

Read more: Cambodian Woman faces prison in land-grabbing case.

Sweet Promises, Bitter Realities: Luisita deal breaks President Aquino’s promise of change



August 13, 2010

Hacienda Luisita farm workers, together with a broad coalition of farmers, farm workers, agrarian reform advocates, civil society, academe, legal experts and church figures today came out in full force to denounce the Hacienda Luisita compromise deal and President Aquino’s hands-off policy on the matter.

“The compromise agreement now being railroaded by the Cojuangcos ensures that the abject conditions in the massive plantation will remain the same, and even worsen,” declared Renato Lalic, President of the Farm workers Agrarian Reform Movement in Hacienda Luisita (FARM).

Together with other representatives from the CARPER for the Hacienda Luisita Movement, FARM and luminaries such as Bishop Broderick Pabillo of Manila, Atty. Christian Monsod, Akbayan Rep. Kaka Bag-ao and other groups called on PNoy to get off the fence and fulfill his promise to see Luisita ‘redistributed within five years’, as he promised during the campaign.

“PNoy will condemn the Luisita beneficiaries to a lifetime of servitude and worsening poverty if he chooses to stay mum and in doing so, legitimize the compromise deal,” added Bishop Pabillo.  “This goes against the promise of change and of following the righteous path that PNoy said would be the trademark of his administration.

“Such sweet promises now leave a bad taste in the mouth given PNoy’s inability to rise above his own personal interests,” added Bag-ao.

“The bitter reality moreover is that the compromise agreement has the imprint of coercion written all over it,’ added Lalic.”This agreement did not go through the requisite process of broad consultations and thorough review by the beneficiaries themselves.”

Lalic said that there have been reports of confusion among those who signed the agreement on just how much cash payouts they would receive, how much land would be given to each and the very list of the beneficiaries itself is suspect and has not been validated.

“The signatures being gathered by HLI is without an informed consent, forged as it is by dubious representation for the farmer and farm workers,” added Lalic.

FARM members, beneficiaries of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program in Hacienda Luisita boycotted the compromise agreement and have instead called on the implementation of CARPER in the disputed sugar hacienda.  CARPER provides for compulsory acquisition of lands and eliminated spurious schemes such as the SDO to ensure effective ownership of the land by farmers themselves.

“It is therefore crucial for the Supreme Court to lift the restraining order against the Presidential Agrarian Reform council resolution invalidating the SDO and subjecting Luisita to coverage under CARP,” added Atty. Christian Monsod.

Monsod said, “the SC should not even hear this case filed by the Luisita management for the recognition of this compromise deal because this should fall under the jurisdiction of DAR.”

Monsod will represent FARM which is one of the petitioners in the Supreme Court case when it resumes oral arguments on August 18. Monsod together with H4HLM and FARM will file a motion for the SC to refer the compromise deal to DAR while the SC rules on the SDO issue.

“A resolution unfavorable to farmer beneficiaries will definitely haunt him for the next six years,” warned Bag-Ao. “PNoy said pwede na ulit mangarap, but does that mean poor Filipinos can dream about anything except owning their own land?”###

For inquiries, please call Ms. Joann Fernandez of Rights Network at 09198007010 and Mr. Eugene Tecson of Centro Saka, Inc. at 09287389071.

Philippine Sumilao farmers appeal for global support for return of their land

Walk for Land, Walk for Justice


San Vicente, Sumilao, Bukidnon

Contact no: +63-908-8849590

Position Paper on the Delayed Distribution of the 144-Hectare Land to Sumilao Farmers

We the Sumilao Farmers walked for more than 1,700 kilometers from Sumilao, Bukidnon to Manila, which started on October 10, 2007 and reached Malacanang on December 18, 2007. We demanded for the return of our 144-hectare ancestral land in Sumilao, Bukidnon.

On March 29, 2008, a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was signed between the Sumilao Farmers, San Miguel Corporation (SMC), Office of the President, Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and the Church, thereby giving back the 144-hectare land to us. The next day, we occupied and tilled the 50-hectare land which is part of the 144-hectare contested land. The remaining 94 hectares will be immediately acquired outside the San Miguel Foods Incorporated (SMFI) property. Read the rest of this entry