Philippines : The government’s failure to redistribute land to the rural poor.

b_350_0_16777215_00___images_stories_agrarianreform_philippinesfarmers.jpg(Manila, March 12, 2014) Up to 300 farmers from five northern provinces descended on Manila on Wednesday to mark the start of Lent with a rally to protest against the government’s failure to redistribute hundreds of thousands of hectares of land to the rural poor.

Labeling themselves the “calvary of peasants,” the protesters symbolized their hardship by carrying crosses to the offices of the Department of Agrarian Reform in Quezon City.

“Small farmers have been systematically neglected,” said protest leader Jaime Tadeo.

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Declaration of Agadir

b_350_0_16777215_00___images_stories_agrarianreform_LVC_Maroc_MEeting_Josiescaled.jpg(Agadir, March 15, 2014) We, union organisations, peasant movements and social movements:

-The National Federation for the Agricultural Sector: Morocco (FNSA)/Moroccan Workers’ Union (UMT)

- National Union of Inshore and Deep Sea Fishermen: Morocco (SNMPCM)

- The French Peasants Confederation

- Palestinian Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC)

- The Senegalese National Council for Rural Cooperation and Coordination (CNCR)

- ATTAC/CADTM Morocco

- The Association of Rural Women and the Fight for Land Association: Tunisia

Met as part of the international peasant movement VIA CAMPESINA at Agadir on the 13th, 14th and 15th March 2014, under the slogan : “For the land and the sovereignty of our peoples! In solidarity and in struggle!”

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Stop Land Grabbing in the Philippines!

International Solidarity Statement Issued by La Via Campesina South East and East Asia

b_350_0_16777215_00___images_stories_agrarianreform_banner.jpg(Bangkok, March 6, 2014) La Via Campesina sends their solidarity and full support to the small-scale farmers struggling against land grabbing in Plaridel, Sumalo, Bulacan province, in Macabud, Rizal Province and in many part of Philippines.

Now the farmers in Culianin, in the town of Plaridel, in Bulacan province, are currently struggling against massive agricultural land conversions done by Vista Land Properties, owned by former Philippine Senator Manuel Villar. Named “Lumina Plaridel,” the housing project severely affected local farming livelihoods: damaging installed irrigation systems, causing flooding to nearby farms as well as disrupting farmers’ planting and harvesting routines in the area. So far, around 12.47 hectares of agriculturally viable land in Culianin are being converted, directly affecting as much as 85% of the entire community. Irrigated farmlands are being bulldozed, and farmers are constantly threatened with the destruction of their livelihoods. This was despite the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms (CARPER) prohibiting the land use conversion of all irrigated and irrigable lands.

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Land grabbing in Philippines

Report on the Solidarity Mission to Stop Land Grabbing

b_350_0_16777215_00___images_stories_agrarianreform_solidarity_missionscaled.jpg(Philippines, April 2013) Land grabbing is a political-economic issue that happens internationally and nationally, and has historically not only threatened food sovereignty but also people’s everyday life. Land grabbing as well as natural resources grabbing has been happening over a century, since Philipines’ colonization by the Spanish in 1500s. Since then lands were taken away from the local farmers and given to the catholic authorities, private companies and “big” rich families with ties to the Spanish colonial officials. Thus, the local farmers were deprived of their key livelihood source. Consequently, this made the issue of the redistribution of land and the broader Agrarian Reform urgent and a vital issue of concern to the Filipino farmers and PARAGOS. The establishment of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and the Agrarian Reform Special Account Fund in 1971 and the promulgation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL) in 1988 were attempts to address the land issue. Under Marcos regime, the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) was ratified as the land redistribution program. Under the CARL, both public lands and private agricultural lands were targeted for redistribution to the farmers. However, large tracts of land have not yet been allocated two decades after the implementation of the program. Moreover, some lands instead of being redistributed to the farmers have been privatized and titled, thus exempting them from the program. The Yulo Sugar Estate in Calamba is one such case among many others. The poor redistribution of land in the Philippines is thus a result of the nature of its colonial history and the inefficient implementation of Agrarian Reform (by DAR) in the last three decades.

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