Category Archives: Issue: Agrarian Reform

PAKISAMA receives recognition as finalist for the First ILC Award

PAKISAMA's wins ILC award
From left: Rene Cerilla (PAKISAMA), Amanalieva Mirgull (RDF), and Ykhanbai Yerkin (JASIL). Photo by ILC Asia.

PAKISAMA president Ireneo Cerilla received a plaque of recognition as one of nine finalists for the First International Land Coalition (ILC) Award during the ILC Global Land Forum and Assembly of Members in Dakar, Senegal last May 12-16. The recognition was given for PAKISAMA’s entry entitled “Twenty years of non-violent protest to benefit from the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program” which falls under ILC’s commitment to “Strong Small-Scale Farming Systems.” Continue reading PAKISAMA receives recognition as finalist for the First ILC Award

FNN attends land rights conference in Chang Mai

An organic farmer from FNN shows his bitter gourd harvest. Many small farmers in Cambodia are struggling to secure access to land, while improving food security through sustainable agriculture practices.

by Pan Sopheap, FNN

Chang Mai, Thailand — Mr. Mao That, FNN representative, attended the conference on land rights in Chang Mai last November 9-11, 2011.

Participants to the conference shared their experiences from different countries on land rights issues and how they are responding to them.

A conference statement was issued on the need to raise awareness on land rights and to speed up land titling to secure tenure of small farmers, as well as the implementation of land reform.

In the News: Filipino farmers protest Supreme Court ruling on sugar estate owned by President Aquino’s family

MANILA, Philippines—Tension gripped a demonstration by Hacienda Luisita farmers and their supporters who trooped to the Supreme Court on Wednesday to protest what they called an “anti-farmer, pro-landlord” ruling of the tribunal on a decades-old dispute over a sugar estate owned by the family of President Benigno Aquino.

Led by Anakpawis party-list Representative Rafael Mariano, about 100 protesters insisted on holding their indignation rally in front of the high court compound on Padre Faura Street in Manila before noon.

But Civil Disturbance Management personnel of the Manila Police District Station 5 set up steel barricades to block the protesters at the corner of Padre Faura and Taft Avenue.

Read more

In the News (Philippines): Urgency of agrarian reform, wage increase measures stressed

MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno S. Aquino III has been urged to certify as urgent the pending measures on agrarian reform and the P125-across-the-board wage increase to ease the plight of farmers and workers who have been reeling from the rising prices of basic commodities, utility services, fuel and fare hikes.

Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano, principal author of the House Bills 374 and 375, called on the President to show his government’s sincerity in helping out the people by endorsing the two measures.

Read more at Manila Bulletin

AFA participates in the Sixth ASEAN People’s Forum

(Photo courtesy of Corinna Araneta Lopa)

The Asian Farmers’ Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA) participated in the Sixth ASEAN People’s Forum (APF6), held in Hanoi, Vietnam, last September 24-26, 2010.

The APF6 was aimed at helping strengthen solidarity and cooperation among ASEAN people for a people-oriented ASEAN community that will really be for their benefit.

Carrying the theme “Solidarity and Action for a People-Oriented ASEAN”, the forum was attended by around 700 delegates representing people’s organizations of different sectors from ASEAN countries.

AFA and its members, Viet Nam Farmers’ Union (VNFU) and Aliansi Petani Indonesia (API), co-organized the “Forum Workshop on Peasantry Food Sovereignty and Rural Development”.

Amalia Pulungan and Fadil Kaiom of API spoke about land reform in Indonesia and Vu Le y Voan of VNFU spoke about farmers’ access to market, while AFA played its video entitled “Farmers’ Rights, Farmers’ Lives” during the workshop.

AFA also helped in preparing the workshop report together with Action Aid International and VNFU, while Manh Hung of VNFU moderated the session.

AFA and its members also participated in the workshop entitled “ASEAN FTAS: Boon or Bane to Development and Regional Integration? “

AFA Secretary General Esther Penunia presented AFA’s proposals for a regional agriculture trade agenda in ASEAN during the workshop.

AFA and its members also participated in the workshop entitled “Assessing ASEAN Social Protection Responses to Financial Crisis toward Developing Comprehensive and Sustainable Solution.”

(Photo courtesy of Corinna Araneta Lopa)

Manh Hung of VNFU spoke on the problems and recommendations on international development finance , while Esther Penunia of AFA spoke about the impact of the financial crisis on small scale men and women farmers in SEA countries during the workshop.

Click here for the program of the APF6

Click here for the final statement of the APF6

Click here for other documents and press releases

For more news and information about Asian farmers, go to:

Filipino farmers mark agrarian reform anniversary, death of farmer-leader

Philippine national peasant federation PAKISAMA, a member of AFA, joined various small farmer organizations, non-government organizations, and coalitions in the Philippines in calling for President-elect Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III to distribute Hacienda Luisita (a huge estate owned by the Aquino clan in the province of Tarlac) under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) within the first 100 days of his administration.

The call was made by the Reform CARP Movement during the commemoration of the 22nd anniversary of CARP in front of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) on June 10.

During the commemoration, PAKISAMA National President Crispino Aguelo said, “We expect more from him (President-elect Aquino III) because he said that he would pushfor serious changes for the sake of the Filipino people.”
Continue reading Filipino farmers mark agrarian reform anniversary, death of farmer-leader

Remembering Ka Rene Penas: 1st Death Anniversary

On June 5, 2010, in the Freedom Hall of the Sumilao farmers in Barangay San Vicente, Sumilao, Bukidnon, family, friends and colleagues of slain farmer-leader Ka Rene Penas observed his first death anniversary – in remembrance of both the still wanting justice for his brutal killing, and the much-to-be-seen justice for …the landless farmers.

Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOAs) for 68.25 hectares was also finally turned over to the PANAW Multi-purpose Cooperative by DAR Regional Director Felix Aguhob, during the first death anniversary tribute. Land titles for the remaining 10.11 hectares thus still awaited final distribution.

The investigation and prosecution against the suspect/s for the killing of Ka Rene Penas was also
disclosed to be too wanting – considering the lack of progress after already a year from his death.
After the morning observation at the Freedom Hall, family and friends of Ka Rene Penas headed to his burial site to pay their respects and tribute with candles, flowers, drinks, and a song. (BALAOD Mindanaw)

In the News (Phils): Rationalize DAR to boost effective agrarian-reform program, says UP prof

CLOSING unnecessary offices and laying off personnel at the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) may not only save the government money, but also save farmers, a professor of the University of the Philippines said.

Maria Dolores Bernabe of the UP College of Social Work and Community Development cited such move be undertaken by the incoming administration replacing that of President Arroyo’s by June.

“There’s a need to rationalize the DAR. The government can save money by phasing out offices and personnel, or relocating them to other posts, where no longer necessary,” Bernabe said at a recent public forum on property reform and related issues at the UP Diliman, Quezon City campus.

The forum, according to UP, aims to identify issues that the public may understand before voting in May for their leaders.

Bernabe’s recommendation, one of five she forwarded as the next administration’s best way to implement agrarian-reform, is based on her analysis that “implementing a comprehensive agrarian reform program is essential if agriculture is to survive in this globalizing world.”

Citing data from the Philippine Institute for Development Studies, Bernabe said Filipino families included as agrarian-reform beneficiaries (ARBs) posted higher income (23 percent) than those excluded from the agrarian-reform program.

Read the full story at Business Mirror

In the News (Indonesia): Thousands of villagers reclaim, cultivate land

The Jakarta Post, 01/11/2010

Disappointed by a protracted land dispute, thousands of villagers in South Sumatra have reclaimed plantation land managed by state-owned plantation company PTPN VII Cinta Manis.

The residents of Rengas village, Payaraman district, Ogan Ilir regency, placed poles along the disputed land and planted pineapple and rubber trees on the land on Saturday.

Similarly, residents in neighboring Lubuk Bandung and Betung villages also reclaimed land managed by the plantation company.

The dispute over 1,529 hectares of land had triggered a shooting incident recently. Police mobile brigade officers shot protesters, injuring dozens of villagers. Eleven of the residents were treated at hospital for their wounds.

The residents’ efforts to reclaim their land was supported by several NGOs, including the Palembang Legal Aid Institute (LBH), the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi), the Indonesian Farmers Union and the Agrarian Reform Consortium.

Read the full story at The Jakarta Post

AFA attends sustainable sourcing conference (Nov 30-Dec 1)

AFA attended the 3rd Summit in the Global Series on Sustainably Sourcing Agricultural Raw Materials organized by the London Business Conferences in IBIS Earls Court, London last November 30 to December 1, 2009. AFA was represented by PAKISAMA Vice President for Mindanao Michael Saguisihan who gave a presentation on the situation of coconut farmers in the Philippines, and AFA’s sustainable agriculture initiatives.

Click here for Mr. Saguisihan’s speech:

Click here for more information about the conference:

AFA supports fair land law processes in Timor-Leste

Dear fellow land rights advocates in Timor Leste,

Our organization, Asian Farmers’ Association or AFA, supports your call for the implementation of the Minimum Requirements to ensure meaningful public participation in developing your country’s Land Law.

AFA, a regional alliance of nine national farmers’ organizations in eight Asian countries, believes that security of land tenure is a basic requirement for peace and sustainable development of small scale men and women farmers and indigenous peoples.

We hope you will have an effective land law that respects the wishes and culture of the people, gives rights to those who will actually farm on the lands, and facilitates small scale farmers and IPs claim to these rights.

In solidarity,

Ma. Estrella Penunia
Secretary General
Asian Farmers’ Association

Continue reading AFA supports fair land law processes in Timor-Leste

In the News: Philippine agrarian reform extension law passed

(Excerpt from the news report: “We dedicate this victory to Ka Rene Peñas, whose life and struggle will always inspire us,” Hontiveros said.

She was referring to the farmer leader of Sumilao, Bukidnon, who was slain on June 6.

Peñas was one of the participants in the 1,770-kilometer “walk for land, walk for justice” of Sumilao farmers in October 2007 meant to prod the government to award the land their families had been tilling for decades.)

MANILA, Philippines—After more than 12 hours of deliberations, the congressional bicameral conference committee finally approved late Tuesday night a measure “subject to style” extending the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) for another five years.

The program is set to expire this month.

The proposed bill, or CARPer (CARP with Extension and Reforms) Law, will now be sent back to the Senate and the House of Representatives for ratification before it is submitted to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for signature.

Read the full story at the Philippine Daily Inquirer

PAKISAMA leader ambushed! (updated)

Renato Penas, Vice-President of PAKISAMA, was ambushed dead by unidentified gunmen at 11:00 PM yesterday, on the way to his farm in Sumilao, Bukidnon.

He was 51.

His 2 companions are in the hospital nursing gunshot wounds.

It was a high price to pay for selflessly dedicating himself to the agrarian reform movement.

He is one of the most respected, trusted farmer-leaders, and whose creative, dynamic ideas have fired the spirits of many farmers to make the agrarian reform program truly work in the country.

Continue reading PAKISAMA leader ambushed! (updated)

In the News (Phils): House approves CARP extension

MANILA, Philippines—With few fireworks, the House of Representatives passed on third and final reading Wednesday night the bill extending the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program for five years and providing it a P100-billion budget for land acquisition and distribution.

On the last session day of the House before it went on sine die adjournment, 211 congressmen voted for, 13 were against while two abstained from voting on House Bill 4077, or the proposed CARPER (CARP with Extension and Reforms) Law, principally authored by Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman and Akbayan party-list Rep. Risa Hontiveros, which restores the provision allowing the “compulsory acquisition” of lands.

”The acquisition and distribution of all remaining agricultural lands shall be extended for a period of five years from the effectivity of this Act,” the bill said, adding that after June 30, 2009, the modes of acquisition shall be limited to voluntary offer to sell and compulsory acquisition.

Read the full story at the Philippine Daily Inquirer

In the News (Phils): Farmers brave rains, breach House gate

(Ka Vic Fabe and Ka Sita Esmao of PAKISAMA are among the farmers who were arrested by the police and hauled off to a police camp. They were later released without charges at around 2:00 AM the next day, June 4.)

MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATE 2) Around 200 rain-soaked farmers breached the north gate of the Batasan Pambansa complex and held a rally at the doorstep of the session hall building on Wednesday to press for the passage of a bill extending the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).

The farmers pushed for House Bill 4077 or the CARP extension with reforms on the last day of session before Congress adjourns sine die.

After over an hour outside the session hall, police, who were armed with shields dispersed the protesters and loaded them on three buses that would bring them to Camp Karingal, a police camp in Quezon City. There were no reported injuries.

Read the full story at the Philippine Daily Inquirer

Sumilao Land Struggle


The Higaonons are indigenous people of southern Philippines. Their ancestral land stretches across the valley of Sayawan and Palaopao mountains in Bukidnon province. But people who did not belong to their community obtained the legal ownership of the land. In the 1930s, there were forcibly evicted from their balaang yuta(holy land). They returned as farm workers to the land that had become a cattle ranch.

The legally registered owners of the cattle ranch changed through the years, and subsequent owners divided the land into smaller pieces. In 1984, one hundred forty-four hectares of the land owned by the Quisumbing family and located in Sumilao town were leased to Del Monte Philippines, Inc. (DMPI) for ten years. The adjacent other portion of the land became the estate of the Carlos family.

With the advent of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law in 1988 (CARP), the one-hundred-forty- four-hectare ancestral land in Sumilao town was declared in 1990 as subject to the agrarian reform program. One hundred thirty-seven Mapadayonong Panaghiusa sa mga Lumad Alang sa Damlag (MAPALAD) farmers (later known as Sumilao farmers), all of Higaonon lineage, were declared beneficiaries of the program. The government issued in 1995 Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOAs) in their names. For the first time in decades, the Higaonons regained their lost ancestral land.
Continue reading Sumilao Land Struggle

Philippine farmers resume campaign for agrarian reform

Rene Peñas, PAKISAMA’s National Vice President, drops a streamer rapel-style from the pedestrian overpass in front of St. Peter’s Church in Commonwealth Avenue, Quezon City. PAKISAMA is joined by farmers from Sumilao, Banasi and Calatagan, fisherfolk leaders from MAMAMAYAN, and students from the University of Caloocan.

See more information at the PAKISAMA website

In thew News: Farmers’ interests forefront reform debate – Draft amendments to the Land Law that allow for larger landholdings are necessary to modernise the agriculture sector and increase efficiency, but this process should also ensure farmers’benefits, experts say.

The accumulation of land is one of the key issues in the draft amendments proposed to the current Land Law that were discussed at a recent conference organised by the Ministry of Agriculture
and Rural Development in HCM City.

The meeting was held to gather opinions about the draft amendments to the Land Law from all sectors.

Read the full article at Vietnam Business Finance

Solidarity Statement for PAKISAMA on the occasion of its 7th National Congress

Dear Friends in PAKISAMA,

We, the Asian Farmers’ Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA), would like to express our solidarity with you on the occasion of your 7th National Congress on March 18-20, 2009, with the theme “Unity Amidst Challenges of the Time.”

This is a very important event not only for PAKISAMA, but for all the peasants in the Philippines, who continue to struggle to own land, improve their livelihoods, and uphold their dignity.

More than two decades ago, PAKISAMA was born out of the need for a strong national farmers’ alliance that will push for genuine agrarian and aquatic reform in the country.

Two decades later, the need for a stronger and more united peasant alliance has become even greater.

The nation’s supposed lawmakers seem intent on killing the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program, by refusing to pass a law extending and reforming it, as mandated by the Constitution, and by passing a bogus resolution that removes the provisions on compulsory acquisition of the land, which is the very heart of land reform.

These challenges are heighted by the global financial meltdown, climate change, food crises, and bad governance in the lives especially of millions of landless and struggling women and men farmers, small fishers, and indigenous peoples.

We are one with you in this struggle as comrades from different Asian countries.

For it is only under a united front that we, small men and women farmers of Asia, will succeed in bringing about a better future for ourselves, our children, and our children’s children.

Mabuhay ang PAKISAMA!

Long live PAKISAMA!

In solidarity,

Ms. Sudaporn Sittisathapornkul

Ms Esther Penunia
Secretary General