Saturday, November 18, 2017

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News

 

Farmers submit priority list of haciendas to be dismantled and distributed

Militant peasant groups and land reform advocates from different sectors trooped to Mendiola Bridge today demanding that the Duterte administration fully cooperates with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) in expediting the crafting of a Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER) that should include provisions on free land distribution to farmers and the consequent dismantling of the hacienda system involving thousands of hectares of agricultural lands controlled by big landlords and oligarchs.

 

The NDFP and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) are expected to wind down tomorrow with the week-long fourth round of formal peace talks in The Netherlands after a shaky start and a lengthy deliberation that resulted with both parties agreeing to forge an interim joint ceasefire subject to the final signing of the CASER.

 

“There should ultimately be specific and categorical statements on free land distribution in the provisions regarding agrarian reform and rural development if we want the final document of the CASER to genuinely effect social justice,” said Antonio Flores, secretary general of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP).

 

According to KMP, one of the chief reasons for the failure of all previous programs on agrarian reform is the refusal of past administrations to distribute land to the farmers for free. Citing data from the Land Bank of the Philippines, the group said that only one out of ten land reform beneficiaries have been able to pay the amortization cost imposed on awarded lands since the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) was implemented in 1988.

 

KMP also said that it has submitted to the NDFP a priority list of landholdings or haciendas owned and controlled by the country’s biggest and despotic landlords and multinational corporations that would have to be dismantled and distributed for free to millions of tillers as soon as the CASER is finally signed and becomes operative.

 

Among those in the said list are the more than six thousand hectares of sugar land in Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac which according to KMP is still under the direct control of the Cojuangco-Aquinos despite a 2012 Supreme Court decision that ordered its distribution, the 6,000-hectare banana plantation owned by the Lapanday Foods Corporation and the Lorenzos of Mindanao who are said to be co-owners as well of Hacienda Luisita, and the more than 30,000 hectares of agricultural estates owned by Eduardo Cojuangco mostly found in Negros, Isabela and Mindanao.

 

Also shortlisted are the following: Hacienda Looc (Batangas) – 8,650 has.; Hacienda Dolores (Pampanga) 8,100 has.; Hacienda Yulo (Laguna) – 7,100 has.; Clark Green City (Pampanga-Tarlac) – 36,000 has.; Fort Magsaysay (Nueva Ecija) – 3,100 has.; Yulo King Ranch (Palawan) – 40,000 has.; Hacienda Roxas (Batangas)- 8,813 has.; Hacienda Zobel (Batangas) 12,000 has.; Hacienda Larrazabal (Ormoc) 6,500 has.; Araneta Estate (Bulacan) 3,000 has.; Floirendo plantations (Mindanao) 8,500 has.;  DMCI-Consunji logging areas (Sultan Kudarat)- 102,954 has; and San Miguel Corp. energy areas (Davao) 19,000 has.

 

“KMP and its allies in the workers sector and other progressive groups are part of a national movement for free land distribution that will continue to pressure the government to seriously work things out with the NDFP in addressing the root causes of the armed conflict primarily by initiating fundamental social and economic reforms through genuine agrarian reform and national industrialization,” Flores said.

KMP also called on the Duterte government, especially in the light of an impending interim joint ceasefire between the GRP and the NDFP, to immediately order the Armed Forces of the Philippines to pull out its troops in the countryside which the group said have stepped up its military operations in peasant and national minority communities since February.

“We are joined in our protest action today by our Lumad brothers and sisters who have come all the way from Mindanao to condemn the recent bombings of the AFP in their areas; the President should immediately put a stop to the continued terror attacks of the military against the people, ” Flores said.#

NEWS RELEASE 

Farmers and rights groups: #StopKillingFarmers! Free land distribution now!

A day before the first anniversary of the Kidapawan massacre and two days before the scheduled resumption of formal talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), hundreds of farmers, human rights defenders and peace advocates held a protest action today at Mendiola Bridge to condemn the escalating extra judicial killings against farmers and to call on both panels of the peace negotiations to expedite the signing of a comprehensive agreement on social and economic reforms (CASER) that will provide for, among others, the free land distribution to Filipino farmers.

#StopKillingFarmers

In a statement, the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and the #StopKillingFarmers Network said that the campaign of killing farmers by state agents unleashed by the previous Aquino administration as exemplified by the bloody dispersal of protesting farmers in Kidapawan on April 1, 2016, continues to terrorize the countryside under the present Duterte government.

“Since July last year, extra judicial killings of farmers, indigenous peoples, workers and activists have already taken 46 lives, the rate of which sharply increasing since the Armed Forces of the Philippines declared an all-out war against the CPP-NPA-NDFP in February,” said KMP secretary general Antonio Flores.

In Compostela Valley alone, according to Flores, ten farmers have already been killed, all active participants in the struggle for land reform and the campaign to drive away military troops from civilian peasant communities.

“The government’s so-called Development Support and Security Plan or Oplan Kapayapaan is a mere continuation of previous regimes’ fascist and US-instigated counter insurgency programs that have failed miserably to address the root causes of the armed conflict and instead took a great number of civilian lives,” Flores said.

According to KMP, while it considers the resumption of the peace talks between the GRP and the NDFP as a positive development, President Duterte, in his capacity as commander-in-chief, should order the scrapping of Oplan Kapayapaan and effect the immediate pull out of AFP troops in the countryside.

Free land distribution and peace

The fourth round of the peace talks this April will continue to deliberate and try to harmonize the respective CASER drafts of both panels amid the calls of peasant groups and various sectors for genuine agrarian reform, rural development and national industrialization.

The KMP said that it will keenly follow the developments during the fourth round of talks specifically concerning the CASER provisions on agrarian reform which it believes should adopt a program of free land distribution.

“Landlessness of farmers is still among the major problems of the people, causing perpetual poverty and hunger, especially as all the land reform programs of past regimes have failed. The gravity of the land problem continues to compel farmers to organize themselves and struggle for social justice even as they become targets of brutal force by the military and other armed instruments of a state that generally protects the interest of big landlords and foreign corporations,” Flores said.

Mindanao contingent

Present in the Mendiola protest action were around 70 members of the Madaum Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries, Inc. (MARBAI) who travelled all the way from Madaum, Tagum City in Southern Mindanao to bring their urgent issues to Malacanang, particulary concerning the allegedlandgrabbingof their lands and the violence being committed against them by the Lapanday Foods Corp. (LFC), a fresh fruit production company owned by the Lorenzo landlord family.

The farmworker-beneficiaries are calling for the junking of the Agribusiness Ventures Agreement (AVA) that Lapanday is said to be using as legal basis to take over 119.25 hectares of lands intended for MARBAI and its 159 members. Despite MARBAI not being a party to the said AVA, Lapanday’s claims has resulted in the dispossession of the farmworkers and the constant harassment and violent attacks by Lapanday armed security forces against the farmers group. #

#ConfirmKaPaeng
CA should confirm DAR’s Mariano

The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) today expressed support to Secretary Rafael Mariano who was bypassed by the Commission on Appointments (CA).

The peasant group said it was unfortunate that Mariano was ‘snubbed’ by the CA and was not confirmed on time. Mariano, who is set to be reappointed by President Duterte, will again face the CA on May when the session resumes.

“We knew that Ka Paeng would hurdle his appointment at the CA. His pro-farmer thrust and directives at DAR and his committment to advance genuine agrarian reform are regarded as ‘adversarial’ by big landlords and landowners,” said KMP Secretary General Antonio Flores.

The KMP leader said they will staunchly support Mariano as he may face oppositors especially from big landlords. “Mariano’s experience as a farmer-leader and a  progressive lawmaker are among his strengths that should be considered by the CA.

Flores said as far as farmers are concerned, “Mariano is doing a good job at DAR and we want him to fully expedite the agency’s mandate to protect the land tenurial rights of farmers and to ensure the equitable distribution of lands to achieve food self-sufficiency, agricultural productivity and rural industrialization.”

“Ka Paeng has our full trust and confidence. His leadership at DAR continue to inspire farmers to further assert their right to the lands,” the peasant leader said. ###

 

‘Dugo sa patubig’

 

 

The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas strongly condemned the appointment of former AFP Chief Ricardo Visaya as the administrator of the embattled National Irrigation Administration (NIA). “Visaya’s appointment as NIA chief is a grave insult and affront to farmers. Visaya has a long list of crimes against the peasant masses. We will counter his appointment,” said KMP chairperson Joseph  Canlas.

 

“NIA is a civilian agency mandated to provide irrigation services to farmers and agricultural producers to help ensure food security and rice self-sufficiency. Why appoint a retired general, a human rights violator, more so, a much-reviled former AFP Chief to NIA’s top post?” asked Canlas, noting that ‘Visaya is more likely to pour blood instead of water into farmlands and irrigation canals.’

 

“We are demanding free irrigation, not a free reign for Visayas to continuously abuse farmers’ rights,” the KMP leader said.

 

Visaya was the ground commander of the 69th Infantry Batallion Philippine army during the 2004 Hacienda Luisita Massacre that killed seven farmworkers in the disputed Cojuangco-Aquino landholdings. Visaya, a trusted protege of Gen. Jovito Palparan, is also accountable for the abduction and torture of brothers Raymond and Reynaldo Manalo, the disappearance of UP students Karen Empeno and Sherlyn Cadapan, and the militarization of urban poor communities during Arroyo’s Oplan Bantay Laya.

 

In Mindanao, Visaya served as the commander of the Philippine Army’s 4th Infantry Division, the notorious military unit responsible for killing and forcible evacuation of farmers and Lumad and their communities in CARAGA and Northern Mindanao regions.

 

During the start of Oplan Bayanihan under the previous Aquino administration, the Philippine Army’s 69th Infantry Battalion which was personally trained and handled by Visaya was deployed to Davao City where it unleashed terror upon the civilian population. In 2015, the same army unit was responsible for the strafing of the home of KMP leader Aida Seisa in Davao’s Paquibato district and killing three people, including a tribal datu.

 

“Visaya is a legit Jovito Palparan clone. He is responsible for numerous killings of peasant and Lumad leaders, human rights abuses and military atrocities in peasant communities,” the KMP leader said.

 

The farmers group will protest Visaya’s appointment and Duterte’s persisting political accommodation to the retired army general. ###

 

 

 

Our quest for a just and lasting peace will continue even as we welcome the termination of the unilateral interim ceasefire by the New People’s Army (NPA),” said KMP chairperson Joseph Canlas in reaction to the declaration of termination of ceasefire by the NPA.

“The termination of the ceasefire by the NPA will give justice to farmers  who are perpetually terrorized by AFP troops and private security of landlords, plantations and mining companies,” Canlas said.

“We will not be surprised if in the coming days and weeks, the NPA would carry out punitive actions against anti-people and environmentally-destructive enterprises guilty of crimes against the peasant masses,” the KMP leader said

Canlas said the Lorenzo family owned-Lapanday Foods Corp. is responsible for landgrabbing and eviction of thousands of agrarian reform beneficiaries in Tagum Davao del Norte while San Miguel Corporation’s Agusan Minerals and Petroleum is implicated in the killing of Compostela Valley peasant leader and anti-mining advocate Jimmy Saypan.

dec-12_lapanday-shooting

“For more than four months, we have raised to the peace negotiating panels, particularly to the GRP, complaints on incidents of extrajudicial killings, illegal arrest, forced evacuation, threat, harassment and intimidation and use of schools, medical, religious and other public places for military purpose in rural areas which are violations of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CAHRIHL). Farmers and indigenous peoples have also demanded the pull-out of AFP troops from farms and ancestral lands.”

“The mercenary AFP took advantage of ceasefire to further inflict harm upon the civilian population, particularly farmers and Lumad asserting genuine land reform and resisting landgrabbing schemes.”

Canlas noted that from August 2016 to January this year, 20 farmers were killed, either by suspected state forces and paramilitary acting as security force multipliers and goons of landlords.

Negros_ejk_jan25_1_edited

“The AFP’s intense militarization campaign under the guise of Peace and Development Outreach Program (PDOP) in rural areas and peasant communities that are being carried out by AFP have resulted to ceasefire violations and have further endangered the lives and livelihood of millions of farmers and rural folk.”

“The government peace panel reneged several times on its pledge to release political prisoners including sick and elderly detainees,” Canlas said who also noted that KMP and Tanggol Magsasaka have aided rights group KARAPATAN in fulfilling documentation requirements necessary for the releaseof peasant political prisoners.

More than 400 political prisoners, majority of whom are from peasant origin, are still languishing in jails nationwide on trumped-up and fabricated criminal cases.

Canlas said farmers will remain vigilant in exposing the government’s new counterinsurgency plan — Oplan Kapayapaan. ###

 

 

Disarm and arrest Lapanday security guards– KMP

Lapanday, local police, LGU accountable for violence against ARBs and farmworkers

 

Tagum City — The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) said perpetrators in the series of shooting at Lapanday Foods Corporation (Lapanday) in Barangay San Isidro, Madaum, Tagum City that wounded nine (9) farmworkers from the Madaum Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Inc. (MARBAI) should be brought to justice. “To ensure the safety of farmworkers and ARBs, we demand the immediate disarming and arrest of all security guards involved in the shootings. We also demand that the Lapanday management, the Lorenzo family, the local police and LGU be held accountable for the violence and injustice against farmers,” said Antonio Flores, secretary general of KMP.

“There is imminent danger and threat to the life of farmworkers as long as armed security guards are inside the banana plantation,” the KMP leader said. On December 9, MARBAI farmworkers decided to launch the mass action and militant assertion to reclaim the 145 hectares of land awarded to them by the government in 1996 but was landgrabbed by Lapanday. The ARBs were not able to utilize the lands for more than six years. Since June 3, 2016, they have set up camp outside the plantation gates to protest Lapanday’s landgrabbing and onerous AVAs. “The exploitative AVA between Lapanday and the ARBs’ cooperatives left farmworkers with only an average of P70 daily income from the banana plantation,” Flores said.

The national fact finding and solidarity mission (NFFSM) initiated by KMP, Unyon ng Manggagawa sa Agrikultura, KARAPATAN, and local organizations from Southern Mindanao Region found several rights violations committed against MARBAI farmworkers. “The security guards intended to kill the farmworkers even without any provocation. Documented accounts reveal that the security guards directly pointed their shotguns at the ARBs,” said Reynante Mantos, chairperson of the Hugpong sa mga Mang-uuma sa Compostela, provincial chapter of KMP.

Initial findings of the NFFSM also showed that security guards, employed by ACDISA security agency, fired shotguns during the period of December 9 to 14. Despite this, the Tagum City police refused to arrest the security guards. The indiscriminate shooting of farmers by the armed security guards on December 12 and December 14, respectively, resulted to the wounding of the following victims: Jose Balucos, 42 years old Rico Saladaga; Jojo Gomez, 26 years old; Belardo Francisco, 53 years old; Emanuel Buladaco, 46 years old; Joseph Bertulfo, 58 years old; Taldan Miparanun, 16 years old; Ronald Patindol, 32 years old and Randy Rana. As of today, Balucos and Saldaga, are still recuperating at the Davao Regional Hospital Tagum City.

Flores said “the continuing absence of a genuine land reform would inevitably compel tillers and farmworkers to launch more militant actions to assert their moral and historical claim to the lands.” In Mindanao, farmworkers are preparing for more land occupation activities and mass actions to press their legitimate demand for land, increase in the farmgate prices of their agricultural produce and genuine land reform. The peasant group also supported the demands of MARBAI farmworkers for their immediate reinstatement on the lands, revocation of the oppressive agribusiness venture agreements (AVAs) with Lapanday, the cancellation of illegitimate debts and loans charged by Lapanday to ARBs amounting to Php800-million; the granting of subsidies and production support to ARBs and the enactment of House Bill 555 or the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB) that seeks free land distribution to tillers. ###

Reference: Antonio Flores, KMP SecGen – 0921-2726682

 

 

 

Wounded agrarian reform beneficiaries remain in critical condition

 

Madaum, Tagum City—Undaunted Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries militantly cut the bitter banana trees of Lapanday Food Corporation (LFC) as an act of collective defiance, like cedulas being torn during the cry of Pugad Lawin. Farmers continue to assert their right to land amid threats and shootings from LFC gunmen.

Madaum Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Association Inc (MARBAI) decided to raise their protest after the LFC guards opened fire at them yesterday, hurting five of its members and a supporter. “Wala na kaming aasahan pa sa mapanlinlang at sakim na kumpanya ng berdugong Lapanday. Ang mahalaga ngayon ay ang mabawi namin ang aming lupa, amin ito kaya dapat kami ang magsasaka.”

In a statement by Antonio Tuyak, UGMAD-TRA Spokesperson. MARBAI claims that the 1,469 hectares of land from Hijos Plantation Incorporated belongs to the the 1,291 agrarian reform beneficiaries as it was awarded to them. Meanwhile, the struggle of MARBAI continue to gain support. Hugpong sa Mag-Uuma sa Walog Compostela (HUMAWAC) a farmers alliance express support calling more farmers to join the MARBAI struggle. #

(photo by Kilab Multimedia)

 

YESTERDAY:

 

alert_lapanday-shooting_tagum_dec12

 

Land not bullets

The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) today condemned the shooting of banana plantation farmworkers reclaiming 145 hectares of government-awarded land inside the plantation of Lapanday Foods Corporation (LFC). in Tagum City, Davao del Norte.

 

At around 7:20AM today, private security guards of the LFC opened fire against farmworkers and agrarian reform beneficiaries belonging to the Madaum Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Inc. (MARBAI). Based on initial reports, at least seven farmers and land reform advocates were injured in the strafing incident.

 

“The farmworkers are only reclaiming the land that is rightfully theirs so they can start planting food crops for their consumption. Farmers are only exercising their moral and democratic right to till the land but security guards, upon the order of the Lapanday management, opened fire and strafed them,” said Antonio Flores, secretary General of KMP.

 

Among those injured were Emmanuel Buladaco of Tagum City, Rico Saladaga of Brgy Tibagon; Talban Miparanum of Brgy Kingking; Belardo Francisco of Brgy. Tagdangua; Jojo Gomez of Brgy Magnaga all located in Pantukan town and Jose Balucos of Brgy. Teresa, Maco in Compostela Valley. The wounded farmworkers were rushed to the regional hospital in Tagum City.

 

During the dispersal, LFC personnel sprayed chemicals on the protesting farmworkers using the aircraft utilized for aerial spraying in banana plantations. The farmworkers took refuge in a nearby church.

 

On December 9, hundreds of MARBAI farmworkers launched collective actions and entered the LFC compound to assert their installation to the awarded lands. Despite the harassment from security guards, they successfully entered the plantation. This morning, the security guards attacked the farmworkers as LFC personnel was scheduled to harvest bananas in the disputed land.

 

In the 1990s, the land, formerly owned by Hijo Plantation Inc. was voluntary offered for land reform coverage. The land was awarded to employees and three groups of ARBs were organized which later formed themselves into cooperatives.

 

In 1999, the Hijo Employees Agrarian Reform Cooperative 1. (HEARBCO 1) entered into growership contract agreement with Hijo Plantation Inc. (now Lapanday Foods Corp.) and Global Fruits Corp. for a period of 10 years. After years of growership contract with Lapanday, the HEARBCO 1 incurred more than P1-B debt and a section of farmers subsequently rejected the renegotiated growership contract with Lapanday because it is grossly disadvantageous to them. They organized and formed MARBAI and filed for petition for reinstatement to their tillage. A compromise agreement between HEARBCO 1 and LFC was agreed in 2011 reducing the debt to P800,000. In December 2015, Provincial Agrarian Reform Adjudicator Jose Nilo Tillano issued an order reinstating the MARBAI farmworkers.

 

“Two years after the order was issued, the farmworkers are still not installed on the lands. We call on DAR to act swiftly and decisively on this matter to prevent any more violence,” said Flores.

 

Last Friday, despite harassment from security guards, the farmers successfully entered the LFC compound as they asserted to reclaim the land. On November 18, hundreds of ARBs from Mindanao led by MARBAI, started launching actions and protests to reclaim the lands and start farming again. Thousands of farmworkers were unjustly terminated by the LFC in 2011.

 

Lapanday Foods Corp. is owned by the family of former Department of Agriculture Secretary Cito Lorenzo. ###

 

Reference: Antonio Flores, Secretary General, 0921-2726682 

 

 

Yulo King Ranch peasant killing

 

The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) condemned the killing of a peasant leader in Coron, Palawan inside the disputed 39,000 hectares of land known as ‘Yulo King Ranch’ being land grabbed by the government and private entities in Coron and Busuanga in Palawan. Last September 20, farmer leader Arnel Figueroa was reportedly shot by Dante Mayo, a blue guard employed by the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) of the Department of Agriculture.

KMP secretary general Antonio Flores said the absence of a genuine land reform program by the government has been capitalized by landlords and landgrabbers to strengthen control over the lands by attacking farmers using hired goons, security guards and state security forces turned private armies. “Farmers who assert their right to till through land cultivation activities are either killed, arrested and jailed or subjected to various forms of abuses,” the peasant leader said citing the recent peasant killings in Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija, Isabela and North Cotabato.

Some 8,000 hectares of alienable and disposable public lands in Yulo King Ranch (YKR) are the subject of request for land reform coverage by different peasant groups.

Flores said that a fact-finding mission led by the KMP in Yulo King Ranch in 2014, declared that “the disputed grazing and pasture land, if distributed and cultivated, could ensure food security, economic sustainability and self-sufficiency not only for the people of Coron and Busuanga but also for the entire country.”

The KMP leader said that the bogus Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) has declared the Yulo King Ranch lands as unfit for farming even with the presence of agricultural activities. “For decades, farmers have been cultivating and planting cashew, coconut, banana jackfruit, calamansi and bananas fruit bearing trees in the vast lands.”

“But the PD 27 and the succeeding bogus CARP has exempted the disputed lands from actual land distribution and as a result, rendered farmers landless and poor,” Flores said.

“With 40,000 hectares benefiting merely a thousand cattles, while thousands of farmers are impoverished, hungry and lacking of access to economic productivity and self-sufficiency, this is the biggest agricultural anomaly of our country,” the KMP leader said.

Since 2013, the KMP and its regional chapter Katipunan ng mga Magsasaka sa Timog Katagalugan (KASAMA-TK) has been campaigning against the massive landgrabbing of the YKR in Coron and Busuanga in Palawan.

Farmers in Coron and Busuanga were tilling the lands even before the government, through Proclamation No. 1387 declared the 39,238.93 hectares of lands as pasture lands in 1975. The said land is the subject of a long-running dispute between farmers and the Yulo King Ranch owned by Luis Yulo and Peter Sabido, known cronies of Marcos who were able to usurp the lands during Martial Law.

In 1986, the land was sequestered by the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) as it allegedly formed part of Marcos’ ill-gotten wealth, and the management of the ranch was transferred to the Bureau of Animal Industries (BAI).

In March 2010, the Supreme Court lifted the sequestration order, and transferred the management of the land to Philippine Forest Corporation (PhilForest).

In 2013, President Benigno Aquino III signed Presidential Proclamation 663 transferring the administration of the pasture reserve to the Forest Management Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

“Under the guise of the Busuanga Pasture Reserve, the government has seized and controlled the lands. Original settlers in the affected communities, such as Tagbanua, Calamianes, and Cuyonin, were displaced from the lands to give way to the establishment of business and economic activities like grazing and pasture activities, agro-forestry, tourism, and industrial development,” Flores said.

The government, then ordered the deployment of Marines Battalion Landing Team-4 (MBLT-4) in the disputed lands to harass farmers and settlers who are defending their rights to the lands.

“YKR is recognized as the biggest ranch in Asia, and yet, the number of cattle and horses in the disputed land has dramatically decreased over the years. The vast area provided for pasture land is obviously excessive compared to the number of cattle in the whole 40,000 hectares, since only one hectare is considered sufficient for a cattle to live,” said Flores. ###

The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) said the moratorium on land use conversion and the condonation of bank penalties would provide a respite to “tens of thousands of farmers who are facing threats of eviction” due to projects in agricultural lands and the Land Bank foreclosure.

The KMP cited as examples land use conversion cases at Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac, Hacienda Looc in Batangas and the agricultural lands affected by the MRT-7 project in Bulacan.


On September 12, 2016, the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC) approved a Two-Year Moratorium on Land Use Conversion (LUC) and started preparing an Executive Order for its implementation.

According to DAR Secretary Rafael Mariano, “the Executive Order Declaring a Moratorium on the Processing and Approval of All Applications  for Land Use Conversion of Agricultural Lands to Non-Agricultural Purposes shall cover the following:”

– all awarded lands under RA 6657 as amended, PD 27 and other agrarian reform laws

– all agricultural lands with Notices of Coverage (NOCs)

– all irrigated and irrigable lands

– all prime agricultural lands

– retention areas of landowners which are tenanted or occupied by tenant-farmers.

– all agricultural lands with presence of agricultural activities and cultivated by farmers, individually or collectively.

– the moratorium shall cover the 4.7 million hectares agricultural lands distributed or awarded to agrarian reform beneficiaries, landholdings under premature or illegal conversion and landholdings without conversion order issued by DAR which has the exclusive authority to approve and disapprove of land use conversion.

– PARC will create a Task Force to assess the situation of Land Use Conversion in the country.

– DAR will promulgate the rules and regulations for the Land Use Conversion moratorium order.