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PHILIPPINES: Sixty two families of farmer face threats of losing land

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION   URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME

Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-267-2008

 <http://www.ahrchk.net/ua/support.php?ua=UAC-267-2008>

 </ua/support.php?ua=UAC-267-2008>

22 December 2008

———————————————————————

PHILIPPINES: Sixty two families of farmer face threats of losing land

ISSUES: Right to land; right to property; right to housing; right to

food; agriculture

———————————————————————

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) writes with deep concern

over the plight of sixty two farming families who face the threat of

losing their land in the province of Bukidnon after they were

excluded as beneficiaries for land distribution despite the fact that

they have been farming the land for at least 15 years. Their names

were replaced with persons who have never cultivated the land.

CASE DETAILS: (According to information received from the Task Force

Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP-Mindanao))

The Don Carlos Bukidnon United Farmers Association, Incorporated

(DCBUFAI), where the 62 families affected farmers are attached, was

formerly the defunct BFI-Carlos Bukidnon Farmers Association. It was

first registered in 22 April 1997 with 224 members. After changing

their name, they had also obtained a new Securities and Exchange

Commission (SEC) registration no. H1999-00214.

However, their membership has reduced to 109, including the 62

families mentioned above who now face threats of losing the land they

cultivate and from which they get their means of subsistence.

Even before they became an association, these farmers had already

entered the landholdings of Bukidnon Farmers, Inc. (BFI) on

individual capacity from 1986. It lasted for succeeding years until

the management of the BFI had them recruited into planting corn and

other crops in between the coconut trees the BFI had planted

purposely to maintain its cultivation. But when the BFI close down

after having been sequestered, the farmers have not been given any

compensation.

At present, each of these farmers had been able to cultivate about

one hectare each. The period by which each of them had been

cultivating the land ranging from fifteen to twenty years

respectively which they planted sugarcane, corn and rice.

However, of the 109 members of farmer, it is learned that sixty-two

of them have not been included in the list as beneficiaries for land

distribution under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Programme

(CARP), a law which provides distribution of land to landless

farmers, which is being implemented by the Department of Agrarian

Reform (DAR). This is despite them having been included in the list

during a pre-screening in 1996.

They were said to have been excluded from the list for reasons that

they were not in the original list which is not true. The reality

that the farmers have been actually possessing and since cultivating

the land for many years was also ignored. They, however, learned that

the new list of names of the beneficiaries recently issued are persons

who are either not residents of Don Carlos or have never cultivated

the land.

They have also learned that the land these farmers had been

cultivating have in fact already been covered by a Certificate of

Land Ownership Award (CLOA), which means the occupants have already

have the legal right to claim ownership under the CARP. However, they

only came to be aware of this until recently.

To affirm the farmer’s claims, on 24 January 2000, the office of the

Barangay Reform Council (BARC) issued a certification which affirms

that the 62 families of farmers are residents of the place and has

since been cultivating the land reform for many yeas.

On 8 October 2008, the farmers filed a petition to have their names

included as beneficiaries with the regional officer of the Department

of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Region X, in Cagayan de Oro City. The

certification that the BARC has issued was also included in the

farmer’s petition which the farmers filed.

Nine days later, October 17, John Maruhom, DAR regional director,

forwarded the farmers’ petition to Norberto R. Amora, provincial

agrarian reform officer in South Bukidnon. The endorsement has had a

notation and called for the attention of Adones Obsioma, chairman of

the Task Force BFI, for him to evaluate and take appropriate action.

On 6 November 2008, the farmers once again followed-up their petition

at Obsioma’s office. Though his secretary has already confirmed of

having received the DAR communication but she was not aware of what

action he had taken, if there is any. His secretary also could not

tell exactly when Obsioma would return to his office.

On 7 November 2008, they made another follow up again by going to the

office of the Municipal Agrarian Reform Office (MARO) but they were

told that Obsioma was on leave.

On 9 December 2008, they wrote a letter to John Maruhom, DAR regional

director, informing him that for several occasions that they made

follow-up with Obsioma’s office they have not been able to meet him

and always been told by his secretary he is not around. This prompted

the farmers to proceed to several offices of DAR in Maramag and Don

Carlos municipalities respectively hoping they could meet Obsioma to

do follow-up on their case. However their efforts failed to show

substantial progress.

On 15 December 2008, the farmers were once again told that Obsioma

was in Manila. Thus, at the time this appeal is being written,

Obsioma is yet to take action into concluding the farmer’s petition

to have their names included in the list of beneficiaries. Under the

law, only the beneficiaries of the CARP upon DAR’s assessment could

have the possibility of owning the land they cultivating under the

land reform.

SUGGESTED ACTION:

Please write letters to concerned authorities, in particular the

Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), requesting for their immediate

intervention into their farmers’ plight. The farmers’ petition should

be acted upon without delay and that inquiries into the irregularities

in the exclusion of the farmers are beneficiaries; and the inclusion

of the names of the persons who are not actually farmers.

The AHRC has also written letters to the UN Special Rapporteurs on

the right to food and on adequate housing calling for their

intervention.

To support this appeal, please click here:

<http://www.ahrchk.net/ua/support.php?ua=UAC-267-2008>

SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear ___________,

PHILIPPINES: Sixty two families of farmer face threats of losing land

Affected families: Sixty two families of farmers; residents of San

Roque and San Ramon, Don Carlos, Bukidnon; members of Don Carlos

Bukidnon United Farmers Association, Incorporated (DCBUFAI), an

organization of actual tiller farmers

Name of the responsible government agency: Department of Agrarian

Reform (DAR), the government agency responsible for implementation of

the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Programme (CARP)

Status of the case: The farmers have already filed a petition with

the DAR to have their names included as the beneficiaries for the

distribution of the land reform. However, the failure of Adones

Obsioma, chairman of the Task Force BFI, to evaluate and take

appropriate action to have the petition resolve promptly aggravated

the farmer’s plight of facing the threats of losing the land.

I am writing to express my grave concern about the plight of the

sixty families of farmers mentioned above who faces threats of losing

the land where they have since been cultivating at least for 15 years.

It is extremely disappointing that these farmers, despite them having

actually possessed the land and cultivating them for at least 15

years, their names have not been included in the list of

beneficiaries for land distribution.

Instead, the name of persons who are either not residents of the

place and never actually cultivated the land were included in the

list of beneficiaries which is completely high questionable. I could

not comprehend why the farmers who are supposed to benefit this land

are in fact facing threats of being deprived or lose their land. Not

only did this procedures questionable but also legally incoherent.

The farmer’s plight, too, had been aggravated by the government’s

failure, in particular chairman of the Task Force BFI, Adones

Obsioma; and the Department of Agrarian Reform’s (DAR) office’ to

have the farmers’ petition to have their names included in the list

of beneficiaries be resolved without delay.

I have learned that since November 6 of this year, the farmers could

either not locate Obsioma at his office for several occasion as they

make follow up for their petition. Also Obsioma also failed to take

immediate action to respond the DAR regional office endorsement in

Cagayan de Oro for him to take action on the petition. It is

disappointing that Obsioma have continuously fails perform duties he

is obliged of doing and is expected from him.

Apart from that, the expansion of a pineapple and banana plantation

in their area has aggravated the scenario that would lose their land

unless the government responsible in dealing with their case takes

prompt action. The lack of concern to have the farmer’s plight

resolve promptly as what is being shown by the public officials is

unacceptable.

It is disappointing that these farmers have had to endure threats of

losing the land they cultivated which would eventually have a

tremendous effect in their families as they would lose their means of

subsistence.

I fail to comprehend that although details and the evidences in this

case have provided that these families of farmers should have had

benefited this land under CARP; however, in the implementation of

this programme is otherwise. And even though were DAR itself have

identified these farmers as beneficiaries during their initial

screening it fails to upheld these farmers right by failing to act on

their petition promptly.

I therefore urge you to take an effective and adequate action in this

case.

Yours sincerely,

————–

PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:

1. Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo

President

Republic of the Philippines

Malacanang Palace

JP Laurel Street, San Miguel

Manila 1005

PHILIPPINES

Fax: +63 2 736 1010

Tel: +63 2 735 6201 / 564 1451 to 80

E-mail: corres@op.gov.ph <mailto:corres@op.gov.ph>

2. Ms. Leila De Lima

Commissioner

Commission on Human Rights

SAAC Bldg., Commonwealth Avenue

U.P. Complex, Diliman

Quezon City

PHILIPPINES

Fax: +63 2 929 0102

Tel: +63 2 928 5655 / 926 6188

E-mail: chr.delima@yahoo.com <mailto:chr.delima@yahoo.com>

 or mtm_rodulfo@yahoo.com <mailto:mtm_rodulfo@yahoo.com>

3. Datu Nasser C. Pangandaman, Al Hadj

Secretary

Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR)

Eliptical Road, Diliman

Quezon City 1104, Metro Manila

PHILIPPINES

Fax: +63 2 929 3088

Tel: +63 2 929 3460 / 930 0380

Email: busysquare@yahoo.com <mailto:busysquare@yahoo.com>

4. John M. Maruhom, CESO, IV

Regional Director

Department of Agrarian Reform, Region X

Macaranhan, Carmen

Cagayan de Oro City

PHILIPPINES

Tel: +6388 723727/726 422

Fax: +63 88 858 2674

5. Mr. Norberto R. Amora, MPA

Provincial Agrarian Reform Officer II

Department of Agrarian Reform Provincial Office

South Bukidnon

PHILIPPINES

Tel: +63 88 8131 387

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme

Asian Human Rights Commission (ua@ahrchk.org <mailto:ua@ahrchk.org>

)

 </ua/support.php?ua=UAC-267-2008>

 <http://www.ahrchk.net/ua/support.php?ua=UAC-267-2008>

—————————–

Asian Human Rights Commission

19/F, Go-Up Commercial Building,

998 Canton Road, Kowloon, Hongkong S.A.R.

Tel: +(852) – 2698-6339 Fax: +(852) – 2698-6367

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One thought on “PHILIPPINES: Sixty two families of farmer face threats of losing land

  1. John Gandhi on said:

    ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME

    I receive items like this in my e-mail. I shall try to post them often.

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