HOUSE RESOLUTION NO. 918 ON THE DEMAND FOR A NATIONWIDE MORATORIUM OF PLANTATION EXPANSION

House Resolution No. 918 on the Demand for a Nationwide Moratorium of Plantation Expansion.House Resolution No. 918 on the Demand for a Nationwide Moratorium of Plantation Expansion.

Republic of the Philippines
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Quezon City

SEVENTEENTH CONGRESS
First Regular Session

HOUSE RESOLUTION NO. 918

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INTRODUCED BY REPRESENTATIVES
ARIEL B. CASILAO
CARLOS ISAGANI T. ZARATE, EMMI A. DE JESUS, ANTONIO L. TINIO,
ARLENE D. BROSAS, FRANCE L. CASTRO, AND SARAH JANE I. ELAGO
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RESOLUTION
DIRECTING THE COMMITTEE ON AGRARIAN REFORM AND COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE TO CONDUCT AN INVESTIGATION, IN AID OF LEGISLATION, ON THE NATIONWIDE MORATORIUM ON EXPANSION OF AGRICULTURAL PLANTATIONS

WHEREAS, there are large rubber, banana, pineapple, sugar and oil palm plantations in the Philippines;

WHEREAS, these include those owned by giant fruit companies like Del Monte, Sumifru and Dole which encroach on peasant communities and ancestral lands of indigenous peoples and Moro people in Mindanao, likewise in other provinces like Bohol, Palawan and Negros; these also include vast haciendas of sugar barons owned by traditional Filipino big landlords including that of the family of former president Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino;

WHEREAS, vast tracts of land, mostly in Mindanao remain targets for expansion of the world’s biggest agri-business companies operating these plantations, which include for sugar and bio-ethanol production;

WHEREAS, according to the Unyon ng Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) and Resist Expansion of Agricultural Plantation – Mindanao (REAP Mindanao), in the last 10 years, land areas covered by agri-plantations in Mindanao have increased by a total of 79 percent. Rubber plantations nearly tripled its size from 81,667 hectares in 2005 to as much as 214,314.6 has by 2014; oil palm plantations are also rapidly expanding and nearly doubled its spread in Mindanao from 23,478 hectares to 42,731 hectares in the same period;

WHEREAS, the groups added that foreign monopoly lords over the plantation lands, such as Dole, Del Monte, Japanese firm Sumifru, South American Unifruitti, while rubber plantation firms and exporters supply to primary markets in Malaysia and Singapore, to eventually end up to foreign monopoly corporations such as Yokohama, Dunlop, Mitsuboshi and other firms;

WHEREAS, the neo-liberal design of public-private partnerships (PPPs) and contract agriculture through various agri-business venture arrangements (AVAs) sanctioned by state policy further highlight the dismal failure of agrarian reform in the country; the unbridled expansion of these plantations – now at an alarming and unprecedented rate covering tens of thousands of hectares only during the past few years – has pushed peoples deeper into poverty;

WHEREAS, the expansion of agricultural plantations, harsh conditions and atrocities fuel resistance of farmers, indigenous peoples and other sectors in the countryside, but their legitimate grievances often fall on deaf ears and are often violently repressed, such as the case subject of House Resolution No. 690 filed by former Anakpawis Representative Fernando Hicap during the 16th congress, on the impact of palm plantation operation of A. Brown Company, Inc. on indigenous communities;

WHEREAS, those who oppose the expansion of agricultural plantations are being subjected to human rights abuses such as the case of the Lumad communities against the A. Brown oil palm plantation expansion in Opol town, Misamis Oriental, where an indigenous people’s leader, Gilbert Paborada was killed on October 3, 2012, and their communities are heavily occupied by elements of the military; moreover, agricultural workers in Dolefil who are advancing their labor rights are being vilified and harassed by elements of the military;

WHEREAS, for many decades, plantation firms have been exploiting agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) who are held constricted of agri-business ventures arrangements or contracts, such as the case of oil palm plantations in CARAGA, where leases on land are at low P160 per month per hectare and Dole-Stanfilco fixed-pricing on a box of cavendish bananas or 13kg at USD 2.50;

WHEREAS, landless agricultural workers toiling these plantations remain dirt poor – exposed to hazardous working conditions, slave-like wages and brutal repression; furthermore, plantations endanger whole communities with the adverse health and environmental effects of crop conversion and massive use of agro-chemicals, and with these circumstances, UMA, the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, REAP Network and other people’s organizations are demanding a moratorium on the expansion of agricultural plantations, during the public launching of REAP Network in October 2015 in UP Diliman campus, and the Street Conference for Stop Oil Palm Expansion on November 2015 in front of the Department of Agriculture central office in Quezon City, that prompted the filing of this house resolution;

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, AS IT HEREBY RESOLVED, that the Committee on Agrarian Reform and Committee on Agriculture to conduct an investigation, in aid of legislation, on the nationwide moratorium on expansion of agricultural plantations.

Adopted,

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