HOUSE RESOLUTION NO. 919 ON THE IMPACT OF AGRIBUSINESS VENTURES ARRANGEMENT AND DEMAND FOR ITS REVOCATION

House Resolution No. 919 on the Impact of Agribusiness Ventures Arrangements (AVAs) and Demand for its Revocation.House Resolution No. 919 on the Impact of Agribusiness Ventures Arrangements (AVAs) and Demand for its Revocation.

Republic of the Philippines
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Quezon City

SEVENTEENTH CONGRESS
First Regular Session

HOUSE RESOLUTION NO. 919

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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 TO CONDUCT AN INVESTIGATION, IN AID OF LEGISLATION, ON THE IMPACT OF AGRIBUSINESS VENTURE ARRANGEMENTS (AVAs) IN THE COUNTRY, IN LIGHT OF THE MOUNTING DEMAND OF AGRARIAN REFORM BENEFICIARIES (ARBS), FARMERS AND AGRICULTURAL WORKERS FOR ITS REVOCATION

WHEREAS, after almost three decades of implementation of the expired Republic Act No. 6657 or Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), the monopoly control and ownership of vast haciendas and plantations of the biggest landlord families and agro-corporations remain intact, while the poorest of the country’s rural poor – the farm workers and agricultural workers – remain as landless peasants barely getting by with slave-like wages;

WHEREAS, the CARP as part of its numerous loopholes provided hacienderos and corporate landlords with options for non-land transfer schemes as provisioned by Section 8 on Multinational Corporations, Section 11 on Commercial Farming, and Chapter VIII on Corporate Farms, that contradicted the universal ideal of agrarian reform which is “land to the tiller,” and “social justice,” “owner-cultivatorship,” and “equitable distribution and ownership of land” as mentioned on Section 2 or Declaration of Principles and Policies;

WHEREAS, as the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) has firmly promoted Agribusiness Ventures Arrangements (AVAs) since its DAR Administrative Order No. 2, Series of 1999, DAR AO No. 2, Series of 2002, DAR AO No. 9, Series of 2006 and DAR AO No. 4, Series of 2016, where ARBs were enchained by contracts favoring hacienderos, local agro-corporations and agri-transnational corporations through corporative schemes, contract-growing, profit-sharing agreements, block-farming, leasehold, leaseback and other such arrangements;

WHEREAS, according to DAR, as of 2015, there are 433 existing AVA contracts covering some 57,000 hectares, and about 63 percent of the total land area in the inventory is devoted to some form of lease arrangement, and a total of 77 percent of the contracts pertain to lease;

WHEREAS, government data showed that in 2013, around 1.2 million hectares of land located all over the country are under AVAs and during the Aquino administration, sugar block farming, leaseback contracts and various types of AVAs were being peddled to supposed beneficiaries, including those in Hacienda Luisita along with sham land distribution and continued repression;

WHEREAS, in March 2013, DAR signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the Sugar Regulatory Administration (SRA) to establish 29 sugar block farms in Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, Bukidnon, Iloilo, North Cotabato, Tarlac, Batangas, Albay, Antique, Capiz and Davao Del Sur;

WHEREAS, as promoted by RA 6657 CARP Chapter VIII on Corporate Farms, eleven (11) stock distribution option (SDO) scheme continue to operate in Negros island, Iloilo and Davao Del Sur;

WHEREAS, according to National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW), 1,905 farmworker-beneficiaries (FWBs) under SDO still live like typical hacienda workers who receive measly dividends as low as P340 to P500 annually, based on their share in the capital stock of the estate; moreover, the “corporative scheme” or joint venture agreement, covering 4,654 hectares of hacienda lands, implemented by Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco, Jr., persist in Negros;

WHEREAS, the perpetuation of various AVAs is in line with destructive neo-liberal policies that undermine agrarian reform and attack the democratic rights and livelihood of millions of peasants in the country;

WHEREAS, AVAs primary objective is control over vast tracks of land and undermining of the agrarian reform beneficiaries’ (ARBs) rights to the awarded land and this is manifested by the on-going agrarian dispute between the Madaum Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Association, Inc. (MARBAI) and Lapanday Foods Corp. over the 145 hectare land in Tagum City, Davao Del Norte, that led to the cruel shooting of ARBs by the latter’s armed guards in December last year;

WHEREAS, in December 2015, the DAR Adjudication Board (DARAB) issued a final and executory order reinstating MARBAI farmworkers, followed by the installation process ordered by DAR Secretary Rafael Mariano since October last year; while DAR issued a cease-and-desist order against Lapanday, it continued its defiance and continue to oppose the installation of ARBs with its armed guards remain to occupy the supposedly awarded lands to the ARBs;

WHEREAS, upon assuming office in July 2016, DAR Sec. Mariano suspended the implementation of DAR AO No. 4, and is conducting a review of all AVA contracts, which was approved by President Rodrigo Duterte during the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council (PARC) meeting in September 2016;

WHEREAS, as AVA is a neo-liberal measure to preserve the export-orientation of the country’s agriculture, it runs contrary to Genuine Agrarian Reform and rural development, as well as food security, national sovereignty and patrimony;

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, AS IT HEREBY RESOLVED, that the Committee on Agrarian Reform to conduct an investigation, in aid of legislation, on the impact of Agribusiness Venture Arrangements (AVAs) in the country, in light of the mounting demand of agrarian reform beneficiaries, farmers and agricultural workers for its revocation.

Adopted,

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