ROBERT JA BASILIO JR., GMANews.TV
A group of food security advocates wants a government-led corporation that identifies new land suitable for local and foreign agricultural businesses abolished.
Task Force Food Sovereignty (TFFS), in a statement Monday, asked President Benigno Aquino III to “abolish the Philippine Agricultural Development and Commercial Corp. (PADCC).
The group made the appeal as part of a set of demands put forth by its fellow non-government groups on the day Aquino delivered his first State of the Nation Address.
Since the PADCC “facilitates transfer and consolidation of land in favor of foreign companies," it “seriously undermines" the Philippines’ food security as well as “the rights of farmers and indigenous people to have access and control over their land," the group said.
“Why should government be the one to facilitate the consolidation of these lands for corporations?" Arze Glipo, TFFS convenor, told GMANews.TV. “Why not give priority to farmers and indigenous peoples who have tilled these lands before?"
TFFS also sought to stop, review, and scrap all land leases facilitated by the agency.
A source familiar with the matter told GMANews.TV the agency has yet to allot land for any agribusiness proposal.
Its corporate communications executive Angelica Barlis told GMANews.TV that PADCC is in the process of replying to allegations made by the TFFS.
The agribusiness marketing, investment promotion, and project development corporate arm of the Agriculture Department, the PADCC manages the Philippine Agribusiness Lands Investment Center, an agency that collects and processes information about new agribusiness lands in the country.
In March 2008, PADCC president Marriz Agbon signed letters of intent with two US-based companies, FF Clean Energy and Bronzeoak Clean Energy.The two companies promised to invest $30 million in the local biofuel industry to supply domestic feedstock requirements as indicated in the Biofuels Act of 2006. — KBK/JE/VS,GMANews.TV