The Real Trespassers: Landgrabbing in the Name of Palm Oil in Southern Philippines

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PANAP | June 2012

The Real Trespassers: Landgrabbing in the Name of Palm Oil in Southern Philippines

by Ilang Ilang Quijano

“The guards came one day and pointed their guns at me. I watched helplessly while they sprayed my banana and coconut trees with chemicals, so that they eventually died. They uprooted my cassava crops. Then they bulldozed a part of my land to make way for the palm oil plantation.”

Sixty-six year-old Amadeo Payla speaks with rapid anger, as if unable to forgive himself for letting a company take away that day the land that belonged to his ancestors, the land that still rightfully belongs to his children. He lives in Barangay Tingalan, a village in Opol, province of Misamis Oriental in Mindanao, Southern Philippines. It is one of the two villages in which a palm oil plantation, owned by A Brown Company, Inc., has operated for the past two years through landgrabbing from the indigenous Higaonon tribe.

Last May 6 to 10, an International Fact-Finding Mission (IFFM) was held in Tingalan and Bagocboc to investigate complaints of landgrabbing received from a local indigenous peoples group. The IFFM was organised by Pesticide Action Network Asia and the Pacific (PAN AP), Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), Asian Peasant Coalition (APC), Sentro Kitanglad and the Kalumbay Regional Lumad Organization, among other organisations.

The IFFM was able to uncover incidents of harassment and violence against the Lumads (indigenous peoples of Mindanao) who refuse to give up their lands, as well as adverse health and environmental effects that are beginning to manifest due to the palm oil plantation’s use of pesticides. These effects are seen only to worsen with time, as corporate monocropping replaces indigenous and traditional farming practices at a rate as fast as the palm oil industry grows.

Download the full report: http://www.panap.net/sites/default/files/SO-2012June-TheRealTrespassers.pdf
Original source: PANAP
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