Manila Bulletin | 5 August 2009
By EDMER F. PANESA
Two House of Representatives committees were urged to conduct a joint investigation into the alleged anomalous lease contracts granted to Japanese and Korean investors involving vast tracks of lands in Northern Luzon and Mindoro provinces.
In House Resolution 1282 filed by Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano, the awarding of the two land lease contracts was described as “a new wave of global grabbing” and “a threat to land rights of farmers and indigenous peoples.
The first lease contract covers some 600, 000 hectares of land in the Ilocos region to be leased to the Bio-Energy North Luzon Inc., a subsidiary of the Japanese Pacific Bio-fields Corp., for the production of coconut-based bio-fuels.
The second one was the contract awarded by the local governments of Mindoro provinces with Jeonnam Feedstock Ltd., a company owned by the southwestern province of South Jeolla in South Korea. It covers some 94,000 hectares of land to be used for the production of corn and animal feeds.
Both lease contracts are for a term of 25 years and renewable for another 25 years.
Mariano said that the House committees on agriculture and food security and on National Resources should look into the land lease contracts considering the “mind-boggling sizes of the hectarage involved.”“These leases cover lands far and far bigger than previous land leases with any foreign corporation or entity that social commentators have come to call them as a new wave of global land grabbing,” Mariano said.