More than five (5) years!!! after typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) ravaged part of central Philippines in November 2013, the 1,500 farmer and fisherfolk families of Sicogon Island, in Carles Iloilo, are threatened to lose their right to land, food, housing, and water. The families lost everything due to the typhoon and since that time they are struggling against two powerful Philippine corporations converting their island into a world-class, high-end tourist resort and trying to evict the residents from their island. The residents are organized in the Federation of Sicogon Island Farmers and Fisherfolks Association (FESIFFA).
Support the families in their right to live on the land they and their ancestors have been lived and worked on for over a century.
Add your name to their petition on: AVAAZ petition to support them in their struggle.
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Stop Ayala’s #monstertourism on Sicogon Island!
READ their story here:
When Typhoon Yolanda struck the Philippines in 2013, Sicogon Island was among the most severely devastated areas. The government assigned Ayala Land – one of the most powerful real estate developers in the country – to lead the reconstruction and rehabilitation of our island.
But instead of helping us, Ayala formed a joint venture with Sicogon Development Corporation (SIDECO) to realize SIDECO’s longstanding plan to convert the entire island into a high-end resort. SIDECO is a private company that holds a title for 809 hectares land of the 1,163-hectare island of Sicogon.
In fact, the corporate-led disaster response disrupted our livelihoods and forced us to give up our hard-won land rights. Ayala and SIDECOleft us hungry for two weeks and their armed security guards prevented us from rebuilding their houses.
They took advantage of our vulnerability by pressuring us to accept either of two options: to take a small one-time payment of 150,000 Pesos (about 2,850 USD) and leave the island immediately or to take 10,000 Pesos (about 190 USD) and relocate on the mainland.
Under duress, many families took either of the two options. The 784 families, who refused and are members of FESIFFA, opted to stay but had to endure sustained harassments and intimidation by Ayala and SIDECO’s armed guards and corporate agents. We barely survived through the support of relatives and a few engaged humanitarian organizations.
Despite the dreadfulness of our situation, we fervently hoped that the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) will redistribute the struggle-won 334.6 hectares of land placed under the national agrarian reform with us rightful beneficiaries. The redistribution never transpired as the previous administration lacked the political will to implement the reform amidst corporate giant Ayala Land’s tourism plans.
In 2014, we were pressured to sign an agreement with Ayala and SIDECO. The agreement promised us 70 hectares residential area and conventional farmland, livelihood support, and funds for housing and land development. In exchange, we renounced our land rights to the said 334.6 hectares.
Ayala and SIDECO breached the agreement and hastily embarked on converting the island into a tourism resort. Today, a port, an airport, and two hotel facilities are already operating. They also diverted the mountain spring, which served as our major source of household and drinking water for more than a hundred years. Now, we are facing a severe water crisis.
Recently, we were able to get the DAR to issue an order that temporarily halts further tourism development on the island. But this is not enough. Our human rights to land, food, and water will continually be violated if the conversion of the whole island into a high-end tourism project will not be permanently stopped.
Now, Ayala and SIDECO have started to file eviction cases against some of us and prevent – again – our supporters from entering the island.
We urge the President of the Republic of the Philippines to take immediate actions to secure our land tenure and access to fishing grounds and to resolve the human rights violations against us.
“We, therefore, call on all people in the world, tourists and investors to support us in securing our human right to land, food, water, and housing. Add your name and be one with us in our struggle.”
Stop Ayala’s #monstertourism on Sicogon Island!
> Aljazeera Article “Typhoons and Tycoons: Disaster capitalism in the Philippines”
>Aljazeera Video “Philippines: Disaster Capitalism, Inc.”
>Philippine Bureau “Disaster Capitalism in the Philippines: How investors make use of a Super-Typhoon to re-develop an eco-tourism project”
> Asian Correspondent “Disaster Capitalism: Corporations cashing-in on typhoon tragedy in Philippines
> Focus on the Global South “Advancing Justice After Climate Disaster in the Philippines”
> Manila Standard “Post-typhoon ‘disaster capitalism’ hit”
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