Tag Archives: Food

[Right-Up] Ang karapatan natin sa sapat na pagkain -ni Greg Bituin Jr.

Maikling saliksik at sanaysay ni Greg Bituin Jr.

Sinasabi nilang dalawa lang umano ang dahilan o sitwasyon kung bakit ka pakakainin ng gobyerno – sa panahon ng digmaan at sa panahon ng kalamidad. Kung wala ang mga ito, kumilos ka o magtrabaho upang makakain. Ang panahon ngayon ay pumapatak sa dalawa – digmaan laban sa COVID-19, at kalamidad dahil hindi na makapagtrabaho ang tao dahil sa ipinatutupad na community quarantine, kung saan pinapayuhan ang mga tao, upang hindi mahawa ng sakit, na huwag lumabas ng bahay.

Ang karapatan sa pagkain ang isa sa limang karapatang nakasaad sa International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights o ICESCR. Ang apat na iba pa ay ang pabahay, kalusugan, trabaho, at edukasyon. Ang karapatang ito’y nakasulat din sa dokumentong The Right to Adequate Food, OHCHR Fact Sheet No. 34, OHCHR/FAO (2010). Ang OHCHR ay Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights ng United Nations.

Sa General Comment No. 12 ng UN Committe on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR), nagbigay sila ng detalyadong patnubay sa mga bansa hinggil sa kanilang obligasyong igalang, protektahan at tuparin ang karapatang magkaroon ng sapat na pagkain. Nabanggit din ng Komite na kasama ang karapatan sa mga sumusunod na magkakaugnay at mahahalagang salik o elemento ng karapatan sa sapat na pagkain: Availability, Accessibility, Adequacy, at Sustainability.

AVAILABILITY o pagkakaroon ng agarang suplay ng pagkain. Ang bawat tao’y dapat makakuha ng sapat at dekalidad na pagkain, na maaaring mula sa palengke o direkta mula sa tanim, alagang hayop o sa dagat, at iba pang likas na yaman. Pagkaing nakapagpapalusog, at dapat walang nakakapinsalang sangkap at naaangkop sa kultura.

ACCESSIBILITY o madaling makuhang pagkain. Dapat ang pagkakaroon ng sapat na pagkain, ay walang diskriminasyon, na ang pagkain ng mayaman ay kaya ring kainin ng mahihirap. At ang presyo ng pagkain ay abotkaya ng mga bulnerableng sektor ng ating lipunan.

ADEQUACY o pagiging sapat ng pagkain. Dapat hindi kulang, at sapat ang pagkain kung saan kayang kumain ng tao, kahit na dukha, ng tatlong beses sa isang araw, at busog sila.

SUSTAINABILITY o tuloy-tuloy na paglikha ng pagkain. Dahil ang mga tao’y kumakain araw-araw, dapat na patuloy din ang paglika ng pagkain. Dapat nating pasalamatan ang lahat ng magsasaka dahil kung wala sila, wala tayong kakainin araw-araw.

Sabi nga, di natin kailangan ng abugado o doktor araw-araw, ngunit kailangan natin ng magsasaka araw-araw. Kaya salamat sa lahat ng magsasaka, mangingisda, magtutubo, magninyog, at mga manggagawang patuloy na lumilikha ng pagkain. Mabuhay kayo!

Pinaghalawan:
https://www.escr-net.org/rights/food
https://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/ESCR/Pages/Food.aspx

* Ang maikling artikulong ito’y inihanda at unang nilathala sa pahayagang Taliba ng Maralita, ang opisyal na publikasyon ng Kongreso ng Pagkakaisa ng Maralitang Lungsod (KPML), isyu ng Abril 1-15, 2020, pahina 2

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[Statement] Secure our land, secure our food -PNFSP

Secure our land, secure our food

We express our indignation on the increasing and unprecedented repression of rural and urban communities, human rights defenders and worsening threats on their right to land, food, and resources. Landlessness sprout among Filipino farmers, indigenous people, rural women and youth, and other marginalized rural and urban sectors that greatly suffers under the authoritarian regime. Infrastructure projects and agricultural “development” programs are used by the government to convince people within the parameters of short-sighted projects funded through foreign debt and investments which are the majority is from China. As results, massive displacement on rural and urban peoples from their lands, home, livelihoods, and cultures persist– all in the name of Golden Era of Philippine Infrastructure.

Through a partnership with multilateral financial institutions such as the World Bank, Asian Development Bank as well as regional trade and investment agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), land grabbing in the Philippines intensify. Last October 2018, we conducted a National land Grabbing conference and we found out that big parcel of land is subjected to land-use conversion which will affect the annual production of rice in the country. In Central Luzon alone, 36,000 hectares of agricultural land is converted into a full-blown metropolis that will cater the lust of New Clark City, Crow Valley Military Complex, SEA Games Dome and among others. While in Mindanao, 500,000 hectares are subjected for mining, 700,000 hectares for rubber and oil palm plantation, 500,000 pineapple plantation and the remaining 12% is for agricultural use. Mostly are in CARAGA where the biggest reserves of copper, gold, aluminum, and iron are found. 51 mining tenements under Lepanto, Philex and Tampakan mines operate in the region while ARMM is subject for rubber and oil palm expansion. In Palawan, almost 7,000 trees were cut down by Ipilan Nickel Corporation (INC) and destroyed the natural watershed, biodiversity, and wildlife just to pursue its interest to operate mining on areas of Indigenous People. While in Negros, approximately thousand hectares of land is confiscated from landholders (mostly are farmers) by Tsuneishi Shipyard Company with aid from the Provincial Government.

The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Administrative Order No. 1 series of 2019 issued by current DAR secretary John Castriciones that unprecedentedly fast-track the conversion of agricultural lands to non-agricultural uses will greatly imperil the poor state of farmers, landlessness and national food insecurity. With the issuance of said AO, the State itself is the one offering its resources to land grabbers instead of giving it free to poor Filipino farmers who are feeding the economic backbone. And with the persistence of Train Law and Rice Tariffication Law, in a couple of years, the Philippine society will be a wasteland wherein death, hunger, disease, and poverty prevailed.

If the government wants to end nor lessen hunger and poverty, it must support “bungkalan” or land cultivation for it is the actualization of farming using appropriate technology and sustainable agriculture which is embedded on the bill (GARB and RIDA) being a push in Congress by progressive lawmakers.

Therefore, allow ourselves to work hand –in- hand for a just and humane society. Let’s strengthen our ranks to expose and oppose the irony and deception of the current government. We mark this “Day of the Landless” to let the society and the world recognize our legitimate demands for land to the tiller and genuine agrarian reform; for food security and sovereignty, and for people’s rights and democracy.

For Reference:
Renmin Vizconde
Executive Director
pnfsp_inc@yahoo.com/ http://www.pnfsp.org/ 09436815398

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[Press Release] A resounding call for genuine land reform -PNFSP

A resounding call for genuine land reform

Quezon City – “Secure our Land, Secure our Food”, a National Conference on the present trends on land grabbing was participated in by more than a hundred genuine land reform advocates from across the country on October 11, 2018 at Balai Kalinaw, University of the Philippines- Diliman. Spearheaded by the Philippine Network of Food Security Programmes, Inc. (PNFSP), and co-organized with Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), the conference aims to raise social awareness through presentation of up-to-date facts on land grabbing, seek collective and alternative measures from fellow food advocates, farmers, religious workers, academe and organic agriculture enthusiasts, especially at this time of severe and worsening socio-economic crisis due to oppressive and anti-people policies and regulations of the Duterte administration.

One highlight case is presented by Joseph Canlas, Vice Chairperson of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, Accordingly to Canlas, in Porac, Pampanga, a massive displacement of Aeta communities is happening due to the New Clark City project of the national government as part of the Build, Build, Build Program. It is feared to seize 9, 500 hectares of Aeta ancestral land affecting their lives and livelihood.

In Quezon and Rizal, the Laiban-Kaliwa-Kanan mega dams, to be funded by Chinese capital, will encroach on 20,000 hectares of Dumagat ancestral lands. Various ecotourism and real estate projects are sprouting in the remaining lands in Southern Luzon provinces.

In Visayas, land grabbing in the form of shipyard projects funded by foreign firms threaten communities. The Southern Negros Industrial Estate of Governor Alfredo Maranon capitulated to Tsuneishi Shipbuilding Company, and both agreed to establish a giant shipyard located at Brgy. Bacuyangan, Hinoba-an, Negros Occidental. This resulted to massive displacement of farmers due to land conversion. Not less than 100 hectares of land was converted to car re-use plant, furniture plant, soybean oil plant, biomass power plant, domestic airport, port, tourism area, and road widening. In Catmon Bay, farmers and fisherfolks are afraid for their food security due to damaged reefs and mangroves as a result of chemical wastes from the shipyard.

In Mindanao, more than 700,000 hectares are already devoted to Agribusiness Venture Arrangements in large plantations of banana, pineapple, cacao, rubber and oil palm, and about 500,000 hectares are still being used in Mining operations, less lands for food production of Filipinos and more lands for export. “Farmer’s income has not improved and much worst, had resulted to landlessness, food scarcity and hunger” said Dulphing Ogan, Secretary General of Kusog sa Katawhang Lumad sa Mindanao (KALUMARAN)

The government, through the Department of Agrarian Reform, is also looking at the conversion of more than 80,000 hectares of land in Central Visayas, Palawan, CARAGA, Northern Mindanao, Western Mindanao and ARMM for the expansion of oil palm plantations. The Philippine Economic Zone Authority is eyeing to transform 8,000 hectares of mining lands into an ecozone in Compostela Valley.

“These projects are geared towards an economy favorable to the pockets of big and international capitalist firms and their local Filipino counterparts. The environmental damages caused by these projects, will worsen the Philippine food security. The right to food is one of the many essentials of human rights. Denying it means denying man to live as a human being and be with humanity”. Said Renmin Vizconde, Executive Director of PNFS.

Participants of the conference agreed that it is through the passage of Genuine Land Reform Bill that our country can have firm security for land, food and life.

For Reference:
Renmin Vizconde, Executive Director
PNFSP, Inc.
0932-5289458

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[Press Release] CSOs welcomed UN official and raised issues on food security in the context of disasters climate justice in PH -ATM

CSOs welcomed UN official and raised issues on food security in the context of disasters climate justice in PH

Tacloban, Philippines— More than 100 representatives from various Civil Society Organizations (CSO) and Yolanda survivors welcomed the arrival of Dr. Hilal Elver, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food and raised critical issues of the people against the policies of the Philippine government of food security in the context of disasters and climate change.

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The United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on the right to food will visit the Philippines from February 20 to 27 to gather information on the state of the right to food among Filipinos.

During her mission the Special Rapporteur will collect first-hand information in relation to the realization of the right to food and will examine how the State is addressing the situation of those who do not have adequate access to food.

Food Security Threatened

“We welcome the visit of the UN Special Rapporteur to our country to help us build our struggle in achieving food security and fight for our right to food even in the face of a changing climate,” said Gerry Arances, national coordinator, Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ).

The Philippines is already one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change today. The Philippines country is ranked second in the 2014 Climate Change Risk Index of Germanwatch.

“Her visit will also be instrumental in exposing the policies of the government that aggravates the vulnerabilities of communities such as the promotion of dirty energy that threaten food production and even human health,” said Arances.

Based on the latest data of PMCJ, from an existing 17 coal-fired power plants, there will be an additional 26 coal plant projects that are expected to be online by 2020, owed to 71 coal-operating contracts awarded by the government from 2007 to 2013, despite the global movement to divest from coal

Destructive and Extractive Projects

Adding to the burden of dirty energy is the destruction of livelihood promoted by so-called “development projects” such as mining.

According to Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM), mining for other resources such as nickel and other minerals equally threaten food security in the country. In Zambales for example, half a billion pesos, or $12 million worth of rice, mango and fish was lost due to the introduction of nickel mining. This is also the case in MacArthur, Leyte, which was opened for mining—communities are reeling from its negative impacts further exacerbated by Yolanda.

“Mining has no place in a vulnerable country like the Philippines and yet our government chose extraction of minerals over rights of the people to have a safe and sustainable environment.” said Jaybee Garganera, National Coordinator of ATM.

We are not only at risk from extractive industries but from the food industry as well. According to recent studies, the Philippines has risen to being the fourth largest importer of rice in the world, accounting for 4% of the world’s rice import volume in 2010.

“We need to increase our capacity to produce our own food for the consumption of our people while reducing the impacts of extractive and dirty industries such as mining and coal powerplant. Without doing so, our food security will continually be at risk,” said Garganera

“These issues are aggravated by mal-development projects like high importation of rice and mining in agricultural and coastal areas. Ironically, the more businesses such as these thrive the more livelihoods of communities and general food security is threatened” said Garganera.

Marine resource at risk

The marine ecosystem, where 60% of the total protein intake of Filipinos comes from, are also among those affected by the climate crisis. According to a study by the World Bank on the acidification of seas in the Southeast Asian region, a 150% acidification rate is most likely to occur by 2100.

“Fisherfolk communities will continue to suffer the consequences of the impacts of climate change and more must be done by the government to alleviate these impacts on marine resources before its too late”, said Dennis Calvan, Executive Director, Non-Government Organization for Fisheries Reform (NFR).

From diverse sectors concerned with the issue of climate justice and food security, various CSOs urged the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food to consider the issues of land grabbing, nutrition of vulnerable groups such as women, children and people with disabilities, access to livelihood, and food during emergency situation and in responding to the issue of climate, disasters and food security. In particular, recommendations were made on the following issues:
– Enabling systematic changes to the agricultural sector, which would put the need and the right for food first before profit;
– Ensure that food producers’ access to and control of land and water resources are protected in the recovery and rehabilitation process
– Compel the Philippine government to make the necessary policy shift away from import-dependent strategy, and development projects that are exacerbating vulnerabilities, and a shift away from false solutions, and ineffective policies, programs and projects.

– A more substantial reduction of emissions from Annex 1 countries, and corresponding reduction from all other countries to avoid 2 degree increase and beyond; and public financing, mainly from developed countries, for adaptation measures and damages incurred to developing countries like the Philippines – particular the impacts to right to food of communities and the people.
– Put special concern and priority for the regions most devastated by the climate crisis, particularly to ensure their access to food in the aftermath of disasters and the long-term productivity and resilience of small farmers and the fishing sectors.

The town hall meeting, which took place at Brgy. 88, Fisherman’s Village, San Jose, Tacloban City, was organised by the CSO Coordinating Committee, Eastern Visayas Network of NGOs, NGO for Fisheries Reform, Philippine Movement for Climate Justice, and hosted by the Tacloban Fisherfolk Urban Association.

The Special Rapporteur’s findings and recommendations to the Government of the Philippines and other stakeholders will ultimately be included in a report presented to the UN Human Rights Council in March 2016. Her preliminary findings will be shared with the Government focal point and subsequently presented at a Press Conference at the end of the visit.###

Additional Information:

The CSO Coordinating Committee for the entry conference of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right To Food comprised of 25 national organizations from NGOs, farmers, women, labor, fisherfolks, indigenous peoples, social movements ,the religious, human rights community and academe.

For more information:

Check Zabala, Alyansa Tigil Mina Media and Communications Officer, (0927) 623.50.66 <checkzab@gmail.com>

Press Release
February 21, 2014

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[Press Release] CSOs meet with UN Special Rapporteur to express frustration to lack of gov’t food policy -ATM

CSOs meet with UN Special Rapporteur to express frustration to lack of gov’t food policy

Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) headed by FIAN Philippines, Focus on the Global South, LILAK, Alyansa Tigil Mina, and Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) held a conference on Feb 20, at the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM) Penthouse to meet with Dr. Hilal Elver, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food.

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The conference was the first of the many agenda in the itinerary of the newly appointed rapporteur in the Philippines, her very first official mission since her appointment last May 2014.

“Dr. Elver’s visit is a milestone for the discussion of the Right to Adequate Food issues in the country,” said Aurea Miclat–Teves, President of FIAN Philippines and one of the convenors of the National Food Coalition.

“Civil Society Organizations advocating for the establishment of a National Food Policy to eradicate hunger in the Philippines were provided with the opportunity to present the hunger and food situation in the country,” Teves added.

A paper released by Focus on the Global South stated that in the past 15 years (1999-2014), the number of Filipino families who rated themselves as hungry (based on the Social Weather Station’s self-rated hunger survey) rose from 8.3% to 18.3%.

In the last quarter of 2014, an estimated 3.8 million households were victims of hunger – a close quarter of the total population of the country, majority of whom resides in the rural areas.

“The figures showing the persistent state of hunger in the country, which previous and current governments have failed to address .” said Mary Ann Manahan, program officer from the Focus on The Global South.

“This largely stem from the government’s lack of a rights-based inspired national food strategy and program that could have helped eradicate this dire situation.” added Manahan.

Elver’s visit will focus on assessing the legal framework of the country when it comes to the discussion of food security, an investigation on the impacts of extreme weather events and socio-economic conditions vis-à-vis the food security and malnutrition issues.

An assessment on the protection program for smallholders, indigenous peoples, and urban poor with a focus on women peasants in achieving and implementation of the right to food and food security will also be discussed,

as well as issues of adequacy, availability and accessibility issues vis. realization or violation of the right to food in the country.

Through the UN Rapporteur’s visit, the CSOs aim to emphasize the links of land rights, access to and control of productive resources and the right to food,

highlight policies and impacts of external actors on the right to food and food security and to underscore the issue of poverty, inequality and the right to food of the poor and vulnerable groups, especially women, children and indigents.

CSOs also raised the issues of harassments, intimidation, and extra judicial killings of land rights defenders, farmers, and indigenous peoples perpetrated by landlords, real estate, commercial, and mining companies.

According to the group, the raised issues are all related to the central question of control and access to land and security of tenure by the country’s food producers, which is key to rural poverty alleviation and a hungry-free Philippines.

Just last year, Philippines has been awarded by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) for outstanding progress in fighting hunger ahead of the 2015 deadline.

This however, is not enough according to the CSOs as despite the unprecedented growth rates in the past few years, poverty, hunger and inequality have remained high.

“Targets are mere figures,” Teves said. “The 3.8 million Filipino families whose hunger affect their everyday lives is the real measurement of the government’s poor adherence to this basic right to adequate food,” she said.

Meanwhile, Elver is expected to visit Tacloban on February 21 to meet with CSOs and Yolanda survivors in the area. The UN special rapporteur on the right to food is also scheduled to visit areas in Luzon, the trips’ dates are yet to be announced.

###

Additional Information:

The CSO Coordinating Committee for the entry conference of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right To Food comprised of 25 national organizations from NGOs, farmers, women, labor, fisherfolks, indigenous peoples, social movements ,the religious, human rights community and academe.

For more information:

Check Zabala, ATM Media and Communications Officer, (0927) 623.50.66 <checkzab@gmail.com>

Press Release
20 February 2015

[Statement] Food security versus mining: Impacts of mining on food and waters in the Philippines -ATM

Food security versus mining: Impacts of mining on food and waters in the Philippines
To be read and submitted to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to food
on the event of the CSO Entry Conference on Feb 20, 2015 in Quezon City, Philippines

Introduction

Good afternoon! I am Jaybee Garganera. I represent Alyansa Tigil Mina, a coalition of more than one hundred organizations that is challenging the current policy regime on mining in the country. ATM works to protect Filipino communities and natural resources that are threatened by large-scale mining operations.

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Our sources of food are highly threatened by large-scale mining operations spread all over the country. As we speak, the country’s environmental resources—its forests, agricultural lands and waters can no longer sustainable supply for the needs of its more than 100-million population. Simply put, there is misuse and misallocation of land and water resources in favor of extractive projects such as large-scale metallic and coal mining, logging operations, as well as large dams and dirty-energy project such as coal-fired power plants.

Current situation and several cases

Two-thirds (2/3) of the claimed and titled ancestral domains of indigenous peoples and more than 50% of our protected areas (PAs) and key biodiversity areas (KBAs) are directly impacted by mining. [1] These areas constitute the remaining forests and watersheds of our country.

The main problem is the unclear prioritization in the use of our land resources. Our Mining Law[2] for instances enumerate areas where mining is not allowed, but mining permits are still issued in protected areas, prime agricultural lands, and highly environmental critical areas and even watersheds. We only have an estimated 20% forest cover[3] only 28% of which or 19,340km2 closed or identified as reserves, the rest are mangroves and open areas to different activities. It is also important to highlight that we do not have a national land use policy—that is why there is no overarching policy that guides the management of our land resources.

The link to food insecurity is clear – when these large extractive and development projects acquire their permits and contracts, a set of auxiliary rights are granted to the companies, to the detriment of agricultural productivity and later on to consumers. Mining companies, for instance secure water rights, easement rights, and timber rights within their mining concessions. What this translates to is less water for irrigation, faster conversion of agricultural lands to other uses, contamination of water bodies for food sources and reduced health and nutrition indicators.

In one of our sites of struggle, in the town of MacArthur in Leyte Province, the conflict between mining and food is distinct. The area is a prime agricultural land that is dominantly coconut-based, has significant rice lands, and there also is a lake there where about 120 families have successfully set-up and harvested fishes in the past 10 years. The same area was granted a mining concession but the local population resisted the mining activities, especially after a massive fish kill last March 2012, and the mining operations were suspended. The local government and several Chinese investors then just

decided to go into illegal small-scale mining that actually produced more serious negative impacts including siltation of irrigation facilities. This same community suffered the devastation of Yolanda. And they are living examples of the vicious nexus of mining + climate change + disasters.

Up north, is the province of Nueva Vizcaya, also a natural resource-rich province with existing production of high-value crops and highland vegetables including rice, corn, coffee beans and root crops. There is also a thriving citrus industry owing to the cooler temperature in the area. This same province is home to two large mining projects, one is currently in full-scale commercial operations while the other is still in its exploration stage. The link to food insecurity is traced to the sudden reduced availability of water and the diversion of a road that added another 2 hours of travel for the farmers to sell their crops. The planned expansion areas of the mining projects will directly convert agricultural lands.

Two other cases that we are submitting to you this afternoon are the Zambales and Tampakan, South Cotabato Cases: Sta Cruz, Zambales is losing 8,000 tons of palay (rice) production annually worth Php 200-million pesos (US$5M). It has an estimated loss of Php 20-million pesos (US$ 0.5M) in fish production from three major rivers and at least Php 30-million (or US$0.75M) in from fish production from at least 100-hectares of fishponds. This is due to four nickel mining projects. While our local activists have forced our government to suspend the mining operations, the hauling of ores continue to pollute the river and farmlands in Zambales. But sadly, it will take years for the agricultural land and fishponds to recover their productivity.

In South Cotabato, the Tampakan Copper-Gold Project for instance, will directly impact 32% of the agricultural lands and 75% of the forests, of the province. Once operational, this will be largest Copper-Gol mining project in South-East Asia. The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the project admitted that the available water sources from the watersheds are not enough to meet the water-requirements of the mining project. Currently, these watersheds provide irrigation for about 20,000 farming-households who are managing farmlands of around 40,000 hectares in the downstream provinces.

I can take the whole afternoon sharing about the impacts of mining to our lands and food sources, but the bottom-line is having and will continue to threaten our food self-sufficiency and sovereignty. Even our government cannot deny that day-to-day operations and use of explosives in mining areas cause deforestation, slope destabilization, soil erosion, crop damages, as well as polluting the water and air.

Additionally, we cannot keep silent about how the impacts of climate change will contribute to expose us to more vulnerability.

Conclusion

What we put forward is a policy shift towards a sustainable development path where there is proper natural resources management, and where development projects are geared towards preserving and safeguarding our ecosystems. This should eventually translate to the fulfillment of our right to food.

On our end, with three networks—SOS Yamang Bayan Network, Forest Resources Bill Network and Campaign for Land Use Policy Now! Network—and many communities, we push for the passage of three natural resource management laws—the National Land Use and Management Act, Forest Resources Act and Philippine Mineral Resources Act. These bills aim to address our environmental problems and protect the people’s rights to a thriving environment.

To conclude, we submit to your office the urgent demands of mining-affected communities for our government to address the threats to our food security by immediately enacting these legislative measures. We hope that in the next few days of

your interviews and townhall meetings, you get a good picture of our national situation and enjoin our government to realize the rights of our people— the right to food, to a healthful ecology, and overall right to a good life.

Thank you very much!

Jaybee Garganera
ATM National Coordinator
nc@alyansatigilmina.net

[1] PAFID, 2007 and HARIBON, 2006

[2] RA 7942 or the Philippine Mining Act of 1995

[3] Forest Management Bureau or FMB, 2010

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[Statement] Pagkain Sapat Dapat! STOP HUNGER NOW! -NFC

Pagkain Sapat Dapat! STOP HUNGER NOW!

Quezon City – On the occasion of World Food Day, 16 October 2014, the National Food Coalition, a broad organization of peasants, urban poor folks, women, and youth, calls upon the Philippine Congress, to pass immediately the zero-hunger bill — House Bill No. 3795 and Senate Bill No. 2137. The House Committee on Human Rights has already had its initial hearing on the bill, and has formed a Technical Working Group to further refine its provisions and the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food still has to call a hearing.

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The National Food Coalition is fully aware and deeply concerned that the problem of hunger persists. The Social Weather Stations hunger survey among Filipino families in the second quarter of 2014 shows that 16.3% or about 3.6 million families have experienced involuntary hunger at least once during the period. About 13.5% of families have experienced moderate hunger, while 2.8% experienced severe hunger.

The state of hunger or the lack of proper nutrition is more graphically shown in the effects it has on children. The National Nutrition Survey of 2013 reports that 30.3%, or three out of 10 children 0-5 years old, are stunted. The Food and Nutrition Research Institute says that stunting results from “long-term food and nutrient deprivation that retards physical growth and cognitive development, and increases the risk to illnesses which may later affect economic productivity.” Wasting, or the low weight-for-height indicator, rose from 7.3 percent in 2011 to 7.9 percent in 2013.

The nutrition survey also reported that the prevalence of nutritionally-at-risk pregnant women remained high at 24.8% with pregnant teen-aged girls more likely to be nutritionally-at-risk at 37.2%. Nineteen out of every 100 pregnant women also were found underweight.

According to “The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2014” published by the Food and Agriculture Organization, the proportion of undernourished Filipinos to the rest of the population is 11.5%.

This hunger situation cannot continue said Aurea M. Teves, president of FIAN Philippines and convenor of the National Food Coalition. She said, it is contrary to human dignity and a violation of human rights. The government must take positive action to end hunger. The National Food Coalition urges the Philippine Congress to pass the zero-hunger bill immediately.  This bill provides a legal framework within which zero-hunger may be achieved progressively. The bill also provides an explicit guarantee to the right to adequate food, and clarifies its content, which includes food adequacy, availability, accessibility, freedom from adverse substances, and cultural or consumer acceptability. The bill also enumerates the human rights principles upon which the proposed law is based, namely, participation, accountability, non-discrimination, transparency, human dignity, empowerment, and rule of law.

The National Food Coalition is urging the Philippine government and civil society to come together and resolve firmly, as a community, to put an end to the hunger, which ultimately takes its toll on human dignity.

National Food Coalition
91 Madasalin St., Sikatuna Village,
Diliman 1101 Quezon City, Philippines
Phone: (02) 351-7553

Contact Persons:
Aurea G. Miclat-Teves – Convenor, National Food Coalition
ria.teves@yahoo.com.ph, +6323517553
Atty. Bombi Sunga – Legal Consultant
ricardo_sunga@yahoo.com, +63.917.854.2124

World Food Day 2014
16th October

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[Event] Commemoration of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

What: Commemoration of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

Event, Time and Venue:

Kwentong P53: Kwentang Kapos? Poverty Video Launch and Forum: 1:00-3:00 PM, Bacolod Chicken Inasal, Quezon Memorial Circle, Quezon City (take the entrance opposite the City Hall)

Anti-Poverty Jam: 5:00-10:00 PM, Perlie’s Garden and Restaurant, Elliptical Road, Quezon City (between NKTI and the Lung Center)

Please come and cover the event on Friday, October 17 to commemorate the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. GCAP Philippines will have two simultaneous events, the Poverty Video Launch and Anti-Poverty Jam. This is also a contribution to aksyon/2015, a global campaign movement that seeks to see “concrete action and ambitious agreements to tackle the root causes of inequality, injustice, poverty, and climate change in 2015.”

The Forum and Launch of the Poverty Video (Kwentong P53: Kwentang Kapos?) produced by GCAP Philippines will happen at 1:00-3:00pm at Bacolod Chicken Inasal in Quezon City Memorial Circle. Cover our discussion on Poverty with invited guests from NEDA (Mr Ramon Falcon, Chief Social Development Specialist), NAPC (Usec Esguerra and office of Sec Rocamora) and civil society organisations (PRRM, SPELL, Kasama Pilipinas, Aktib, ANGOC, ASSALAM Bangsamoro, Social Watch Philippines, AnthroWatch). We also expect that Mayor Herbert Bautista will give the Welcome Remarks.

In the evening, let us have a night of music and camaraderie at the Anti-Poverty Jam from 5:00-10:00pm at Perlie’s Garden and Restaurant at the Elliptical Road (between the National Kidney and Transplant Institute and the Lung Center of the Philippines). Entrance is free!

We will also have a Photo Exhibit on Poverty during these events.

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[Press Release]CLUP Now! pushes for immediate passage of NLUA to provide food security and eradicate hunger

CLUP Now! pushes for immediate passage of NLUA
to provide food security and eradicate hunger

In line with the celebration of this year’s World Food Day, the Campaign for Land Use Policy Now! Network (CLUP Now!)  urges for the passage of the National Land Use Act (NLUA).

CLUP NOW

“Proper use of land will help provide food security for the country. It definitely has a significant effect in eradicating hunger not just in the Philippines, but also in other countries that import Philippine produce,” stated Rep. Kaka J. Bag-ao of Dinagat Islands, the principal author of the NLUA still pending in the 16th Congress.

Lone district of Ifugao’s Rep. Teddy Baguilat, co-author of the NLUA bill in the Lower House, reiterated that the bill will not only help secure land for family farmers, but to provide food for the whole nation, as well.

Baguilat emphasized that the President has already certified NLUA as an urgent legislation. He said that the bill covers different areas that needed urgent action such as disaster risk reduction and food security. “Hunger is a very serious problem that needs to be addressed immediately,” added Baguilat. “We sometimes tend to overlook land use planning’s implications on food security and world hunger.”

This year’s World Food Day theme—Family Farming: “Feeding the world, caring for the earth”—focuses on eradicating world hunger and providing food security through farmer families and smallholder farmers

Anthony Marzan, convener of CLUP Now! pointed out that the passage of the said bill is important since land is the main resource needed to support smallholder and family farming. One of the categories of land use planning is the Production Land Use which focuses on utilization of land for agriculture, fish farming, grazing and pasture, among others.

For more information, contact:

Kim Alvarez, CLUP Now!, 0918-6545059, kbalvarez@gmail.com
Gillian Cruz, CLUP Now!, 09157830489, gillianmariecruz@gmail.com
CLUP Now! Network, campaignfornlua@gmail.com

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[Blog] Brown water, black sand: MacArthur, Leyte’s struggle against mining, Yolanda, and climate change. By Denise M. Fontanilla

Brown water, black sand
MacArthur, Leyte’s struggle against mining, Yolanda, and climate change
Text and photos by Denise M. Fontanilla

MacArthur townspeople with other civil society members and partners of Alyansa Tigil Mina hold a rally in front of an illegal black sand mining site in Maya village on August 21.

MacArthur townspeople with other civil society members and partners of Alyansa Tigil Mina
hold a rally in front of an illegal black sand mining site in Maya village on August 21.

I recently spent eight days in eastern Visayas, the region where typhoon Yolanda first passed through on November 8, 2013, almost ten months ago. Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM, or Alliance Against Mining) invited the civil society network I work for to their general assembly last August 18-21 at the Visayas State University, in Baybay City, Leyte Province, and I was happy to represent them and join the representatives of mining-affected communities and other civil society groups from across the country.

On the last day of the assembly, we visited the Pacific-facing town of MacArthur, named after the American general. It is classified as a fifth-class municipality, part of the second poorest group of towns in the country.

MacArthur, Leyte’s central elementary school.

MacArthur, Leyte’s central elementary school.

I got a glimpse of MacArthur’s central elementary school from the road, and saw students holding classes outside or in tents, as some school buildings were still under repair while some were under construction. A community organizer I travelled with couldn’t help but note that, unlike the school, the town’s cockfighting arena had long been fully operational.

Almost 22,000 of its residents were affected by the typhoon, including more than a hundred farmers and fisherfolk who made up the people’s organization UNLAD, short for Unahin Natin Lagi Ang Diyos (“Always put God first”).

The house of UNLAD’s secretary general Bernardita Morcilla looked like most others in the area: the roof was comprised mostly of gleaming new galvanized steel sheets and a couple of tarpaulins. Tita Brenie, a 67-year-old fish pen owner, and her family had to rebuild their dirty kitchen; I could still see a pillar of hollow blocks from the old walls.

ATM reported back in late November that “houses, schools, churches, [and] markets were all damaged.” Their partners, including UNLAD, added that about 80% of the town’s coconut trees were destroyed. But despite being badly hit by Yolanda themselves, UNLAD members connected ATM with devastated barangays and supported the groundwork for the network’s relief operations in seven towns in Leyte, including MacArthur. And aside from foraging for rootcrops, bananas and coconuts spared by Yolanda for their food, UNLAD prioritized cleaning and clearing operations nine days after Yolanda struck.

“ATM thought we were going to ask for food, but we asked for a chainsaw instead,” Tita Brenie told us in Filipino with a smirk.

Mark of PAKISAMA tours ATM members around UNLAD’s organic vegetable farm.

Mark of PAKISAMA tours ATM members around UNLAD’s organic vegetable farm.

Tita Brenie’s house stands at the entrance to UNLAD’s communal farm, which spans more than two hectares. ATM and PAKISAMA (Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Samahang Magsasaka, a national confederation of small farmers and fishers) established a nursery, training center, vegetable farm, piggery, and other facilities to provide food and income for UNLAD members and other residents. UNLAD members have been harvesting 15 kilos of assorted vegetables and beans on a daily basis since last April, according to Jaybee Garganera, the alliance’s national coordinator.

The farm project started during ATM’s early recovery phase and continues well into the rehabilitation and reconstruction phase, which includes cash-for-work programs, livelihood, and some shelter and infrastructure support for three towns.

UNLAD’s history

UNLAD was formed by fisherfolk in Bito Lake who blamed the massive fishkill in March 2012 on Nicua Mining Corporation, which was operating nearby and was releasing mining wastes into the lake. A study by the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources showed that the death of about 22 tons of tilapia was caused by domestic waste, overstocking, and contamination from the site of the Chinese firm. A team from the Leyte-based Visayas State University confirmed that the lake was lower in elevation compared to the mining site; team leader Dr. Humberto Montes, Jr. also cited an earlier study which predicted that the water level of the lake may decrease if large excavations are conducted in nearby areas.

Tita Brenie said the lake turned brown (“like 3-in-1 coffee”) and that she had to stop selling the fish she harvested in her fish pen for a time because the fish tasted like oil and grease.

UNLAD was organized on April 28, 2012. Its members held a barricade two days after until mid-May, when the barangay council governing the lake allowed the mining operations to continue. But the fisherfolk organization reformed in June to include farmers affected by the black sand mining operations in the town’s rice fields.

“Nicua has secured a 25-year permit from MGB in December 2010 to explore and extract magnetite sand concentrate in [a] 524-hectare area, notably rice and coconut fields, in the towns of MacArthur and Javier in Leyte,” reported the Leyte Samar Daily Express.

Magnetite sand is an iron ore highly-sought after for steel production. The black sands of many beaches, particularly in the Northern Luzon regions, have been scooped up in the quest for the valuable mineral, leaving coastal areas and river banks eroded and more vulnerable to sea level rise, floods, and storm surges. The disturbance of the farmlands and marine ecosystems also leads to less food and decreased sources of livelihood.

Tita Brenie shows ATM members RT Mining’s operations in Maya village. One of its facilities is in the far background.

Tita Brenie shows ATM members RT Mining’s operations in Maya village.
One of its facilities is in the far background.

In MacArthur’s case, more than 70 hectares of the town’s farmlands have now been destroyed, Tita Brenie said, and the rest are drying out because the company has diverted the irrigation. Farmer Alfredo Cordero told Interaksyon and Leyte Samar Daily Express about the foot skin disease he contracted from the oil and chemicals from the mining site, which seeped into the water in his nearby ricefield.

The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines’ National Secretariat for Social Action (CBCP-NASSA) led a solidarity mission to Lake Bito with ATM also in June 2012. Also through ATM and its partners, a Temporary Environmental Protection Order (TEPO) was filed at the Abuyog Regional Trial Court, and the plight of MacArthur was picked up by radio and various national newspapers.

“Can we eat magnetite sand? Why are we prioritizing mining over rice and fish production?” Fr. Edu Gariguez, executive secretary of CBCP-NASSA, then stated.

In August of the same year, the operation of Nicua Mining Corporation was suspended by the environment department’s Mines and Geosciences Bureau for allowing another Chinese mining company to operate within its designated area. The Abuyog court also issued the TEPO the very next month.

But the local government unit (LGU) of MacArthur continues to marginalize the members of UNLAD, according to Marissa Miguel Cano of the Visayas State University’s quick response team. “The LGU passed an ordinance limiting the size of fish pens in Lake Bito to only half a hectare per occupant and denied their applications to set up and operate fish pens,” she wrote in her history of UNLAD. “Worst of all, the mining company stopped rehabilitating the mined areas.”

“We really can’t expect anything from the government, as even the barangay officials here don’t care about us,” Tita Brenie also said. “The mayor said I was only a nuisance.” She added though that UNLAD is now more acknowledged within the town since they supported relief and recovery efforts.

“Pagkain, hindi buhangin!”

We were touring the vegetable farm and sampling the organic produce for lunch when Tita Brenie and an ATM officer asked if we can extend the solidarity visit to the farm to a mobilization in the black sand mining site of RT Mining Corporation in the ricefields of Brgy. Maya. UNLAD believes that the management of Nicua are also behind RT Mining, which was said to operate outside their approved area.

We readily agreed to hold the rally, and proceeded to think of chants other than the usual “Tao Muna, Hindi Mina! (People First, Not Mining!)”. After several suggestions, someone eventually came up with the runaway winner, “Pagkain, Hindi Buhangin! (Food, Not Sand!)”

We travelled from the farm to Brgy. Maya, where a new waiting shed greeted us from the highway. A sign announced that the roofing materials were donated by two mining companies, which were said to be subcontracted by Nicua. We then made our way to the middle of the ricefields under the glaring sun, at around one o’clock, where we found what looked like a desert of black sand.

UNLAD members led the mobilization, holding up cheesecloth and rice sacks with messages in the local language such as “Farming is better without mining!” and “Uphold the Memorandum Circular No. 44 of Sec. Roxas!” The latter referred to the secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government’s order for all local governments to suspend or cancel all illegal small-scale mining operations, especially black sand mining in coastal areas.

ATM intends to file a case against RT Mining, according to its Visayas campaign officer Teody Navea. “We demand the immediate shutdown of RT Mining Corp. We will support our partner UNLAD-BLFFA in their struggle for their right to food security and sustainable livelihood,” he said in a statement.

In between chants, UNLAD leaders like Tita Brenie and other Alyansa Tigil Mina members led by Sir Jaybee addressed the mining site workers and armed guards over the portable mic, listing the various reasons why their operations must be stopped. We stayed under the sun for about two hours as we had to wait for the local TV crew, so when it was my turn to speak, I couldn’t think of anything to start with other than the devastating heat and briefly connected that to mining, Yolanda, and climate change. After a couple of minutes, I led another round of chants before gratefully handing the mic back and asking around for a sip of water.

Mining, Yolanda, and climate justice

I have attended several conferences about Yolanda, with experts of various fields explaining how disasters are not entirely natural, about how they magnify the existing vulnerabilities of people and surface deep-rooted issues of development. But it was only when I saw the situation in MacArthur when the jargon-filled statements really hit home.

ATM is working on a policy paper on mining and climate justice that lists previous mining- and extreme-weather related disasters, such as the Pantukan mines landslide in Compostela Valley, in the Davao region of Mindanao, during Typhoon Pablo (Bopha) in December 2012. The copper smelting plant in Leyte, which is largely owned by the Swiss company Glencore Xstrata, was also heavily damaged by Yolanda.

Not only are mining and other extractive industries vulnerable to disasters, they also make nearby communities more vulnerable than they already are. Companies for mining and coal contribute greenhouse gases not only through their actual operations but also through deforestation and conversion of agricultural lands. The resulting damage further threatens people’s very survival, their health and food security, among other things.

You would think that the people of MacArthur and other Yolanda- and mining-affected communities have enough to worry about, but going against mining is integral to rebuilding their lives and livelihoods. It is part and parcel of increasing their resilience not only to disasters but also to the impacts of climate change. While scientists have yet to directly link extreme weather events with climate change, we do know that climate change has stacked the odds against vulnerable countries like the Philippines, with global warming fueling typhoons like Yolanda and contributing to sea level rise.

In the international climate negotiations, the Philippines has been calling for developed or industrialized countries, which have contributed the most to the climate crisis, to fulfill their commitments to mitigate their greenhouse gas emissions. They also have the responsibility to help developing countries like ours, which contributed the least emissions but already bear most of the consequences, to adapt to climate change impacts by sharing funds and technology.

But as Filipino climate advocates like me follow the United Nations climate conferences and continue to push for a progressive global deal in 2015, we also challenge our own government to truly practice what it preaches. It must better integrate disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation in national- and local-level planning. And it must follow the true path to sustainable development by instituting policy reforms not only in energy but also in mining and land use in general. This might seem as a grand wish list, but as Filipinos await the next typhoon with dread, we cannot afford to do anything less.

###

Denise M. Fontanilla is the advocacy officer of Aksyon Klima Pilipinas, an advocacy network of civil society organizations working on climate change issues in the international and national fronts. Alyansa Tigil Mina is one of its members.

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[Statement] PhilRights Statement on the Right to Adequate Food Framework Bill (HB 3795)

PhilRights Statement on the Right to Adequate Food Framework Bill (HB 3795)

Photo by FIAN

Photo by FIAN

The Philippine Human Rights Information Center (PhilRights), a non-government organization actively engaged in human rights research, education and information work, supports the Right to Adequate Food Framework Bill and calls upon Members of the Philippine Congress to urgently enact the bill into law.

What makes the bill unique and significant? It is a bill that provides a framework, a perspective on why the right to adequate food should be fulfilled by the State and the approach and manner of how the right to adequate food should be met. And that is the rights-based approach (RBA).

The right to adequate food is a human right recognized by the Philippines by virtue of its ratification of several key international human rights laws, namely the International Covenant on Economic, Social & Cultural Rights (Art. 11), Convention on the Rights of the Child (Art. 24.2c), and Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (Art. 12.2). It is a right which every Filipino should enjoy by virtue of its interconnection with the realization of other human rights such as the rights to life, health, education, work, freedom of religion,association and peaceful assembly.

The passage of a law which provides the legal framework for the enjoyment of the right to adequate food by the Filipino people is highly critical for the State to comply its human rights obligation. It is essential in the development of policies, programs, projects and measures that will address the problems of hunger and malnutrition, monopoly ownership of land and other natural resources, inequitable and lack of access to sources for food production, environmental destruction, and unfair international agreements. It is an important legislation which when passed and effectively implemented will ensure the enjoyment of the right to adequate food by the Filipino people, especially the most vulnerable.

We call upon the members of the 16th Philippine Congress to perform a historic act for which they will be remembered by immediately passing the Right to Adequate Food Framework Bill. This will be a legacy which the present and future generations will substantially benefit from.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

* Read by Dr. Nymia Pimentel Simbulan during the Human Rights Committee Hearing on House Bill No. 3795, May27, 2014, Mitra Hall, House of Representatives, Batasan Pambansa, Quezon City

Photos: Astrud Beringer/FIAN Philippines

[People] The greatest hunger is for justice. By Fr. Shay Cullen

The greatest hunger is for justice
By Fr. Shay Cullen

Food, glorious food, our lives are dominated by the desire and need to eat and the agricultural industry provides food for the billions of people on the planet. However, some people eat too much food, over 1.5 billion and others have too little food, about 925 million people are malnourished and go hungry.

325-fr-shay-cullen

The people with too much food, most of it bad for the health, are dying from the surplus as they get heart failure, diabetes, cancers and many other conditions. Those with too little are dying too from the lack of nourishing food. It’s truly a matter of social justice on a local and then global scale and needs the just and fair distribution of the world’s resources and food above all.

Jesus of Nazareth, a prodigy of wisdom, advised his disciples to share whatever food they had (a few loaves and fishes) with the hungry people who had come out into the desert to hear him preach. The miracle was that the unselfish sharing of their little food inspired all the people who had food to share it with those who had none and there was enough for all.

Unselfish sharing is the way to bring greater balance into the world and the rich with compassion for the poor will have the spiritual insight and knowledge as to what is a good and right way to live and will have the spiritual will power and strength to control themselves and their appetite, greed and selfish urges. People are transformed when they forget themselves and get involved in helping change the world and help others. The real change in the world comes one person at a time, and it can then grow when others are inspired to do their share. Changing attitudes in a community by changing our way of life is teaching by example.

There is more than enough food in the world for everybody to eat well but the distribution is uneven due to corrupt governance, unfair laws and because the rich and well-fed have manipulated many a nation’s laws to benefit themselves and their luxuriant lifestyles. The poor have little chance for education, good job and food security. They don’t have a chance to provide for themselves.

Roger, a poor boy, asked me to help him get a job as a janitor in a fast food restaurant. He would be paid a minimum wage and allowed to have one meal a day. He just had to mop the floor and clean the toilets for eight hours. But to get the job, the company demanded a bunch of documents. He had to have a high school diploma, a health certificate, an x-ray, a birth certificate, 2 police clearance certificates, a letter of recommendation, a mayor’s work permit and money for a uniform.

For every document there is a fee to be paid, so the very poor, they are excluded and can’t even get a job that needs little training as a janitor, a good and noble profession, where would we be without them.

However, hundreds of thousands of youth are unemployed because of these ridiculous and expensive requirements. When he got the job, he was fired after six months so as not to have him qualify as a regular employee and get additional health benefits. That’s why hundreds of thousands go jobless and hungry.

If there is greater equality then absolute poverty will be eliminated and if there was less waste of food there would be a lowering of food prices and more people could be better fed. In the United States alone there is 40 million tons of food thrown away daily. In the UK, 15 million tons are wasted every day.

There are statistics showing that up to 30% of vegetables and fruit delivered to the UK supermarkets are rejected because they don’t reach the pristine shape and looks demanded by the managers.

In the Philippines, the left-over food from the plates of the restaurant customers are collected by the very poor and boiled and eaten. It keeps them alive. For another estimated 20 million Filipinos, a cup of cooked rice and a piece dried fish and a scrap of vegetable is all they can afford.

Even the ability of the people to feed themselves by growing their own food is being hampered by the control of the vegetable soya and corn seeds worldwide by companies making genetically modified organisms (GMO). Others have terminator seeds. These are sold with the help of corrupt Department of Agriculture personnel to farmers instead of traditional natural seeds.

The seeds are dependent on fertilizers made by the same company (Shell for example). They don’t produce seeds that will not grow again and the farmers have to go back and buy more seeds every year. Self reliance is taken away. That’s why many rural communities are in debt and poverty and some send their children to work in the cities. Many of them are trafficked into the sex trade.

What’s needed from most is a people’s power, peaceful, non-violent movement to protest and challenge the ruling elites and educate the people to elect honest representatives renowned for integrity with the best interests of the people at heart. Now that’s a real challenge. [shaycullen@preda.org; http://www.preda.org]

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[Statement] Adopt a human rights-based rehabilitation plan for ‘Yolanda’ victims -NFC

Adopt a human rights-based rehabilitation plan for ‘Yolanda’ victims

We urge the Philippine Government to place the people’s basic human rights up front and center in its rehabilitation plan for those affected by the devastation of Super Typhoon Yolanda (also known by its international name, ‘Haiyan’). Included in these basic rights is the right to adequate food. Indeed, Super Typhoon Yolanda has interrupted the people’s enjoyment of this basic human right, taking its toll especially on the most vulnerable in our midst.

NFC

Any rehabilitation plan must adopt a human rights-based approach, and should ensure the right to adequate food. This is the right of the people to have regular, permanent and unrestricted access, either directly or through purchases, to quantitatively and qualitatively adequate and sufficient food. Such food should correspond to their cultural traditions, and ensure a physical and mental, individual and collective, fulfilling and dignified life that is free of fear.

In this regard, Aurea Miclat-Teves, convenor of the National Food Coalition, suggests that the Philippine Government explore, as possible elements of a rehabilitation plan, the following:
1)sustainable agriculture, which is farming that observes sound ecological principles;
2) resilient cropping, which is farming that anticipates and prepares for adversity, such as extreme weather events, fuel cost spikes, and restricted access to irrigation; and
3) organic farming, which employs crop rotation, green manure, compost,and biological pest control.

These practices are consistent with disaster risk reduction that aims to protect people’s livelihoods from shocks, and to strengthen their capacity to recover from disasters, such as super typhoons. These practices are also in keeping with a human rights-based approach to climate change. As we have stated before, it is essential to align climate policies with the right to adequate food. Climate change-induced super typhoons and other similar events compromise food production and interfere with the right to adequate food.

By way of emphasis, clear and comprehensive polices that promote the right to adequate food are urgently needed. In this regard, we reiterate our call for the immediate adoption by the Philippines of a right to adequate food framework law.

PRESS STATEMENT
13 December 2013

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[Press Release] End Hunger in the Philippines, adopt a Right to Adequate Food Framework Law -FIAN

End Hunger in the Philippines, adopt a Right to Adequate Food Framework Law

Quezon City -Super Typhoon Yolanda (also known by its international name as ‘Haiyan’) has caused unprecedented devastation in the Philippines.

logo-fian

“It is therefore necessary for the Philippine Government to consider climate change from a human rights-based perspective, and, in the process, to align its climate policies, with the right to adequate food. Climate change-induced super typhoons and other similar events, compromise food production and supply, and interfere with the enjoyment of the right to adequate food”, the National Food Coalition said in a statement.

The NFC, a group calling for the adoption of a right to adequate food framework law in the Philippines, has also expressed solidarity with the victims of the typhoon. “We express our deepest sympathies for those who have lost relatives and friends. We likewise express our heartfelt gratitude to the local and global community, which have provided humanitarian aid, accompanied by words of encouragement in our time of need. This has given us much reason to hope. Everyday, with the ongoing search and rescue operations, as we sift through the debris, and the death toll mounts, we realize more and more the extent to which we are subject to Mother Nature’s power, and being at the mercy of her fury.”

The NFC is composed of over 50 organizations and federations with more than 10,000 members from the urban poor, peasants, indigenous peoples, fisherfolk and the middle class. The NFC has highlighted the main drivers of hunger in the country like poverty, inequality and the resulting failure of the poor to access available resources.

“We appreciate the Philippine Government’s ongoing disaster and relief efforts. Certainly, fulfilling the right to adequate food of those affected is central to these efforts. Super Typhoon Yolanda has interrupted the people’s enjoyment of this basic human right, taking its toll especially on the most vulnerable in our midst,” the NFC statement.

But the group also stressed that “the time for the Philippine Government to act could have been sooner. For the Philippine Government, disaster risk reduction is essential. It includes protecting people’s livelihoods from shocks, and strengthening their capacity to recover from disasters, such as super typhoons.”

“Concrete and meaningful steps must be taken early on to prevent a crisis from happening, or at least, to mitigate its effects, to save precious life. There is an urgent need for the Philippine Government, in embarking on disaster risk reduction, and in considering climate change from a human rights-based perspective, to ensure the right to adequate food. This is the right of the people to have regular, permanent and unrestricted access, either directly or through purchases, to quantitatively and qualitatively adequate and sufficient food, which corresponds to their cultural traditions, and which ensures a physically and mentally, individually and collectively, fulfilling and dignified life that
is free of fear” said Aurea Miclat-Teves NFC Convenor.

“Clear and comprehensive polices that promote the right to adequate food are urgently needed. In this context, we reiterate our call for the immediate adoption in the Philippines of a right to adequate food framework law”, the NFC statement added.

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[Urgent Alert] Save 78 poor fisherfolk families from forced eviction and starvation in the Freedom Island of Paranaque City -AHRC

Asian Human Rights Commission

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – HUNGER ALERT PROGRAMME
Hunger Alert Case: AHRC-HAC-003-2012

29 January 2013


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PHILIPPINES: Save 78 poor fisherfolk families from forced eviction and starvation in the Freedom Island of Paranaque City

ISSUES: Right to food; inhuman and degrading treatment; hunger, starvation, corruption; impunity; rule of law
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Dear friends,

Asian Human Rights CommissionThe Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has learnt about 78 families belonging to fisherfolk community facing threats of imminent eviction during a field visit undertaken by its Programme Coordinator for Right to Food Programme together with a representative of Defend Job Philippines. The local authorities had served the notice of eviction to these families residing in the Floating Houses in the Coastal Area of San Dionisio in August 2012 and are now trying to relocate them. The families had come to this area in 2006 after facing a similar eviction from areas like Marina and Tambo. To persuade them to move to this area, the Philippine Estate Authority (now Philippine Reclamation Authority) had entered into a formal agreement with them and promised them priority status in the housing programme. Needless to say the Authority has not kept its promise. Impending eviction coupled with plans to relocate them to nearby mountains will not only cause grave trouble for the families but also imperil their food security. They will be exposed to starvation as they have no skills other than fishing for daily living and pure survival.

CASE NARRATIVE:

Continuing its threat of evicting the fisherfolk community living in the Coastal Area of San Dionisio in the Freedom Islands, officials of the National Housing Authority conducted visits in the area this month to ‘convince’ the families to relocate to Bario Agua Trece Martirez in Cavite.

The visits coincided with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ rejection of the demand of the fishermen’s organization to recall the environmental compliance certificates (ECCs) issued to development projects that involved the massive land-reclamation projects along the Manila Bay area, thereby making the eviction of the community imminent. The DENR, through the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB), also rejected the group’s call for a moratorium on the issuance of ECC for similar projects in the future.

The Philippines Estates Authority Tollway Corporation(PEATC) had first served an eviction notice on the community on August 8, 2012, through a letter its president Mr. Andrew Jude D. Deyto wrote to Mr. Pablo Olivarez, Barangay Chairman. The president had ‘advised’ the residents of the Floating Houses in the Coastal Area of San Dionisio to immediately vacate the area in accordance with the order of the Public Estate Authority. Mr. Olivarez communicated the notice to the residents on August 27 while informing them about the plan of PEATC.

Ever since serving the notice, representatives of the Philippine Reclamation Authority have threatened and harassed the people with repeated threats and deadlines. The authority had set December 2012 as the deadline for forcibly evicting the residents if they do not heed its advice and vacating the area by then.

If carried out, this would be the second forced eviction from their settlements for the 78 families living in the Floating Houses in less than 6 years. The families had been forcibly relocated to the area in April 2006 from their homes in Marina and Tambo. Relocation was accompanied by a formal agreement by the Philippine Estate Authority (now Philippine Reclamation Authority) that promised the residents priority status in the housing program. Needless to say, the Authority never fulfilled its promise. They are still trying to evict the families.

The relocation sites offered by the local Government of Paranaque expose not only their utter lack of sensitivity to the people, but also a recklessness in dealing with the issue. The authority had first offered two sites for relocation. Antipolo in Rizal was the first followed by Trece Martirez in Cavite, making the later the preferred one. Trece Martirez , four hours away from the Freedom Islands, lies in a mountainous region, far away from the sea or any other body of water, the basic source of livelihood for fishermen dependent on fishing for survival. Forced eviction followed by relocation, therefore, would seriously undermine their already endangered food security. It would also play havoc with the studies of the children as they are enrolled in schools inside Paranaque City.

None of this suggested that conditions in the boathouses are liveable to any extent! For example, local government authorities have not provided even such a basic amenity as clean drinking water under the garb of the habitat being illegal. This is a position absolutely untenable for the simple fact that the same authorities paid 6000 Pesos per family in 2006 as relocation assistance.

Coming back to the water issue, the residents are compelled not only to buy their water but also to fetch it from a distance of almost a kilometre. They pay 3 Peso per gallon with the daily requirement of a single family ranging from 5 to 10 gallons. In addition, 10 pesos is required for transporting it back to their houses by a paddy cab. Thus, water alone, uses up a significant portion of their daily earnings.

The forced eviction and later reclamation of the area will not merely affect these 78 families but also more than 10000 families that are part of the Paranaque Aquamarine Sellers Cooperative. The cooperative represents and organises people in fishermen’s wharf and helps them sell their catch in organised ways. The reclamation will also affect more than 1000 paddycab drivers and their families as their livelihood depends upon the cooperative. The forced relocation together with reclamation will cause an even bigger livelihood threat to the paddycab drivers as they have not been promised any relocation.

ADDITIONAL DETAILS:
The Floating community is located along the shore of Manila Bay near the Freedom Islands in Paranaque and Las Pinas City and faces reclamation under the Manila Cavite Coastal Road Reclamation Project. The project started in 1970 is continued by the the Philippine Reclamation Authority (PRA) with support from the national government. The PRA is in partnership with the Altech Corporation, a company owned by Danding Cojuanco who happens to be the uncle of the President of the Philippines.

The planned reclamation has been opposed by the community through the SAVE FREEDOM ISLANDS MOVEMENT. The movement believes that continued reclamation will also worsen the flood problems in Metro Manila affecting the residents of the two cities; Paranaque and Las Pinas.

The reclamation would prove a disaster even on purely ecological grounds as the Island provides a natural shield against typhoons. It’s lagoon functions as an outlet for major waterways in the two cities. Furthermore, its rich ecosystem plays a vital role in human, bird and marine life. It is the only remaining coastal periphery of mangroves and salt marshes. Multifarious biodiversity in Metro-Manila serves as an avian refuge for 80 different species of birds including the Black-crowned Night Herons, Kentish plovers, Curlew Sandpipers and Siberian Ruby Throats, the endangered Chinese Egret, Philippine Duck and the rare Pied Avocet. By virtue of this, it was declared a critical habitat in 2007 by Proclamation No: 1412.

SUGGESTED ACTION:
Please write to the authorities mentioned below demanding immediate intervention to stop the plans of evictions and forced relocation of the 78 families residing in the Freedom Islands. You may also demand that the authorities provide basic amenities like tapped water and electricity to the community.
The AHRC is writing separate letters to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food and Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing asking for their intervention in the case.

SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear __________,

PHILIPPINES: Save 78 poor fisherfolk families from forced eviction and starvation in the Freedom Island of Paranaque City

Name of the victims: 78 families of a fisherfolk community,
Place of incident: Freedom Island of Paranaque City

I want to draw your kind attention to an eviction notice served on the 78 fisherfolk families residing in the Floating House in the Coastal Area of San Dionisio by the Philippine Estates Authority Tollway Corporation(PEATC).

Continuing their threat of evicting the fisherfolk, the officials of the National Housing Authority conducted visits in the area this month to ‘convince’ families to relocate to Bario Agua Trece Martirez in Cavite.

The visits coincided with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ rejection of the demand of fishermen’s organization to recall the environmental compliance certificates (ECCs.) These were issued to development projects that involved the massive land-reclamation projects along Manila Bay, thereby making eviction of the community imminent. The DENR, through the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB), also rejected the group’s call for a moratorium on the issuance of ECC for similar projects in the future.

The Philippine Estates Authority Tollway Corporation(PEATC) had first served an eviction notice on the community on August 8, 2012, through a letter its president Mr. Andrew Jude D. Deyto wrote to Mr. Pablo Olivarez, Barangay Chairman. The president had ‘advised’ the residents of the Floating House in the Coastal Area of San Dionisio to immediately vacate the area in accordance with the order of the Public Estate Authority. Mr. Olivarez communicated the notice to the residents on August 27 while informing them about the plan of PEATC.

Ever since serving the notice, representatives of the Philippine Reclamation Authority had threatened and harassed the people by way of repeated threats and deadlines. The authority had set December 2012 as the deadline for forcibly evicting the residents if they do not heed its advice of vacating the area by then.

If enforced, this would be the second forced eviction from their settlements for the 78 families living in the Floating Houses in less than 6 years. The families had been forcibly relocated to the area in April 2006 from their homes in Marina and Tambo. This relocation was accompanied by a formal agreement by the Philippine Estate Authority (now Philippine Reclamation Authority) that promised residents would be given priority status in the housing program. Needless to say the Authority never fulfilled its promise, still trying to evict the families.

The relocation sites offered by the local Government of Paranaque expose not only their utter lack of sensitivity to the people, but also recklessness in dealing with the issue. Two sites were first offered for relocation, the first being Antipolo in Rizal and the other Trece Martirez in Cavite, making the later the preferred one. Trece Martirez , four hours away from the Freedom Islands, lies in a mountainous region far away from the sea or any other body of water, the basic source of the livelihood for the fishermen dependent on fishing for survival. Forced eviction followed by relocation, therefore, would seriously undermine an already endangered food security for the poor families. It would also play havoc with the studies of the children as they are enrolled in the schools inside Paranaque City.

None of this is to suggest that the conditions in the boathouses are liveable to any extent! For example, local government authorities have not provided even the basic amenities like clean drinking water under the garb that the habitat is illegal. This is a position absolutely untenable for the simple fact that the same authorities paid 6000 Pesos per family in 2006 as relocation assistance.

Getting back to the water issue, the residents are compelled not only to buy their water but also to fetch it from a distance of almost a kilometre. They pay 3 Peso per gallon with the daily requirement of a single family ranging from 5 to 10 gallons, and an additional 10 pesos for transporting it back to their houses by a paddy cab. Water alone, thus, eats up a significant portion of their daily earnings.

A forced eviction and a later reclamation of the area will not merely affect these 78 families but also more than 10,000 families that are part of the Paranaque Aquamarine Sellers Cooperative. The cooperative represents and organises people in the fishermen’s wharf, helping them to sell their catch in an organised way. The reclamation will also affect more than 1,000 paddycab drivers and their families as their livelihood depends upon the cooperative. Forced relocation together with reclamation will cause an even bigger threat to the livelihood of paddycab drivers as they have not been promised any relocation.

I therefore urge you to:

1. Instruct the PEA/PRA to put an immediate end to the plans of eviction of the 78 families living in the Floating houses
2. Instruct the PEA/PRA to stop threatening the families
3. Instruct them to provide basic amenities like clean drinking water and electricity to the community
4. Have a constructive dialogue involving the fishermen and urban poor families in the planned development in the area.
5. Instruct the Barangay San Isidro Government and the Paranaque City Government to focus on ensuring the rights and welfare of the residents of the floating community and including them in their housing program.
6. Ensure that no relocations for any community are done in areas not conducive to their sources of livelihood.

Sincerely,
_______

PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:

1. Mr. Benigno Aquino III
President
Republic of the Philippines
Malacanang Palace
JP Laurel Street, San Miguel
Manila 1005
PHILIPPINES
Fax: +63 2 736 1010
Tel: +63 2 735 6201 / 564 1451 to 80

2. Ms. Loretta Ann Rosales
Commission on Human Rights
SAAC Bldg., Commonwealth Avenue
U.P. Complex, Diliman
Quezon City
PHILIPPINES
Fax: +63 2 929 0102
Tel: +63 2 928 5655 / 926 6188
E-mail: chair.rosales.chr@gmail.com

3. Corazon Juliano-Soliman
Secretary, Department of Social, Welfare and Development
Constitution Hills, Batasan Pambansa Complex,
Quezon City
PHILIPPINES
Tel/Fax: +63 (2) 931-81-91

4. Sec. Joel Rocamora
Lead Convener
National Anti-Poverty Commission
3rd Floor, Agricultural Training Institute Building
Elliptical Road, Diliman
Quezon City
PHILIPPINES
Fax: +63 2 927 9796 / 426 5249
Email: napc.gov@gmail.com

5. Mr. Jean Zeigler
UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food
Attn: Mr. Carlos Villan Duran
C/o OHCHR-UNOG
1211 Geneva 10,
SWITZERLAND
Tel: +41 22 917 9300
Fax: +41 22 9179010
Email: sect.hchr@unog.ch

6. Ms. Raquel ROLNIK
UN Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing
Attn: Ms. Cecilia Moller
Room 4-066/010
C/o UNOG-OHCHR
1211 Geneva 10
SWITZERLAND
Tel: +41 22 917 9265
Fax: +41 22 917 9010 (ATTENTION: SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ADEQUATE HOUSING)
Email: urgent-action@ohchr.org

Thank you

Hunger Alerts Programme
Right to Food Programme (foodjustice@ahrc.asia)
Asian Human Rights Commission (ua@ahrc.asia)

Visit our new website with more features at www.humanrights.asia.

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[Resources] Right to Food Journal Is Out! -FIAN

Right to Food Journal Is Out!

The FIAN Right to Food Journal, formerly the Right to Food Quarterly, which provides experts, activists and other interested persons with information and analysis on the right to food and on important trends concerning Economic, Social and Cultural rights, is now available for download.

In this issue, several articles deal with important new instruments to tackle the underlying violations of the right to adequate food and related rights, including the FAO Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests.

A team of researchers from the University of Hohenheim explores how institutionalized gender discrimination and structural violence impose barriers to women’s enjoyment of the right to adequate food and nutrition.

Read full article @ fian.org

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[Event] Conference on the right to adequate food situation of women in the Philippines – FIAN

In observance of the International Day of Rural Women on October 15th and World Food Day on October 16th, the Philippine section of the Foodfirst Information and Action Network, or FIAN, an international human rights organization that advocates the right to food, will hold a conference on the right to adequate food situation of women in the Philippines.  The conference will be held on October 18, 2011, Tuesday, from 1 P.M. to 6 P.M. at Balay Kalinaw, University of the Philippines Diliman, Quezon City.

With the theme “Voices of Women who feed the world, The Situation of the Right to Food in the Philippines” the conference aims to present a picture of the actual condition of women peasants, indigenous peoples, fisherfolk and urban poor. Specifically, it aims to highlight the significant role and contributions of women as well as the problems and challenges confronting them in food security systems in both rural and urban settings. It also seeks the government’s response as the primary duty bearer in ensuring that the right to food of women are respected, protected and fulfilled.

Join us as we continue our efforts to advance the right to food in the Philippines.

Please confirm your attendance by calling us at (02) 351-7553 or mobile phone no. 09178718370 (look for Kate Briola) or by e-mail at fian.philippines@gmail.com. We will also be calling your office to follow up.

We look forward to your meaningful participation.
With warm regards,

(Sgd) AUREA G. MICLAT-TEVES
President
FIAN Philippines

[In the news] Binondo shopowners urged to pull out tainted Taiwanese foods – Interaksyon.com

Binondo shopowners urged to pull out tainted Taiwanese foods – Interaksyon.com.

MANILA, PhilippinesEnvironmental activists on Tuesday marched through the streets of Binondo district, Manila’s Chinatown, urging shopowners to pull Taiwanese food products suspected of being tainted with a chemical used in plastics manufacturing.

Photo by InterAksyon.com

Photo by InterAksyon.com

“AlerToxic Patrollers” of the Eco-Waste Coalition went from store to store with placards asking owners, “Don’t sell unless proven DEHP-free.”

The action came after the Taiwanese government ordered the massive recall of almost 500 brands of fruit jams and preserves, fruit juices, sports drinks, teas, food powers, and food or food supplement tablets manufactured by 155 companies which have been found contaminated with Di (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP),

Eco-Waste said data from Taiwan’s Food and Drug Administration showd that, as of last Friday, 465,638 bottles of DEHP-tainted beverages have been pulled out from store shelves, as well as 270,822 boxes and 68,924 packs of powdered probiotics and 28,539 kilos of fruit juices, fruit jam, powder and syrup, and yoghurt powder.

The activists also handed store owners a list of DEHP-tainted products.

DEHP makes plastic softer and more pliable.

“We have come here today with an urgent plea to all importers, distributors and vendors of high-risk beverage, food and medicinal goods from Taiwan to temporarily stop from selling such products until consumer safety from DEHP is totally guaranteed,”  Eco-Waste chemical safety campaigner Aileen Lucero said.