Palawan: “We Need Our Land Not Oil Palms!”

travelworld photo

Philippine President, Rodrigo Duterte has identified oil palm development as one of the key industries that, according to him, could boost the country’s economy.  He has indicated both Palawan and Mindanao as the new frontiers for oil palm expansion. The former is also known as the ‘last frontier’ for its dense forest and rich biodiversity. Because of its unique features, Palawan was declared a Man & Biosphere Reserve in the 90s.

The kind of oil palm development being proposed by Duterte’s administration will have grave implications not only on the way of life of indigenous peoples, but on the country’s environment as a whole, as well on the lives of future generations of Filipinos. We, in Palawan, can say this loudly, because many of us have already witnessed the increasing impoverishment of our people and the progressive deterioration of our forest and natural resources, because of oil palm development.

It is enough to look at the clear-cutting of precious lowland forest here in Palawan by Agumil Philippine Inc., San Andres and CAVDEAL to get a close idea of what oil palm industry can do and is doing to our beautiful land and to the hundreds of indigenous and rural communities that have cared for it, over generations.

As we write this message, pressure from agribusiness firms is increasing at an alarming rate and us, in CALG, are rushing off our feet to keep up with this enormous pressure and respond to the call for help of oil palm impacted communities.

We need your solidarity and support.

Please sign the online petition
https://www.rainforest-rescue. org/petitions/1089/we-need- our-land-not-oil-palms?t=3090

In the neighboring island of Mindanao, extra-judicial killings committed against indigenous people’s activists and Environmental and Human Rights Defenders (EHRDs) have been perpetrated also in relation to the growing opposition against oil palm expansion. We are concerned that social tension being brought by oil palm expansion will escalate in Palawan as well, with predictable consequences on rural and indigenous communities and on those advocates who are struggling against land grabbing.

If Philippine President Duterte wishes to remain faithful to his mandate, he should then push for an agrarian reform that see farmers making a decent living by producing healthy crops, rather than promoting a system where corporations, traders and merchants are those controlling and manipulating the food supply chain to the disadvantage of the rural household economy.  Oil palm development is exactly this: an agricultural model that is in antithesis with food sovereignty and self-sufficiency and that contributes to climate change and the privatization of communities’ shared resources by large corporations. If rural poverty is to be seriously addressed, land should be used for food security, not for the massive export of cash crops.

While our government has remained silence on the oil palm issue, we have now launched a massive international campaign against oil palm expansion in both Palawan and Mindanao while local communities are being organized on the ground.

YOUR SUPPORT WILL BE INVALUABLE TO SUSTAIN OUR CAUSE

Please, add your signature here:
https://www.rainforest-rescue. org/petitions/1089/we-need- our-land-not-oil-palms?t=3090

Maraming salamat po!

The CALG Team
Coalition against Land Grabbing – Philippines

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *