1,741 Farmer Households Face Dispossession

What is affected
Land Social/public
Land Private
Type of violation Dispossession/confiscation
Date 13 January 2009
Region A [ Asia ]
Country Philippines
Location Sariaya

Affected persons

Total 8705
Men 0
Women 0
Children 0
Proposed solution

Duty holder(s) /responsible party(ies)

Brief narrative 1,741 households of farmers are threatened to be turned landless and destitute by attempts of landowners to reclaim former landholdings of a total of 2,074 hectares in Sariaya that were rightfully redistributed to them under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP). Although the claims of former landowners were officially declared void, several cases of displacement have already taken place. As such, the right to food of 1,741 farmer-households is at stake.


The Municipality of Sariaya in Quezon Province is exemplary for the successful implementation of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) that distributed land to landless and poor sharecroppers, and thereby enabled them to feed themselves adequately. Previously as share-croppers, they were forced to hand over substantial parts (up to 80%) of their harvest to their landowners. By providing land to such sharecroppers, they were able to till land and feed themselves and their families adequately, with the effect that poverty in Sariaya was sustainably reduced over the past 10 years.

However, former landlords are now attempting to claim half of the land (equalling to 2074 hectares) which was distributed under the CARP all cross the municipality of Sariaya. The landlords’ claims are based on an outdated and vague land use plan from 1982 which reclassifies agricultural into non-agricultural land. Although the said plan was at no time put into practice and only designed provisionally, the landlords are arguing that the land should have never been distributed because non-agricultural land is exempted from the CARP. In June 2008, this land use plan was declared void by the local and provincial representatives of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), and the local government of Sariaya dismissed the said document.

Notwithstanding these legal decisions, the higher ranks of DAR bureaucracy continue to dispossess farmers of their land and cases of evictions of several communities have already been reported. In one specific case, a family in Barangay Tumbaga is facing an eviction from their 1.2 hectares of land which they have legally owned for the past 10 years and tilled for 65 years. A meagre compensation of 7000 Philippine Pesos (approximately 114 Euros) was paid to the farmers. This, however, can not replace their source of livelihoods. It is very likely that further dispossessions will follow, threatening the right to food of 1741 farmer-households who live on the contested 2074 hectares.

FIAN Mandate

As a state party to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Philippines is duty bound under international law to respect and protect the farmers’ right to food. The claims of the former landlords to reclassify the land in question were declared void by legal institutions of the Philippines. The ongoing procedures of dispossessing farmer- beneficiaries in Sariaya is a grave violation of their right to feed themselves and their families.

Call to Action

An international action is urgently needed to prevent violations of the right to food implied by illegal evictions of farmers from their land. Please write to the Secretary of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Nassar C. Pangandaman, requesting him to stop procedures of dispossessing land from farmers in Sariaya.

Original at: http://www.fian.org/cases/letter-campaigns/1741-farmer-households-threatened-by-illegitimate-dispossession-in-sariaya-philippines/fcampaign_view
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