We reaffirm our assertion that the people’s rights to land and resources of the rural communities in the Mekong must be respected and protected, and that all forms of state repression on civil society and communities resisting land and resource grabbing must be stopped.
Additionally, the People’s Coalition on Food Sovereignty (PCFS) is concerned about attacks on farmers. “Organisations and communities continue to assert food sovereignty and their right to till the land against land grabs facilitated by international finance institutions and corporate giants and repressive elite-led states. Increasingly, there are people’s assertions against land grabs of China-based firms and controversial hydroelectric dam projects in the Mekong sub-region, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Philippines,” according to Theng Saveoun of PCFS – Asia.
Participating organizations highlighted the catalyzed efforts of the current administration to create and amend land-related laws that significantly impact the small farmers’ and indigenous peoples’ access to land. One highlight includes a discussion on the abrogation of the Vacant, Fallow, and Virgin (VFV) Land Management Law—a land registration scheme aimed to secure land rights for investors. With the recent lapse of the deadline, farmers—mostly ethnic minorities—are being forcibly removed from around 20 million hectares of land for corporate interests.
The National Solidarity Mission to the People’s Barricade against Oceanagold Mining in Nueva Vizcaya (NVNSM) was held from July 26 to 29 in Brgy. Didipio, Nueva Vizcaya, Philippines to investigate the environmental impacts and the human rights violations committed by multinational mining company OceanaGold against the anti-mining groups and indigenous communities barricading at the foot of its mining site.
We strongly condemn these attacks against the rural people in Negros and elsewhere in the world; attacks that not only violate their basic human rights but also greatly undermine genuine people’s democracy and food sovereignty. We join our members and partners in the Philippines in demanding an impartial, credible and swift investigation of the killings in Negros and make to account the perpetrators whoever they are.
According to Mallari, “Despite China’s experience with Syngenta, it has opted to take it over being one of the ‘Big Four’ agribusiness giants toward market monopolization through the exploitation of agricultural biotechnology. This was met with backlash from within China and other affected counties.”