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International petition to save farmers and indigenous peoples of Southern Philippines from oil palm expansion launched

Press Release by Pesticide Action Network Asia and the Pacific

18 June 2012

Pesticide Action Network Asia and the Pacific today launched an international petition aimed at immediately stopping the landgrabbing activities of A Brown, a Philippine oil palm plantation company, which since 2010 has displaced an indigenous farming community in Opol, Misamis Oriental in Southern Philippines.

A report entitled "The Real Trespassers: Landgrabbing in the Name of Palm Oil in Southern Philippines" that chronicles the findings of the International Fact-Finding Mission (IFFM) in Opol has been released by PAN AP. The IFFM confirms that A Brown is illegally operating in the 520-hectare land situated between the villages of Bagocboc and Tingalan, and has committed various human rights violations against members of the Higaonon tribe, an indigenous group that pre-dates Spanish colonisation. These human rights violations include strafing, burning houses, harassment, and desecration of sacred sites.

PAN AP hopes that the report will make people around the world realise the growing landgrabbing phenomenon due to cash crops such as palm oil, and how the palm oil industry continues to endanger the existence of indigenous peoples, destroy health and the environment, and threaten food security. PAN AP enjoins concerned individuals and organisations to help in exerting pressure on A Brown and the Philippine government to pull out the plantation, reinstate farmers to their ancestral lands, and give redress to the victims.

PAN AP, in cooperation with Asian Peasant Coalition, Asia-Pacific Forum in Women, Law and Development, Sawit Watch, Aliansi Gerakan Reforma Agraria and various partners in the Philippines such as the Peasant Movement of the Philippines, Rural Missionaries of the Philippines, Sentro Kitanglad and the Kalumbay Regional Lumad Organization conducted the IFFM from May 6 to 10, 2012.

Please help the farmers and Higaonons in reclaiming their land by signing on to the online petition found here.

The report can be downloaded here.

Like us on: www.facebook.com/ReclaimOpol

For more information, contact:

Virgilio Tamayao Jr.
Programme Assistant
Food Sovereignty and Ecological Agriculture
E-mail (direct): jingo.tamayao@panap.net

Pesticide Action Network Asia and the Pacific
P.O. Box 1170, 10850 Penang
Tel: +604-6570271 or +604-6560381 | Fax: +604-6583960
E-mail: panap@panap.net
Website: www.panap.net
Like us on: http://www.facebook.com/panasiapacific

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