KILUSANG MAGBUBUKID NG
PAMALAKAYA (Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas)
June 26, 2009
Joint Press Release
For Reference: Gerry Albert Corpuz, Information Officer
Contact No: 09286581787
Bahrain business execs here to scout for RP lands---groups revealed
The left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang
Mamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) and staunch ally Kilusang Magbubukid
ng Pilipinas (KMP) on Friday revealed that Bahrain’s business delegation
will be in Manila to scout for lands available for production of rice,
fruit and vegetable for the consumption of the growing population of
Persian Gulf state.
KMP secretary general Danilo Ramos said the business delegation left
Bahrain yesterday and will embark on a week long trip to the Philippines
and Thailand to look for available lands for rice, fruit and vegetable
According to Ramos, despite the advise of United Nation’s Food Security
expert Olivier de Schutter to call for a code of conduct to regulate the
purchase of farmland across Africa, Asia and Latin America by Gulf states
and private business, the Bahrain business delegation pursued the trip to
acquire if not lease lands abroad.
The KMP leader said Bahrain businessmen will stay in Manila until June 28;
however Malacañang still refuse to reveal the details of the trip and the
detailed agenda accompanying the week long business trip in the country.
“Malacañang continues to treat its business talk with Bahraini investors
as top secret confined to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and to the
national security syndicate, despite mounting calls from all affected
sectors for the administration to disclose the agenda and come aboveboard
with this highly secretive agreement,” Ramos said.
Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said the initial agreement
between the Philippines and Bahrain was signed in May 2008 after Bahrain
trade minister Hassan Fakhro visited Manila to secure vast plots of land
to grow Basmati rice for Bahrain’s consumption.
According to Hicap, details of the agreement was finally clinched on June
last year, and it was signed by the minister of agriculture of Bahrain and
agriculture secretary Arthur Yap for the Philippines, but the two
agriculture officials agreed not to release the details of the agreement.
However, according to Hicap, Fakhro was quoted as saying that several
Bahrain companies will come in the Philippines to invest in rice
production and livestock processing.
“While 70 percent of the peasant and fisherfolk population is still
landless, Ms Arroyo entered into a secret, unlawful and immoral deal with
Bahrain that will offer the country’s agricultural lands at bargain prices
to foreign investors. Now, we have the business delegation from Bahrain
coming in to formally scout for the country’s agricultural lands. This is
treason to the highest order,” the Pamalakaya leader said.
KMP and Pamalakaya said, aside from the Philippines, the Manama-based
General Trading and Food Processing Company, one of Bahrain’s largest
public trading corporation is also interested in securing lands in
Australia, India and Sudan to develop supplies of Bahraini market, which
is composed of not less than 750,000 people.
“Secretary Yap and his lady boss in Malacañang have a lot of explaining to
do over this highly secret agricultural deal with Bahrain. No official
statements from the government side have been issued to the public and the
entire Filipino people are kept in total dark about this escapade of
President Arroyo and her agriculture secretary,” both groups added.
Pamalakaya noted that in 2007, the Bahraini food giant set up a $ 2.7
million joint venture food processing venture in Qatar with the Qatar
Company for Meat and Livestock Trading, which is expanding its overseas
The group said aside from the Philippines, the Bahraini government has
also secured an agreement with the Thai government for the production of
Jasmine rice for direct export to Bahrain. Hicap said a Memorandum of
Understanding (MoU) was signed by Bahrain and Thailand in May 2008,
simultaneously with the visit of Fakhro in the Manila.
“Is this country for sale? Does President Arroyo maintain and execute a
policy of selling the country’s agricultural lands to those who want to
come to invest for agri-business undertakings? Is there such a policy?
This seems to be the trend now with foreign groups coming in either to
secure lease arrangements or buy lands in the country for production of
agricultural products for super profits,” said Pamalakaya.
Pamalakaya noted that a Japanese holding company based in United Kingdom
and its’ local subsidiary have been allowed by the national government to
reforest 400,000 hectares in Northern Luzon with coconut trees for
production of biodiesel products. The agreement between the United Kingdom
based firm- the Pacific Bio-Fields Holding Plc. and its local counterpart
the Northern Luzon based—Bio-Energy NL to utilize some 400,000 hectares of
forest areas for coconut plantation was sanctioned by Malacañang, the
Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Philippine
Coconut Authority (PCA) for 25 years and renewable for another 25 years.
Pamalakaya lamented that the incident involving the free use of 400,000
hectares of lands for the production of bio-diesel for the use of Japanese
users is a clear proof that the Japan-Philippines Economic and Partnership
Agreement (Jpepa) is really anti-Filipino and merely intended to address
the need of Japanese transnational corporations.
“In exchange for 400 nursing and caregiving jobs in Japan, President
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will allow the corporate exploitation of 400,000
hectares of Philippine agricultural lands to foreign groups identified
with and serving at the pleasure of Japanese car makers. No Filipino can
stomach this kind of across-the-nation betrayal of national interest,” it
In an announcement in Tokyo which coincided with the state visit of
President Arroyo, the Pacific Bio-Fields Holding Plc. said the project
would make alternative auto fuel which it plans to sell to Japanese users
in five years. Its counterpart the Bio-Energy NL headed by company
president Salacnib Baterina denied that the government will allow the use
of 400,00 hectares for the production of bio-diesel for free.
Earlier, Pamalakaya and KMP questioned the intervention made by the
European Union (EU) pressuring the Manila government from pursuing Charter
Change to lift ban on foreign ownership of lands in the country.
“The European Union is committing a national political foul play in
lobbying for the passage of Chacha that would lift the constitutional ban
on foreign ownership of land. This country is not for sale; its lands are
reserved for public ownership and for the common good of every hardworking
Filipino. Please don’t touch our lands and quit from conspiring with the
government over the national auction of Philippine lands to European
business giants,” they said.
“This diabolical economic agenda of the European Union will further
exacerbate, complicate and worsen the problem of landlessness and agrarian
injustice in the country. Are they trying to colonize this country through
economic means under this era of globalization-led modern day slavery?”
the groups added.
Former foreign affairs undersecretary Merlin Magallona warned lawmakers
calling for the removal of nationalist economic provisions in the 1987
Constitution could be playing into the hands of the European Union.
Magallona, also former dean of the University of the Philippines’ College
of Law said that the 27-member of the European Union had formally
requested the Macapagal-Arroyo government under the World Trade
Organization (WTO) to remove the ban on foreign land ownership.
The European Union also requested the government to allow foreign
nationals, particularly lawyers to be allowed to practice in the
Philippines, according to Magallona who was a guest speaker at a forum on
Charter Change in UP College of Law on Wednesday.
Pamalakaya and KMP also accused the Macapagal-Arroyo government of keeping
the details of the EU-RP Partnership and Cooperation Pact, which was done
as early as 2002, like what the government did to the RP-Bahrain
Kilusang Magbubukid ng
(Peasant Movement of the Philippines)
161-B Chico St., Proj. 2, Quezon City
Telefax 928-41-84 Email ad firstname.lastname@example.org
June 24, 2009
Roy Morilla, KMP Public Information Officer (0905-421-7305)
Groups “declare” the Philippine islands, “Chacha-Free Zone,” lambast
Arroyo’s selling of a tenth of country’s lands to foreign countries
About 20 members of militant peasant groups such as the Kilusang
Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP, Peasant Movement of the Philippines),
Pamalakaya-Pilipinas (fisherfolk), Amihan (peasant women), UMA
(agri-workers), NNARA-Youth (peasant advocates) and Anakpawis Partylist
“declared” the replica of the Philippine islands at Rizal Park, Manila as
a “Chacha-Free Zone.” They significantly protested againts the provision
of the Charter Change, allowing 100% foreign ownership of land.
“We are declaring the 7,107 islands of the country Cha-cha-Free Zone,”
said Danilo Ramos, KMP Secretary-General. He added, “This is to signify
our call against Chacha and the 100% foreign ownership of land. This is
against genuine land reform and against the fundamental interest of the
Filipino people to utilize our country’s land and should not to be sold to
Selling 10% of the country’s lands, 20% of agricultural lands
The group said that this is the implementation of President Arroyo’s plan
since she has been stating that 3 million hectares of lands would be
allocated to foreign countries, such 1 million hectares for Eduardo
“Danding” Cojuangco’s partnership with the Malaysian firm Kuok Group, 1
million hectares for China through the RP-China Agreement on Agriculture,
and about 0.4 million hectares for United Kingdom-based Japanese firm
Bio-Energy NL. Also, Arroyo’s trip to South Korea reports of deal on
“With the 3 million hectares alone, Arroyo is actually selling 10% (of the
30 million hectare) of the Philippine territory and 20% (of the about 14.1
million hectare) of our agricultural lands to foreign countries,”
“Selling the country is definitely treason, betrayal of the Filipino
people and long history of fighting against foreign rulers controlling our
lands, Arroyo should be condemned by Filipino citizenry for pushing the
100% foreign ownership of land,” added Ramos.
“Arroyo is turning our country into a big area for lease agreements that
usually take 25 years and renewable for another 25 years, which is
essentially selling out our lands as peasants cultivating the lands would
be transformed into poor farmworkers stripped off of their rights to land,
and foreign corporations would enjoy total control,” shared Ramos.
The Arroyo government is step-by-step selling our country as she started
with RP-China Treaty, Japanese-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement
(JPEPA), and other bilateral agreements that are onerous and unfavorable
to the country.
Also, the government is eager
to cash in the $1,000-per-hectare venture with Cojuangco and Kuok Group,
pushing for the utilization of 1 million hectares, making the project
value at $1 billion for 25 years.
In addition, Arroyo’s latest trip to Korea shows her hunger for the $649
million investment on biofuel and $49 million coconut-based sweeteners to
be cultivated on ‘idle’ lands. The Arroyo government depicts lands as idle
which are in reality lands kept from farmers cultivating them.
Moreover, KMP said that it criticized Arroyo’s subservience to the
European Union (EU) who was reported to request the Philippine government
to remove the ban of foreign ownership to land and to fully implement the
provisions of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
“Foreign countries formation such as the EU would certainly salivate with
the country’s vast resources, it is up to Filipinos to fight against this
measure and we could start by opposing Chacha and removing Arroyo from
power as she is the primary broker of this transaction,” said Ramos.
Foreign ownership through CARPER
“This is also a strong basis of why Arroyo pushed for the passage of the
Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with ‘Reforms’ (CARPER).
As it would easily pave the way the entry of foreign agro-corporations
through its market-oriented land reform component and agrarian reform
communities (ARCs). Moreover, CARP has a bloody record of displacing
farmers of their lands and favoring landlords and foreign
agro-corporations, thus, there is no contradiction between CARP and
foreign ownership of land,” Ramos said.
“Though there is CARP for 20 years, foreign agro-corporations such as Del
Monte, Dole and their subsidiaries have proliferated primarily in
Mindanao. With 100% foreign ownership, we would expect more of this
classic exploitative examples turning farmers into plain agricultural
workers with low wages, could easily be displaced and with no right to
their lands,” added Ramos.
Threat to sovereignty
“Also, 100% foreign ownership of land is not simply an issue of the
peasants, and definitely not a business decision, this is creeping direct
colonialism, threatens our sovereignty, as foreign countries would have
material control of our lands and natural resources, disregarding the
rights of Filipinos to their country,” added Ramos.
“We should take note that the minimum of 3 million hectares is already 10%
of our country, that is why all of us should oppose this measure of the
Arroyo government, various sectors, patriotic groups and forces,
government officials, the church, professional, the workers, the youth,
should totally protest this provision as this is a threat to the future of
the next generations to come,” the peasant leader called.#
June 27, 2009
ROY MORILLA, KMP Public Information Officer (63-905-421-7305)
Arroyo's selling of country's lands to fuel heightened agrarian
dispute, group said
The militant peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP, Peasant
Movement of the Philippines) warned that President Arroyo's move on
selling lands to foreign countries would cause more agrarian dispute in
the country. The Arroyo government has earlier pronounced that it is
offering 3 million hectares to foreign agro-corporations which is
demonstrated now by the president's non-stop visits to foreign countries
such as Japan, South Korea, Brazil, U.S., Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Italy,
U.A.E, Syria, Russia and more.
The said lands are reported to be surveyed by the Department of
Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), National Commission on
Indigenous People's (NCIP), National Power Corporation (NAPOCOR) and the
Armed Forces of the Philippines. The Arroyo government has allocated 1
million hectares to San Miguel Kuok Food Security, Inc. (SMKFS), Eduardo
"Danding" Cojuangco's partnership with Malaysian firm Kuok group based in
Hongkong, and another 1 million hectares to Fuhua Agricultural Science and
Technology Development Co., Ltd. (Fuhua Co., a hybrid rice corporation)
from China and 400,000 hectares or 0.4 million hectares to Agriculture
Department of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region (ADGZAR). On Arroyo's
recent trip to Korea, she has offered 0.4 million hectares of land to
Bio-Energy NL which is based in United Kingdom. The said lands already
composed 1/10 (of the 30 million hectares) of our country and 20% (of the
about 14.1 million hectares) of the total agricultural lands.
Moreover, the Arroyo has become a "broker" when it is concretely pushing
with the lifting of the ban to 100% foreign ownership and Charter Change,
coinciding with the demands of the European Union after it has granted €61
million(euros) or $90.22 million last year. Of this aid, €36 million would
go to social services like healthcare, €12 million to Mindanao peace
effort and €13 million to trade development.
"As a trickster as she is, Arroyo is pushing through with her auction of
the country's lands to foreign countries and agro-corporations even
without Chacha (charter change) or the lifting of ban to 100% foreign
ownership of land," said Antonio Flores, KMP Spokesperson and Co-convenor
of Tanggol Magsasaka.
"After pushing with the passage of CARPER (Comprehensive Agrarian Reform
Program Extension with `Reforms') to deceive Filipino farmers, she is now
focused in how to rake huge wealth from selling our country's lands,"
"In addition, she has formed the Investment Defense Force of the Armed
Forces of the Philippines last year to `protect' the would-be foreign
investments in agriculture, but in reality, this would be used to attack
and displace farmers who are already cultivating their targetted lands.
This would mean worsening of political repression to the peasants, more
extra-judicial killings, enforced disappearances and `arrest and
detention,'" the peasant leader shared.
"Arroyo and her lackey agriculture secretary Arthur Yap are total liars
when they claim that these lands (3 million hectares) are idle, where in
fact they are being cultivated by Filipino peasants. We need not go far,
where in Sitio Paragawan, Montalban, Rizal, Rep. Iggy Arroyo is pushing
with the jathropa project `blessed' by First Gentleman Mike Arroyo, though
there are farmers cultivating upland rice and fruit trees, who are now
being harassed by the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Armed Forces of
the Philippines (AFP)," Flores said.
Also, the group said the entry of foreign agro-corporations would
definitely transform peasants into helpless farmworkers such as the case
of Dole and Del Monte in Mindanao, where those farmers' cooperatives who
nominally own the lands could not manifest their ownership as the lands
are under a leaseback agreement with the giant fruit companies. They are
being subjected to low wages and unhealthy working conditions such as
being exposed to deadly agro-chemicals used at plantations. Worse is being
experience by those farmworkers at Dole and Del Monte's subsidiary as they
depress wages to cope up with the underpricing of agricultural product
enforced by the said companies.
"The agricultural workers in Mindanao went on strike in 1996 as they only
receive P96 for a day's work, though they could produce more of the 3,000
boxes of banana quota per day. They were victorious in claiming that they
own the said lands but unable to sell them, but they were crippled when
the fruit giants prohibited them in using infrastructures such as roads.
Naturally, the military and police terrorized them displacing their union
leaders," Flores recalled.
"We are definitely sure that the miserable experience of agricultural
workers in Mindanao would be replicated and worse if foreign
agro-corporations would be allowed to fully own the lands in the country,"
Also, the group warned that if we allow foreign countries to own 1/10 of
the country's lands, it would be the start of totally selling our country
"Nothing would be left for our future generations to enjoy and utilize.
Arroyo would be the one to raise hell in the Philippines as we would be
transformed into mere slaves in our own country," said Flores.