Monday, 20 May 2019
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SALIGAN supports the farmers of Calatagan, Batangas!

Just like in the recent case of the Sumilao farmers, the case of the Calatagan farmers involves a situation where farmers whose right over land awarded to them under the government’s Agrarian Reform Program is being threatened by greed and government inaction.

On various dates between 1989 and 1990, 818 Emancipation Patents were issued to 312 farmer-beneficiaries under Presidential Decree No. 27 covering about 507 hectares of agricultural land located in Barangays Baha and Talibayog, Calatagan Batangas. The property was among those formerly owned by Ceferino Ascue.  For the next 10 years, the agrarian reform beneficiaries peacefully tilled the land and, given a new lease to improve their lives, cultivated the land according to their own plans and dreams. Some remained rice and corn farmers, others preferred to grow vegetables and a variety of other crops. Within those years they were able to fully pay the land amortizations to the government.

Sadly, neither the farmers' ten years of peaceful possession nor their full payment of the land amortizations have kept the farmers from being threatened with losing what has become justly and rightfully theirs.

In 1995, Asturias Chemical Industries Incorporated (Asturias) acquired the property despite the fact that the tenanted areas were already awarded to farmer-beneficiaries.

This resulted in the same 507 hectares of land being covered by two titles, with Asturias’ title being later in date.

On July 29, 1997, Asturias entered into a Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) with the Philippine government. Asturias claimed to want to mine even if mining is not its business.

Presently, ten (10) years after the execution of its MPSA, Asturias has yet to comply with basic MPSA conditions such as the submission of reports such as the declaration of mining feasibility to the government. Under the law, Asturias’ failure to fulfill its undertakings are ground to annul the MPSA. And yet, despite this, Asturias is now threatening to remove the farmers from the land they till – the land awarded to them by law – asserting their “right” under the MPSA.

Meanwhile, the DAR is taking too long to resolve the case.

To prevent further injustice, the Calatagan farmers started to march from Calatagan, Batangas and are scheduled to arrive in Manila May 1, 2008.

SALIGAN fully supports the farmers' call to:

1.   Issue a status quo order, affirming that the subject land is agricultural;

2.   Cancel the MPSA of Asturias;

3.   Review the Land Use Plan of Calatagan;

4. Pass the bills long pending in Congress on the National Land Use Act and the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program with Reforms (CARPER): (HB 1257/SB 2047)

Let us join their voice in calling for justice!
Let us join their struggle for the land they rightfully call their own!

Please copy this message and pass it on!