Join the International Solidarity Mission to BTL Communities in Maramag, Bukidnon!

 

The International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP), Initiatives for Peace in Mindanao (InPeace), KARAPATAN Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights, and the Ecumenical Voice for Human rights and Peace (EcuVoice) are organizing the International Conference for People’s Rights in the Philippines (ICPRP) from July 23 to 24, 2016 in Davao City, Mindanao, Philippines.

As part of the event, an International Solidairity Mission (ISM) in areas in Mindanao, Cordillera, Eastern Visayas, Southern Tagalog, and Panay Region will be held on July 16-19, 2016.

For participants joining the ISM in Bukidnon, here’s a quick look of what to expect:

ISM FOCUS AREA: Buffalo-Tamaraw-Limus (BTL) communities in Maramag, Bukidnon

(via Laguindingan Airport, Cagayan de Oro City)

The BTL is composed of roughly 800 farming families that have been asserting their occupation of some 400 hectares in Musuan, Maramag, Bukidnon. The area had previously been part of the land granted by then-president Carlos Garcia to the Central Mindanao University (CMU). This was later on subjected to the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program and was distributed among farmers who had developed the land under a failed rice program of the university. CMU challenged this decision and until now has kept on trying to install university guards in the area to stop the residents from farming. CMU insisted the land would be used for research and educational purposes. However, the university has leased a large part of its areas to agricultural plantations such as Davao Agricultural Ventures, and the Bukidnon Resources Company, Inc.

In their struggle, a number of their leaders have been killed over the years. However, the organizations stood firm and continued to launch several actions including a camp-out in front of the university’s main gate which lasted for almost a month in June 2011. They also set up a system of collective tilling that allowed them to work on the land amidst the attacks of the university guards.

Bukidnon is host to several plantations including the multi-national Del Monte and Dole companies. While land reform program is being subverted nationally, the province has become a locus of agrarian unrests, the small farmers trying wresting the land from the control of these companies and the few big landowners still wielding influence.

For more info about the history of BTL communities’ assertion over the lands, kindly click this link.

The ISM in BTL will be themed, ‘PAKIGBISOG: Celebrating Peasant Struggles & Victories vs. Plantations and Land Grabbing!’. Aside from sharing of stories of BTL peasant leaders on how they asserted their rights over the 400-hectare land despite judicial and physical attacks and the integration activities with the farming communities in their daily production efforts, a gathering of community members from other plantation-and-land-grabbing-affected areas of Bukidnon will also be held where they will discuss their narratives of resistance against corporate plantations and land grabs.

The local hosts of the ISM are the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines-Northern Midnanao Sub-Region (RMP-NMR), KARAPATAN Northern Mindanao, Panalipdan Youth-Northern Mindanao and the Network Resisting Expansion of Agricultural Plantations in Mindanao (REAP Mindanao Network). These efforts are coordinated with KASAMA-Bukidnon and AMIHAN-Northern Mindanao.

Upon confirming your participation to the ICPRP and after choosing BTL as your ISM area, we will send you the logistical notes and other advisories. For more information, please contact:

Ailene Villarosa

Head, ISM Local Host Committee

T/F: +63 (63) 223 5179

E: advocacies@rmp-nmr.org

Not yet registered your participation to the ICPRP?

Here’s the relevant documents for your info: