Luisita farmers can help solve H food woes– UN

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President Benigno Aquino 3rd can help make farmer-beneficiaries in his family-owned Hacienda Luisita become productive so they can help solve the country’s food security problems, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Hilal Elver, said on Friday.

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Although Hacienda Luisita has been distributed to its beneficiaries, Elver noted that the government has not given them the needed resources such as seeds, water, credit and technological training to cultivate their land.

“How can they be self-sufficient in their land if they can’t [cultivate it]? Forget about the problems of fighting with the landlords. Even if they are in their land peacefully, they need to have [the skills],” she told a news conference in Makati City (Metro Manila).

Elver said some of the farmers from Hacienda Luisita that she interviewed were “not happy” because of lack of support from the government.

“I’m sure some of them are happy, but only the unhappy people came to us so I don’t know exactly what is the percentage of unhappy farmers. It seems to be general and common because I got lots of information on that,” she added.

Land reform is a “serious issue” in the Philippines, and there are many “powerful” landowners who fight against the law, Elver said.

Hacienda Luisita is a 6,453-hectare agricultural land in Tarlac City, capital of Tarlac province, north of Manila, that has been with the family of President Aquino for generations.

His mother, the late Corazon Aquino, faced similar challenges on implementing the Agrarian Reform Law on her own land when she was President from 1986 to 1992.

Under incumbent President Aquino’s leadership, about 5,000 hectares of Hacienda Luisita, which falls under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program, were distributed to the farmers who were given a shares-or-land option.

These farmers-turned-landowners, however, were mostly “left on their own” without the proper resources and skills training to toil their land.

Elver believes that land reform should be a major focus of the government’s aim to address food security problems in the country.

In her preliminary observations and recommendations in the aftermath of her eight-day visit to Manila, Tacloban City and Luzon—the country’s biggest group of islands—the UN Special Rapporteur pushed for the passage of the Agrarian Reform Extension Law, as well as the Right to Adequate Food Bill and the National Land Use and Management Act.

The Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Extension with Reforms (Carper) “seeks the redistribution of land exceeding five hectares to landless farmers and farm workers who cultivate them.”

Elver said the objective of the legislation is “laudable,” but the “implementation of the law is hindered by various roadblocks.”

Carper has been pending for 25 years with huge tracts of land remaining in the “possession of the few” while farmers are either being harassed or criminalized.

In her report, the UN official noted that landowners often ignore notice of coverage for the redistribution of their land.

This means that farmers and farm workers who should be receiving their own land titles are “losing their means and source of subsistence.”

“This is a key element to ensuring food security and preventing social unrest in the Philippines and I would encourage the government to do all it can to ensure that this legislation is passed as soon as possible,” Elver said.

“Technical and financial support are also essential in addition to land entitlement,” she added.

According to the 2014 Human Development Index, the Philippines ranks 29th in terms of hunger incidence with an estimated 3.8 million households having suffered from involuntary hunger at least once during the last quarter of 2014.

This happened despite the fact that the Philippines is now a lower middle income country, ranking as the 39th largest economy       in the world, the World Bank said in 2013.

Just recently, Bloomberg said the country will be the second-fastest growing economy this year, next  to China.

Elver believes that what the country needs is “political will” to ensure the right to adequate food for all.

“I am convinced that the Philippines could reverse the current situation and make impressive strides in attaining food and nutrition security for everyone in the future,” she said in the report.

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6 Comments

  1. Here is your so-called “expert”! (Mahiya naman kayo!)

    “UN Watch condemned the “bizarre, nepotistic, and politically-driven” decision, noting that Elver’s application form included self-disqualifying answers and over 20 spelling mistakes.”

    “Decisions like this threaten to turn the UN into a joke,” said UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer, adding that Elver co-directs a research institute on climate change and democracy with her husband Falk, who accused Israel of ethnic cleansing in March.

    The US administration similarly expressed its concern on Thursday, citing Elver’s “lack of relevant experience” and questioning “her readiness for this assignment.”

    Elver holds “biased and inflammatory views” against America and Israel, said the US, views that “run counter to the dispassionate professionalism central to the work of a Special Rapporteur.”

    Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird similarly criticized the appointment, writing to UNHRC president Baudelaire Ndong Ella that Elver’s “public record clearly demonstrates abysmal judgment, as well as associations with fringe groups.”

    “Hilal Elver is not only Richard Falk’s wife, employee and main collaborator, but she echoes his crude and simplistic post-colonial narrative, which demonizes America, the West, and Israel, while praising dictators like (Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip) Erdogan and the books of 9/11 conspiracy theorists,” said Neuer.

    It is worth noting that Falk’s final report before leaving his post accused Israel of “apartheid.”

    http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/180439#.VPHXlY55Jgg

  2. The United Nations Representative talks without thinking. She talks without knowing the entire story.

    She talks about food security being guaranteed by agrarian reform. What a pea brain! 42 years(from the time of PD27) of this bullshit and half of our food is already being imported and being the world’s no. 1 rice importer. An aging farming sector still in the carabao age.

    Wake up Ms. Elverl! Stop being a spokesperson for the destructive Leftists!

  3. Why don’t the farmers organize a cooperative? Will the UN please step forward and ask the Philippine government to request from the Israel government assistance in setting up and operating a large cooperative among Hacienda Luisita’s farmers? Israel has very successful farm cooperatives. Surely a 5,000 hectare farm cooperative with technical support from experts can obtain financing and provide jobs to farmers who are also owners of the land.

  4. tonn saritalim on

    Calling for another people power to oust the incumbent president is not a solution. Our country
    is a developing democracy put in place mainly by the
    rule of law with a constitution. Law and order must be
    maintained for progress to continue. To use mass protest and demonstration to express anger and
    frustration is a legal right but must be done in a legal way with the necessary permit. But to let mob rule prevail again like what happened in edsa 2 is unacceptable which I’m sure the law enforcement agencies will not agree to.
    There is a sign as to when and if another people power revolution should be staged once more. And that is the opinion and observation of the international community about what’s happening in our country.

  5. Claro Apolinar on

    What are “H food woes?”

    Political will? Make Aquino step down and let the National Transformation Council be his Cabinet with him signing all the NTC’s issuances and orders.

    That way there will be no constitutional crisis and there will be fantastic political wil to make our country what it should be ethically, developmentally, economically. industrially and educationally. Massive poverty will at last be addressed.

    And power will be in the hands of the people.

  6. The United Nation is knocking at the wrong door and barking up the wrong tree. This family couldn’t care less. They think everything can be bought and since they have so much money that I won’t be surprised if they have more money than Putin as reported. The money that was allegedly stolen by the Marcose’s in their 20 years+ regime is nothing compared to the money that these thieves have stashed away.