FIAN Philippines follows a case-based human rights approach by documenting, monitoring and analyzing concrete violations of the right to food.
FIAN Philippines struggles against hunger, poverty and malnutrition by opposing oppressive acts of government and private entities. Whether the violator of the right to food is a government official or a private person, FIAN Philippines holds the Philippine government accountable as a signatory of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). The Philippine Government has the obligation to respect, protect, and fulfill the right to adequate food of Filipinos, especially the vulnerable groups. In promoting this right, FIAN Philippines believes that it is always the unity and determination of the citizenry that are decisive in pushing the government to fulfill the people’s right to adequate food.
FIAN Philippines documents and exposes violations of the Filipino’s right to adequate food wherever they may occur. We respond to requests from the victim’s organizations whose rights are threatened or have been violated. We mobilize support through Urgent Actions (UAs) and Special Interventions (SiSis).
An Urgent Action is a letter-protest campaign participated in by FIAN members from different countries to pressure the government to respect, protect and/or fulfill its right to food obligations. Letters are sent to the concerned government officials to stop or prevent right to food violations that have been documented by a FIAN section. A Special Intervention is a letter signed by the Secretary-General of FIAN International protesting the right to food violation and sent to the government or responsible authorities.
Violations are also followed-up on long-term case work.
READ about our current cases below.
One of the largest landholdings to be distributed under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) which aims to distribute all agricultural lands beyond five hectares to landless farmers, farmworker and tenants,is Hacienda Luisita. It is a 6,453 hectare formersugarcane estate in Tarlac province.
After a decades-long struggle for access to land, 5,990 farmer beneficiaries received their land titles and were officially installed in their land in May 2014. However, the majority of the farmer beneficiaries still do not have control over the land because of informal leasing contracts – normally of up to three years – which they have been forced due to economic hardship to enter into with the ariendador – politically and economically influential people – in exchange for small annual loans to sustain their living.
The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) has again failed to deliver necessary support services, such as provision of seeds and water pumps or farming implements, to the beneficiaries in order for them to be able to develop their land and to feed themselves and their families adequately.
For more than a decade, the Philippine Government failed to protect the farmer beneficiaries’ right to land and consequently to adequate food and nutrition in Hacienda Matias, a 1,716-hectare coconut plantation in the Bondoc Peninsula of Quezon province.Many of its farmer beneficiaries were prevented from harvesting copra due to aggressive resistance and harassments by the former landowner.
In 2015, the farmer beneficiaries of Hacienda Matias camped out twice for over one month in front of the Department of Agrarian Reform to push the government to assist them to finally access their awarded land. Responding to the pressure, in July 2015, the government ensured all needed measures and resumed the land installation process, provided necessary protection with the support of the police and military and continued the survey and distribution of the remaining lands in the hacienda.
It was the persistence of the farmer beneficiaries of Hacienda Matias together with several Non-Governmental Organizations, such as FIAN Philippines and RIGHTS, Inc., to push for their rights that led to the significant progress in the history of agrarian reform implementation. However, the initial engagement of the Philippine Government to complete agrarian reform in Hacienda Matias diminished and despite the “official land installation” of 69 farmer beneficiaries, the majority is still unable to access their land or to harvest peacefully. While the land survey for the remaining lots has been completed, over 200 farmer beneficiaries are yet to be awarded with land titles, unable to feed themselves and their families adequately.
As State Party to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) – in which the right to food is enshrined – it is the Philippine Government’s obligation to fulfill this fundamental right by implementing the CARP to ensure that the farmer beneficiaries receive the land that is rightfully theirs and by providing essential support services.