International Solidarity Messages to the REAP Mindanao Network

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Message to the National Conference on Plantations in Mindanao
October 28, 2015

Dear Friends,

On this critical gathering, the National Conference on Plantations in Mindanao, on October 28, 2015, we convey our warm greetings from the WCC- Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance! We, being part of a global network of over 80 faith-based organisations, of which the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines is a dynamic participating organisation, are in solidarity with you! Our words are on behalf of faith communities, from around the world, committed to promoting adequate nutrition through a rights-based approach and enhancing local food systems.

We are with you in your struggle for greater recognition of the rights and livelihoods of local communities. Peasants, small holders, and indigenous communities are the guardians of the earth, her rich biodiversity, ensuring food sovereignty and promoting ecological harmony.

On the contrary, the large scale commercialisation of land and the grabbing of the vast expanses of land and water resources for commercial monoculture such as Palm Oil plantations, hastens environmental degradation, spreads the loss of habitats, contributes to climate change and brings in food insecurity. These profit oriented expansions dispossess peasants and indigenous communities of their ancestral lands, cultures, history and livelihoods, often violating their fundamental human rights.

We hope and pray that your historic gathering will succeed in establishing a dynamic and sustainable network that will catalyse and synergise the struggles against the expansion of agricultural plantations in Mindanao. The dialogues you initiate, the informed policy debates and advocacy that you can sustain, will go a long way to bringing about the positive transformation of society.

May God accompany you on your courageous and spirit filled pilgrimage for justice and peace! May your actions beckon a new dawn of hope and awakening for Philippines and for the world!

Dr Manoj Kurian MD
Coordinator , WCC- Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance

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No Land, No Life: A united people shall always prevail!

Solidarity message by Ms. Sarojeni Rengam, PANAP Executive Director, for the launching of the REAP Mindanao Network during the National Conference on Mindanao Plantations on 28 October 2015 at the University of the Philippines (UP), Diliman, Quezon City.

PAN Asia Pacific (PANAP) warmly applauds the organizers of the National Conference on Mindanao Plantations and the groups behind the formation of the Resisting Expansion of Agricultural Plantations in Mindanao Network or the REAP Mindanao Network. We strongly support your call and campaign to stop land grabbing and to defend human rights in Mindanao.

For over 20 years, PANAP has been closely working with peasants, agricultural workers, indigenous peoples, fisher folk and other small food producers, and rural women’s movements throughout the Asia-Pacific region, including those in the Philippines and Mindanao. It has always been our advocacy to contribute in our own little way in strengthening people’s movements in their assertion of rights to land and livelihood.

Thus, we are elated with the formation of REAP Mindanao Network as a national action network in the Philippines that will further advance the people’s campaign and struggles against the expansion of plantations in Mindanao. Aside from land grabbing, plantations also lead to the widespread and chronic poisoning of rural communities and their environment due to the intensifying use of harmful pesticides and other agrochemicals.

At a time when political repression and human rights abuses against rural communities and activists opposing land and resource grabbing by big corporations and landlords, REAP Mindanao Network is a timely initiative of people’s organizations, affected communities and their supporters. We need to strengthen, consolidate and expand our ranks to defend our human rights, including our rights to land and resources, and our rights to a healthy environment, that massive corporate plantations have been violating with impunity.

We salute the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP) in Northern Mindanao, the RMP National Office, the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), Center for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR), Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA), and other groups behind the REAP Mindanao Network.

PANAP will be with you in defending the people’s collective rights to land and life. In addition, the No Land, No Life! campaign will continue to support the peasants, women and landless people in their struggles for land and resources.

The work and challenges that lie ahead are tremendous and the forces that we face are indeed powerful.

But a united people shall always prevail!

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October 28, 2015

Dear Comrades in REAP,

On behalf of AMRC, we would like to express our strong support and solidarity with the workers and communities in Mindanao in their struggle for dignity, justice, and
democracy. The sacred and precious land of Mindanao belongs to its people who, for thousands of years, have coexisted with nature living a life of simplicity yet of dignity. The island group has provided people enough for their needs and well being. However, in the past few decades, in the name of development, the nexus of state and TNCs, has dispossessed people from their lands, resources and rights, captivating whole island and enslaving people in TNC-led plantations and mines. The original masters of land have become slaves in their own lands, made to work till death and earning pittance. The loot is taken out by the TNCs in the form of profits whereas local communities get nothing as they witness their wealth – mineral resources, forests and water – being plundered beyond repair and bringing them to extreme poverty.

AMRC fully supports the struggle of REAP and its call to respect the democratic rights of the local community to decide for their own future and have full say on how their land, water, and other resources will be used. We support their demand to end the land grabbing and respect the local livelihood practices and cultural sensitivities of the local people. We support the demand for the immediate end to exploitative practices (both for humans and environment) perpetrated by industrial farming and TNC-controlled mining. We support the struggle of the local people in restoring the life and dignity.

Last but not least, the Philippines is experiencing catastrophic environmental impacts and it makes sense to invest in sustainable practices that are embedded in restoration of grassroots democracy and let people who have cared for the environment for centuries to decide for their future.

Padayon!

In solidarity,
Asia Monitor Resource Centre

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