Philippines: Right to adequate food of 500 farmers threatened

Photo: Department of Agrarian Reform

Beginning of Action 17 April 2014 ; End of Action 17 June 2014

Since 2004, the tenant-farmers in     Hacienda Matias have been demanding the distribution of the 1,716 hectare landholding under the national agrarian reform program. Agrarian reform, however, is still not implemented on Hacienda Matias and the tenant-farmers and their families continue suffering food insecurity and harassment. This is due to the resistance of the landowner, but also to delays in the Office of the President, and the slow implementation of a land survey on the ground by the Department of Agrarian Reform.

This case needs your     URGENT ACTION, by requesting to the respective authorities in the Philippines to fast-track the land redistribution process in order to guarantee the right to food of the tenant-farmers and their families and to put an end to the harassment of the tenants


Please write to the President of the Republic of the Philippines, with a copy to the Office of the President of the Philippines, the Department of Agrarian Reform, and the Provincial Agrarian Reform Office-Quezon II, requesting them to fast-track the land redistribution process in order to guarantee the right to food of the tenant-farmers and their families and to put an end to the harassment of the tenants.

Please inform FIAN if you receive a response to your letters.

Scroll down to sign up this     Urgent Action and to read more about the Hacienda Matias

Further Information

Hacienda Matias. Photo: Marina Wetzlmaier, 2011.


Hacienda Matias is a coconut plantation located in the municipality of San Francisco in Bondoc Peninsula, Quezon Province. There are around 500 tenant-farmers and their families living on the hacienda which encompasses 1,716 hectares. In 2004, the tenant-farmers petitioned for the coverage of the land under the     Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP). The CARP was enacted in 1988.

Soon after, the landowner filed a Petition for Exclusion of the said landholdings from the CARP. The petition was, however, denied by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) twice. Subsequently the landowner elevated the case and applied for a petition before the Office of the President (OP). The OP denied the petition, thus reaffirmed the previous decisions of the DAR. However, immediately after, the landowner filed a Motion for Reconsideration before the OP, which is currently pending. Additionally, the issuance of the DAR Administration Order 7 (A.O. 7 Series 2011), which restrains the DAR from taking possession of the land unless the protest or exemption application, has become final and executory. In the light of these developments the process of the land distribution has come to a stalemate in Hacienda Matias.

Several attempts of the DAR in the past to initiate the land distribution to the tenant-farmers of     Hacienda Matias were met with strong opposition by the landowner. In December 2010, the DAR started the land surveying process, whereby five out of seven lots of Hacienda Matias have been surveyed, and in addition, the payment for three lots was made by the Land Bank of the Philippines. The land survey for the remaining lots, nevertheless, has yet to be completed. The DAR's last attempt to enter the hacienda in August 2013 was not successful, despite the presence of the police and the military personnel. The failure of the DAR to survey the outstanding parts puts in question the rule of law. The tenant-farmers and their families continue to live in fear due to systematic harassment, intimidation and criminalisation (i.e. physical harassments and fabricated charges against the tenant-workers). They are denied their right to have peaceful access to land to feed themselves.

In addition, due to the prevailing share tenancy agreement (in which tenant-farmers receive a 30 percent share of the net income), many of the farmers have applied for a leasehold system with the DAR, which, if implemented, would allow the tenant-farmers to receive a 75 percent share of the net income. However, the implementation is being delayed due to the landowner's resistance to the new sharing agreement. Presently, the income that tenant-farmers and their families receive via the old share tenancy agreement is so minimal that they are unable to feed themselves adequately.

Why FIAN calls for your intervention:

By delaying  the implementation of the CARP due to negligence of the DAR in the past, and by the issuance of the A.O. No. 7 Series 2011 Philippines fail to  fulfil the right to adequate food of the tenant-farmers on Hacienda Matias. Furthermore, the government of the Philippines has failed to protect the tenant-farmers and their families from harassment, criminalisation and violence. The failure to meet these obligations amounts to violations of their human rights.