REAP MINDANAO NETWORK RESISTS EXPANSION OF PLANTATIONS
The Network Resisting Expansion of Agricultural Plantations in Mindanao (REAP) Mindanao Network was launched recently at the UP, Diliman in a conference spearheaded by people’s organizations and advocacy groups as part of the protest caravan Manilakbayan ng Mindanao.
The Rural Missionaries of the Philippines’ (RMP) national office and Northern Mindanao chapter, Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA), Center for Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR), Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), with support from the All UP Workers Alliance, CONTEND-UP and the Hongkong-based group, Asia Monitor Resource Center (AMRC) led the launching
More or less 500,000 hectares of land in Mindanao are now covered with plantation crops primarily for the export market. This area is equivalent to 12 percent of Mindanao’s agricultural land. The groups noted that the government is planning to aggressively increase the scope of various agricultural plantations in Mindanao. The people fear that this drive will definitely destroy Mindanao’s food sources and the country’s last remaining frontiers. These areas are located in peasant communities and the ancestral domain of lumad and the Moro people.
REAP Spokesperson Ariel Casilao of Anakpawis Partylist, a labor leader from Southern Mindanao, said that plantation expansion can only be accomplished through the assistance of the military and its so-called investment defense forces which has been tagged as the number one nemesis of the lumad who are defending their lands against mining and plantations./MP