Topics: Philippines, Corazon Aquino, Agriculture Pages: 14 (4692 words) Published: March 10, 2013
Antonio Tujan Jr is the director of IBON International, which coordinates the NGO Cluster on Rights and Equity at Rio+20, and is one of three NGO representatives selected to speak at the Rio+20 "High Level Roundtables” where heads of state and Nobel laureates speak to civil society and the private sector. He is chair of two major international aid coalitions, Better Aid, and the Reality of Aid Network, among other organizations.

About IBON International
Our MissionCapacity development of peoples’ movements around the world for human rights and democracy.Strategic Objectives| 1| To provide capacity development interventions promoting alternative systems, social structures, economic programs and development paradigms to peoples’ movements and civil society organizations that work with them.| | | | 2| To develop centers of capacity development in two ways. In the global south, centers that are locally led and adapts intervention to context. In the north, centers that advance the issues of the marginalized, build solidarity for issues of the south and provide development education to the people of the north.| | | | 3| To build strategic working relationships among civil society, government and donor actors on the basis of principled partnership.| | | | IBON initiates and implements international programs, develops and hosts international networks, initiates and participates in international advocacy campaigns, and establishes regional and country offices. IBON strengthens links between local campaigns and advocacies to international initiatives. At the national and sub-national levels, IBON brings development issues from the international arena in a way that peoples’ organizations and social movements can engage with them. At the regional and international levels, IBON organizes and co-sponsors parallel and alternative civil society events that engage with those sponsored by governments and international organizations. The main objective of IBON in such activities is to provide a venue for CSOs to express and build consensus around their concerns and demands, engage official processes meaningfully and forge cooperation for strengthened campaigns.

Land (un)reform under the haciendero president
In his Social Contract, Aquino also promised to recognize farms and rural enterprises as vital to achieving food security and more equitable economic growth. In his PDP, he identified food security and increased rural incomes as among the major goals of government. Also, for agriculture to fulfill its role in reducing rural poverty and achieve food security in the long term, increased incomes, productivity and production shall be enhanced, according to the PDP.  

While government boasts of improving rice and food production, even claiming that the country may become self-sufficient in rice by next year, agriculture officials also admit that domestic agriculture remains very dependent favorable weather. But what make domestic food production especially vulnerable to adverse weather events are the accumulated effects of decades of neoliberal restructuring such as trade liberalization, land use conversion, promotion of export crops, etc. which aggravate the basic problems of backward agricultural system (one report said Philippine agriculture is among the least mechanized in Southeast Asia) and landlessness among the direct food producers. Alas, Aquino is not reversing these neoliberal policies much less implement genuine land reform. The dismantling of large haciendas for land distribution is not in Aquino’s agenda, which of course is not unexpected for someone who comes from one of the wealthiest and most influential landlord clans in the country. Last year, the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) was able to distribute just 113,196 hectares out of the already small target of 200,000 hectares, or an accomplishment rate of below 57 percent. DAR data also show that since taking over as...
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