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RURAL EMPOWERMENT

THROUGH
AGRARIAN/ASSET DEVELOPMENT

(THE READ PROGRAM)

TERMINAL REPORT

By

Project Development Institute


35 Maningning Street, Teacher’s Village, Diliman
Quezon City, Philippines
December 2004
RURAL EMPOWERMENT THROUGH AGRARIAN DEVELOPMENT:
Land and Tenancy Reforms in Agrarian Areas
(The READ Program 2001-2004)

Terminal Report
July-October 2004

I. Development Context, Problem Analysis and Development Goals:

It is in the agricultural sector


that the battle for long-term Economic
Development will be won or lost

Gunnar Myrdal
Nobel Laureate in Economics

The Philippines remains an agrarian society. About 60% of Filipinos reside in the
rural areas and 50% of the labor force is involved in agriculture. Of the 12 million
Filipinos engaged in agriculture not more than two million own the land they till.
Agriculture accounts for 27% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Yet, in 2000,
two thirds of impoverished Filipinos are rural poor.

The agrarian problem is closely related to the underdevelopment of the Philippines


fundamentally because of the country’s agricultural character. The rural poor depend
on agriculture for their subsistence. However, many farmers in the Philippines have
been denied the right to own land and the right to decide on how to use the land.
While the Filipino peasants decry the massive inequality of landholding between rich
and poor throughout the Philippines, the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program
(CARP), the government’s response to this inequity, has been languishing on the
political agenda of the government without any demonstrable political will to
challenge the existing feudal power structure within the country. Worse, the country’s
economic crisis is enormous – national bankruptcy, mass unemployment and poverty
and the rising cost of living. The fiscal and financial crisis is so intense that good
management is no longer simply a challenge but a demand to the administration.

Aside from this, gender discrimination intensifies inequality at the national level,
particularly with women’s rights to land. The predicament and struggle of peasant

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women stem from institutional discrimination against the rights of women despite
their important role in production and agriculture.

Meanwhile, those who were able to acquire lands but do not have an organization to
support them, lose their lands due to increasing rural indebtedness. Illness and hunger
of the rural poor are the main motivations to sell the land, while wealthy landowners
buy the lands at very low prices. The indebtedness of the poor farmers is increasing
their hunger and diminishing their means to repay loans.

Philippine poverty is caused by historically skewed land tenure patterns, government


policies that are extremely socially costly such as burdensome debt-repayment,
militarization, and ecological and demographic crises. Rapid population growth has
resulted in increasing population density, putting severe pressure on resources.
Thus, there is a need for non-governmental organizations with a mission to serve the
rural poor and committed to alleviate the living conditions of the peasantry to help
bring them on the road to food security and self-sufficiency.

With PDI’s commitment to service, its participatory approach to community


development and its strength in dealing with the government, it has earned the respect
of the agrarian reform community.

The strength of PDI as an NGO lies in its participatory approach not only toward
development programming but also in transforming these development initiatives at
the ground level into policy for advocacy at the national level and in its negotiating
strategy to prompt the government to provide land and resolve issues in favor of the
farmers.

The PDI’s “Rural Empowerment through Agrarian Development (READ)” Program


has been implemented in this backdrop of endemic poverty in the Philippines.

The READ Program is a response to the growing discontent among farmers in


Central Luzon and fisherfolks in Northern Palawan. The program addresses the basic
issues and concerns that will lead to the empowerment of the basic sectors in the rural
areas.

Sustainable human development for the poor peasants mean sustainable livelihood,
including food security, economic, social and political empowerment and a
sustainable natural environment. Land reform, including legally secure access to land,
is one of the most important preconditions for sustainable rural development.

The farmers and indigenous people can only achieve sustainability if they own the
land, have control over it as a factor of production, and have the right to decide on the
use of the land.

To correct the skewed distribution of land and resources, land must be redistributed,
and this must be accompanied by institutional capability building, plus the provision

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of economic support services. The direct participation of the peasants and indigenous
people in all the phases of development must be ensured.

In other words, development work should integrate negotiations with the DAR and
the government for asset redistribution with the peasants and the indigenous people in
the forefront, accompanied by support service delivery and social infrastructure
building. One without the other will not spell sustainable rural development in the
countryside because genuine agrarian reform is equal to land transfer, plus economic
support services and strengthened social infrastructure.

Rural Empowerment through Agrarian Development aims to achieve


sustainability of the peasants and the Aeta Indigenous people in the target areas of
Zambales, Bataan, Pampanga, Nueva Ecija and Palawan by transforming these areas
for the benefit of these marginalized sectors to achieve food security and self
sufficiency through local resource control.

To this end, the READ Program, three years into its implementation and balanced by
PDI’s participatory approach to community development and expanded activities, has
been continuously working to alleviate poverty in four fronts where reform can have
the greatest impact: on social equity, by providing the poorest of the poor with access
to basic services for survival; on economic prosperity, by ensuring that the basic
sectors have access to productive assets that allow them to contribute to national
growth through an asset reform program or the redistribution of physical and resource
assets, particularly land and credit; on ecological security, by incorporating the
parameters of sustainable development in the management and utilization of natural
resources; on responsible and responsive governance, by democratizing structures
and processes to allow the meaningful participation of key stakeholders in policy and
decision making.

II. Financial Review:

Based on the Financial Statement for the period ending October 31, 2004 and
Auditor’s Report, the total grant received by PDI from EED/EZE amounted to
P4,106,427.41. PDI’s interest income reached P4,837.12 while its gain in foreign
exchange amounted to P15,095.23. Its own means reached P1,527,497.64. Thus total
revenue is P5,653,857.40.

III. Specific Objectives/Actual Accomplishment:

Based on the total expenditure of P8,624,115.22, for the period under review, the
following have been accomplished:

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A. Institutional Development Building on Social Capital

Education helps families avoid poverty traps…


It serves as insurance to sustainable human development.

1. Building People’s Organizations

The Nagkakaisang Magsasaka ng Gitnang Luzon (United Peasants of Central Luzon)


or NMGL, a regional federation of peasants’ organizations all over Central Luzon,
established three years ago through PDI’s organizing, training and education, is now a
solid organization composed of 51 people’s organizations with 2,116 core members
and has command over 12,896 peasants. It directly influences half a million peasants
all over Central Luzon, and indirectly benefits more than a million peasants. The lists
of NMGL PO membership is found in Annex I.

Rural peasants now exhibit empowerment and good governance in their social
responsibilities through collective decision making. Strategic planning and
assessment processes are already being led and conducted by peasant leaders. Local
negotiations on land issues with the Department of Agrarian Reform, the
Local Government Units and line agencies are also led by them and supported by
PDI. This demonstrates a clear measure of their capacity and intrinsic individual and
organizational strength. Peasants can now articulate and discuss issues and problems
with authorities and government personnel. More importantly, they know and assert
their rights as peasants.

A provincial peasant women’s federation (PPWF) has also been established in each of
the six provinces in Central Luzon – Zambales, Nueva Ecija, Bulacan, Bataan,
Pampanga and Tarlac. The PPWFs formed a regional women’s federation known as
Pagkakaisa ng Samahang Kababaihan Se Gitnang Luzon (PASAMAKA-GL). The
PASAMAKA-GL is initially composed of 24 women’s organizations comprising
1,025 core members and has direct command over 6,150 peasant women. It actively
participates in the campaign for land rights and negotiations with the government on
agrarian reform issues. The PASAMAKA-GL is not only at the forefront of
enterprise development building in their respective areas but also active in local
governance. The lists of PPWF members are found in Annex I.

Peasant women are now relatively less burdened with laborious tasks and
responsibilities in their households and farms because they better understand their
human rights and autonomy within families and communities. They have gained more
control over their own lives in matters relating to production and reproduction.

The indigenous peoples’ formation of Aetas (the aborigines of Zambales), the


Dumagats of Bulacan and Aurora, the Igorots of Nueva Ecija and the Tagbanuas of
Palawan have been newly federated and headed by Aeta leader Carlito Dumulot.
The newly formed IP federation is called Pagkakaisa Ng Samahang Katutubo Ng
Igorots, Dumagats, Tagbanuas at Aetas sa Gitnang Luzon (PASAKA-IGTAG). It has

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1,308 members and influences about 7,848 IPs. The PASAKA-IGTAG aims to
achieve self-reliance through their land rights claim in their ancestral domain and
thereby achieve food security at the community level. Negotiations with the
government on land survey are now on going.

2. Trainings

PDI has conducted several activities aimed at institutional development building for
social capital formation of the people’s organizations all over Central Luzon. These
activities range from training to consultation. The NMGL, the IP federation and the
women’s federation also hold regular monthly meetings for the federations. The POs
are now having independent initiatives in policy advocacy, campaigns and
government negotiations at the local levels. The POs are challenged to keep this
momentum and further engage in social capital formation. Trainings that have been
conducted under the READ Program were the following: 1.) Self- Evaluation and
Spiral Dynamics, August 9-13, 2004, Brentwood Hotel, Baguio City with 30 PO
leaders; 2.) Team Learning and Systems Thinking, September 20-24, 2004,
Brentwood Hotel, Baguio City, with 25 participants; 3.) Basic Course in Community
Organizing, September 6-7, 2004, Brentwood Hotel, Baguio City, with 27
participants and 4.) Staff Development Training: (a) Self-Actualization, September
23, 2004, Brentwood, Baguio City; (b) Team Building: Visioning, July 2004, Ilocos
Norte.

3. Education: Formal and Non-Formal

Education is a basic need. However, in a country like the Philippines, food is always
a top priority and the other basic needs are of lower importance. The effect of
government neglect has been extreme cases of deprivations in the country.

The government claims that it is providing free education to Filipinos up to high


school and subsidy for college. While this is true, why there are so many dropouts
remain a question. Education entails not only tuition fees. It requires far greater
resources for a child to finish high school, including books and school supplies,
transportation fare, food to subsist, proper clothing and allowances to purchase other
requirements. However, these needs cannot be provided by the family since most of
the peasants and indigenous families live almost in a hand-to-mouth existence.

PDI has extended support in putting poor but deserving students through college. The
right to higher education is critical in the overall context of development as it is one
of the important processes in ensuring sustainable peasant and IP communities.
Having their children complete a college education opens new avenues and hope for
poor families. New ideas and skills can be injected by the youth to effect
development in the countryside. The youth of today holds the future of the country. In

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this regard, PDI initiated a scholarship program and today has a total of 72 college
scholars. Fifty college scholars are financed by ADFE, 12 by SSF and 10 by ESP.

Non-Formal Education

In the past, we would hide in our houses.


Whenever we see strangers, we were too scared
to face other people. But now we do not just talk
with others, I am addressing you from this stage…

NFE Student in Balisungan, Coron, Palawan

Non-Formal Education does not merely satisfy literacy objectives. It is a process of


reckoning with day-to-day reality and empowering the deprived to deal with the
social, economic and political vacuum created by growth and enforced by poverty. It
involves the acquisition of knowledge even outside the school. It is aimed at attaining
specific learning objectives for the indigenous people, for out of school youths and
adult illiterates in the service areas of PDI. The NFE Program of PDI is being
conducted in partnerships with the Department of Education and the local
governments of Coron in Palawan, the LGUs in Morong Bataan and Botolan,
Zambales.

NFE includes a functional literacy program for non-literate and semi-literate adults
that integrates basic literacy with livelihood skills training.

NFE or alternative basic education allows children and adults access to learning
outside the government sector. Its primary objective is to empower the indigenous
people by giving them the opportunity to analyze their environment, to engage in
critical analysis, deep reflection and local vision building of their own families and
learning processes through the use of innovative learning methodologies. NFE
facilitates people’s participation in social transformation by providing people with the
necessary values, attitudes, skills and abilities to face the outside challenges.

The Non-Formal Education Program of PDI started in 2004. It is being implemented


in the Aeta areas of Zambales and Bataan and the Tagbanua areas of Palawan. There
are currently 11 NFE program sections running in these areas with three sections in
Zambales, one in Bataan, and seven in Palawan. PDI hired 10 parateachers who speak
the local dialects of the IPs to teach in the respective IP communities. There are now
286 NFE graduates. The PDI NFE Areas and Literacy levels are found in Annex II.

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B. The Right to Land: the Process of Land transfer

CARP’s biggest contribution to the Philippine economy


so far is the institution of new property rights….

PDI supports the implementation of genuine agrarian reform in Central Luzon


provinces. For the past three years of READ implementation, PDI, together with the
people’s organizations, has conducted a series of dialogues and negotiations to push
the government to release highly contentious private agricultural lands to the Central
Luzon (CL) peasants.

This year the PDI-NMGL partnership in negotiating for highly contentious


landholdings managed to facilitate the transfer of 616.89 hectares of prime
agricultural land to landless farmers, lowland farmers, upland farmers, women
farmers and indigenous peoples. This is a remarkable accomplishment since these
lands are politically contentious and the transfer cost of these lands was financially
high for the government, especially at a time when the government admits its fiscal
management failure.

Land Tenure Improvement


First Semester January-June 2004

Province Municipality Landholding/ No. of


Property Hectares
Bataan Morong Kanawan 165
Pampanga Magalang Feliciano Tinio 28.8
Zambales Masinloc Verginia Jalipa 11
Masinloc Perpetou Yap 23.5
Masinloc Pedro Estrella 74.65
Subtotal 302.95

Land Tenure Improvement


Second Semester July-December 2004

Province Municipality Landholding/ No. of


Property Hectares
Bataan Morong Frederic de Dios 29.0524
Nueva Ecija Laur Fort Masaysay
Lot 23 84.4807
Laur Fort Magsaysay
Lot 22 44
Pampanga Angeles City Raul Claveria 34.9644
Margot Asteria Unson 33.67
Tarlac Gerona Cojuangco 58
Zambales Candelaria Francisco Yap 42.0667

Subtotal 326.24

First Semester January-June 2004 302.96 hectares


Second Semester July-December 2004 326.24 hectares

Grand total= 629.20 hectares

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From the total 629.20 hectares, 302.96 hectares have been acquired and distributed
during the first semester of 2004 to 300 farmer beneficiaries and 326.24 hectares
have been acquired and distributed in the second semester to 188 farmer beneficiaries
from the provinces of Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Bulacan and Zambales.

PDI Land Tenure Improvement Program


As of December 2004

81%

19%

3,222.193 has. "PDI-Facilitated" Land Acquisition and


Distribution

13,370 has. Remaining CARPable areas in Region 3

As of October 2004, under the READ Program, PDI facilitated from DAR, the release
of 3,222.19 hectares of prime agricultural land to the peasants and indigenous people
of Central Luzon. This is a remarkable achievement because this is actually 19% of
the total CARP scope in Central Luzon of the Department of Agrarian Reform.

C. The Right to Food: Economic Support The Economic Support System

Farmers are the backbone


of a nation free from hunger

After the land has been acquired, economic support services are critical for the
peasants to be sustainable under an increasingly unfavorable production environment
due to erratic rainfall caused by global warming, the decline of soil fertility due to
increased application of agrochemical inputs, the high cost of production inputs,
inadequate technical and managerial capacity of the farmers and the insufficient
support of the government to post harvest facilities, credit, marketing and extension.
On top of these, the peasants have to compete with well-organized, well-financed and
technologically advanced corporate and large-scale farms of developed economies

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courtesy of WTO. All of these have contributed to the decline of farm productivity
that has resulted in the further impoverishment of the peasants. They are
comparatively in the same state as when they were tenants and farm workers. Those
who are helpless in the face of poverty resorted to illegal selling of land rights and
mortgaging. The situation leads to a new cycle of land concentration among the
financial elites.

PDI, together with the NMGL and PASAMAKA-GL, embarked on supporting


livelihood opportunities for the different people’s organizations and members of the
peasants’ and women’s federation.

In this context, activities that support skills upgrading and the development of
income-generating activities for the rural poor that contribute directly to improving
access to food are being conducted such as small-scale livelihood projects that can be
done at home or allow for processing at the household level.

Activities that contribute to food security generally have the objective of improving
agricultural capacity to produce. Projects that support crop, livestock and forestry,
increase the income of the poor – a larger part of which is in turn invested in
improving the resource base and thus strengthening longer-term sustainability.

From July to December, 2004, various small projects have been initiated in the target
areas of Central Luzon and Northern Palawan, specifically in the provinces of
Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Palawan, Zambales, and Bataan. The Small Projects grants are
as follows:

Economic Enterprise Development


Under the SPF
In Central Luzon and Northern Palawan
For the Period July-December, 2004

Date Area Small Project PO and Signatory Approved


Amount
(Php)

July 3 Nueva Ecija Goat Dispersal TUFA, Freddie Segundo


64,000.00
5 Palawan Seaweed Prod. Burabod, BFARMC,
20,000.00
Ruben Duldig
6 Palawan Hog Dispersal Burabod Women’s Asso.
20,000.00
Alma Inoc
7 Palawan Seaweeds Prod. Galoc BFARMC 20,000
Francisco Glimao
8 Palawan Hog Dispersal Galoc Fisheries Asso 17,500.

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Rafael Selestial
10 Palawan Hog Dispersal Luac Women Asso. 25,000
Monila
10 Zambales Hog Dispersal SKP, Violeta Vidal 2,500
10 Zambales Hog Dispersal SKT, Josephine Elamparo 2,500
10 Zambales Hog dispesal SKT, Pat Amir 2,500
10 Zambales Hog Dispersal SKT, Salvacion Canno 2,500
14 Zambales Hog dispersal SKKP, Elsa Novo 2,500
14 Zambales Hog dispersal; NAKAP, excelencio Canno 2,500
14 Zambales Hog Dispersal SKBA, Josephine Elan 2,500
14 Zambales Hog Dispersal LAKAS, Nenita Dumulot 2,500
15 Zambales Pasambot Nursery PASAMBOT, 18,000
Carlito Dumulot
16 Zambales Manggahan Project PASAMBOT 14,400
16 Nueva Ecija Carabao Loan Freddie Segundo 25,000

Aug 4 Nueva Ecija Mango Seedlings TUFA, Freddie S. 100,000


12 Zambales Local Trading NAKAP, Mary Balinay 10,000
16 Palawan Rice Trading Canimango Women’s Asso 15,000

Sept 6 Palawan Seaweeds Prod Balisungan Seaweeds 24,000


Asso, Lucas Paguia
9 Palawan Seaweeds Prod Cabugao Seaweeds Asso 28,000
Licas Paguia
15 Zambales Wetmarket SKT, Pat Amir 25,000
20 Zambales Handicraft SKAB< rolly dela Cruz 15,000
23 Bataan Honey Prod @ SAKANEKAN, Belen 18,500
processing Restum

Oct 1 Bulacan Pina Production Samahan Ng Magsasaka


144,000.
Ng Kaybanban, Eddie Ibabao
2 Zambales Various Forest Prod. LAKAS, Carlito Dumulot
70,000
4 Nueva Ecija Pina Production TUFA, Pablo Bocabe 150,000
14 Zambales Local Trading SKAB, Rolly dela Cruz 50,000
20 Zambales Card Making LAKAS, Carlito Dumulot 10,000

TOTAL……………………………………………………………………Php 903,400
=========

As of October 31, 2004, there has been a total repayment of P193,972.19 within the
July to December 2004 period, with P39,517.19 coming from the province of Nueva
Ecija. The Summary Report for Small Projects, including repayment, is contained in
Annex III

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D. Participatory Research, Policy Advocacy and Linkage Work

The participatory research and policy advocacy work of PDI has gained ground. The
integration of development work with a systematic participatory research and policy
advocacy has resulted in policy change in handling agrarian reform. This has been done
together with other agrarian reform stakeholders from people’s organizations and other
non-governmental organizations. Many cases have been brought to the open as a result
of joint efforts to push agrarian reform and rural development.

1. Policy Advocacy Work:

a.) Opposition to Farmland as Collateral Bill. The Arroyo Administration


continued to push for the passing of the Farmland as Collateral Law since the start
of the 12th Congress. Presently, the 13th Congress is pressured to enact such a
law, which has been given priority by the administration. The government says
the law will address the lack of credit and capital of the peasants and rural
communities.

Several bills are awaiting deliberation in Congress, namely: House Bills 247, 279,
2831, 417 and the DAR bill. The last one is being endorsed by the DAR in the
Senate. All these bills allow the farmland collateralization and foreclosure by
banks and non-bank financial institutions.

b.) Guarding the Agrarian Reform Fund (ARF). The civil society, composed of
the members of the agrarian reform community and the private sector, called for a
congressional inquiry to check and secure the newly acquired Marcos wealth
which is allocated for the agrarian reform program.

The victims of human rights violations during the Marcos dictatorship and the
relatives and supporters of victims of involuntary disappearances during the
Marcos, Aquino, Ramos and Estrada administrations are also closely watching
over the funds for the benefit of their families.

c.) Agrarian Reform, Policies, and Institutional Change. PDI, together with
NMGL, are at the forefront of structural and institutional changes in the DAR.
- In a dialogue with the previous DAR Secretary Rene Villa, LAKAS (PO
of Zambales) and PDI petitioned for the investigation of the DAR
Adjudication judge for his unreasonable decision favoring the increase of
land valuation in Pasambot from P34,700 per hectare to P400,000.00. This
is 1000% more than the original valuation. The DAR secretary himself
ordered an immediate investigation and upon confirmation of the unjust
and irrational decision, directed the reversal of the decision and removed
the judge in Zambales.
- The voice of PDI and NMGL was heard in reforming and streamlining the
DAR bureaucracy, e.g. making NCIP an attached agency rather than be
directly under the DAR.

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d.) Local Governance. Peasants and women farmers are now participating in local
governance activities. In fact, two have been elected to the Local Government
Councils in their areas and others are active in the local health units and
livelihood committees. The Aetas and the Igorots now attend the session at the
local municipal and provincial legislative councils to voice out their concerns and
problems. They also participate in the development planning sessions of the local
councils, and recommending policies and programs for their communities.

e.) Food Security. PDI and NMGL have called for changes in the agricultural
policies that are detrimental to the interest of peasants in negotiations with the
Department of Agriculture. PDI-NMGL celebrated World Food Day by rallying
at the Department of Agriculture against its unnecessary importation of primary
agricultural products like rice, which makes the Philippines a net food importer
even if our agricultural sector has the capacity to provide for our food needs if
only given the required government support.

PDI work has gained ground at all levels and has become an example of pushing
policy advocacy based on ground level program and research. The grassroots program
initiated by PDI has become living examples on how policies are reformed based on
ground level cases through primary research.

2. Participatory Research

PDI’s Participatory Research aims to monitor the tangible impact of its program
implementation and service delivery at the ground level. Integrated with this policy
study and research will be the analysis of the external environment that affect directly
and indirectly the work at the grassroots. Such analysis will be the basis for future
courses of action.

The Occasional Papers of PDI are as follows:

a.) PDI Impact Evaluation. This book is the reproduction of the evaluation by
the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development of
PDI’s READ Program. PDI is highly honored with the results of the
evaluation in line with the German Government’s Program of Action 2015
addressing the “comprehensive human development and protecting the
vulnerable” by focusing on agrarian reform beneficiaries and the indigenous
people. The result of the evaluation has been discussed with the public,
including the POs, other NGOs and the government. It is now being
disseminated and circulated in the agrarian reform community.

b.) Alternative Learning Systems: The Non-Formal Education. PDI and the
Department of Education have produced several NFE modules on functional
literacy to be used by the parateachers.

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c.) Gender and Development, July 2004. A training module produced by PDI
for gender and development that deals with self actualization and
conscientization. It deals with improving gender consciousness that will lead
to the understanding of equal opportunities in society. Women are able to
recognize their urgent needs and problems, and express their concerns. It
equips women with better communication skills, paving the way for them to
become active in their communities.

d.) Reinventing Northern Samar,October 2004.

e.) PDI Website: visit us at http//pdi-asia.org

f.) Usaping Bayan or (People’s Concerns). PDI’s monthly publication for


peasants is a news gazette that publishes national, local and international news
that are related to the agrarian and agricultural sectors. It raises the level of
political consciousness of peasants by providing an analysis of the facts and
figures provided by the government and private sector.

Usaping Bayan Banner/Frontpage


2004 Monthly and Bi-monthly Issues of Usaping Bayan

December Issue
“Baliktanaw sa 2004”
(2004 in Retrospect)

October-November Issue
“Edukasyon para sa mga Tagbanua”
(CLOAs distributed in Laur, Nueva Ecija)

August- September Issue


“CLOAs ipinamahagi sa Laur, Nueva Ecija”
(Education for the Tagbanuas)

July Issue
“Civil Society: Panatilihin si Ponce bilang Kalihim ng DAR”
(Civil Society: Let Ponce stay on as DAR Secretary)

June Issue
“Ika-16 ng Anibersaryo ng CARP sinalubong ng protesta”
(Celebration of CARP’s 16th Anniversary marked by Protests)

May Issue
“Pondo sa Repormang Agraryo ginagamit sa kampanya ni GMA?”
(Agrarian Funds being used in GMA Campaign?)

March-April Issue
“Repormang Agraryo batayan ng boto ng mga magsasaka”

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(Policy on Agrarian Reform determines the peasant block vote)

January Issue
“Baliktanaw ng 2003”
(2003 in Retrospect)

February Issue
“Katiwalian sa DAR Tinuligsa ng PDI at NMGL”
(PDI-NMGL Condemns corruption in DAR)

PDI’s critique of the government even extends to editorial cartoons as shown here in one of the Editorials
of Usaping Bayan tackling the issue of corruption in the Philippine mlitary.

IV. Planned and Achieved Intermediate Results

• On Institutional Building.

More than physical infrastructure, PDI regards institutional building as a more lasting element in any
project undertaking. Through the READ Program, regional peasant and women’s federations have been
established while providing social infrastructure building to the indigenous people in Central Luzon that
help them to organize and collectively assess their condition. The indigenous people’s organization of
Aetas, Tagbanuas, Dumagats and Igorots were formed into the PASAMAKA-IGTAD. The READ Program
also stimulated the participation of women and led to the formation of provincial women’s organizations in
Central Luzon. The POs have notably been functioning as civil society groups based on their LTI and
enterprise activities, including involvement in socio-political issues and concerns at the regional and
national levels.

• On the farmer’s right to land.

The READ program has restored basic endowments to rural households whose primary means of
generating livelihood, accumulating wealth, and transferring of resources to the next generation is through
land ownership.

The right of the peasants and the indigenous people to the land they till has been vigorously pursued in
the halls of justice. PDI has successfully assisted the various POs of Central Luzon in acquiring their land
rights and in pushing the government to provide land to till. Peasant Groups all over the Philippines are
now seeking the support of PDI in this regard.

The government’s problem is not only how to acquire and redistribute the remaining 3 million hectares
nationwide, especially the 1.3 million private agricultural lands, but also the problem of developing the 5
million hectares already distributed.

• On Economic Support: The Right to Food.

In support of the peasants’ claim to land, the READ Program provided economic support to the target
areas that are demand driven and based on local priorities. This was done during the PO’s area-based
strategic planning conferences. All the target areas underwent an Area-Based Strategic Planning
conference spearheaded by leaders of the POs themselves using the participatory approach to
programming specific economic activities as was taught to the POs by PDI. Economic support services are
critical for the peasants to be sustainable under an increasingly unfavorable production environment.

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The creation and management of village-level economic project activities that help to improve access to
food leads to the strengthening of food security institutions.

• On Participatory Research, Policy Advocacy and Linkage Work.

PDI has been working in Central Luzon and Northern Palawan for more than 12 years now. Gains have
been achieved in empowering the people through their transformation from being victims to becoming
owner-cultivators of their own land, actively participating in local governance. The expanded activities and
programs helped in the formation of organizations and enterprise development of various POs and
women’s groups all over the region. The PDI has also assisted the POs in land tenurial improvement in
Zambales, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac, Bulacan, and Bataan.

PDI’s commitment to service and its participatory approach to community development, and its strength
in negotiations strategy in dealing with the government have earned the respect of the agrarian reform
community locally, nationally and internationally.

The strength of PDI as an NGO lies in its participatory approach not only toward development
programming but also in transforming these development initiatives at the ground level into policy
advocacy at the national level, and in its negotiating strategy to oblige the government to provide land
and resolve issues for the farmers.

V. Project Objective

The READ Program is part of the process to achieve sustainable human development.

Sustainable human development for the poor peasants means sustainable livelihood, including food
security, economic, social and political empowerment and a sustainable natural environment. Land reform,
including legally secure access to land, is one of the most important preconditions for sustainable rural
development.

READ aims to build autonomous people’s organizations that will engage the government in agrarian
reform and rural development concerns. READ also aims to undertake campaigns on agrarian reform and
rural development related issues – where people are at the core of reform initiatives, where there is
participation and empowerment of all sectors of society in development decision-making and processes

PDI does its best to promote democratic participation as well as responsible and responsive governance.
PDI upholds democratization structures and processes to allow the meaningful participation of key
stakeholders in policy- and decision-making.

VI. Changes and Conclusions

Facilitating Factors

1. The state reformist within the DAR bureaucracy responds positively to pressure from pro-reform
civil society like PDI and NMGL.

2. PDI and NMGL were able to effectively pressure and expand collaboration with other CARP
Implementing Agencies (CIAs) like the DENR, NCIP and Land Bank.

3. PDI had provided a training and development program that motivated farmer volunteers and
created a ripple effect that multiplied the number of conscientized farmers through skills training.

4. Farmers are now able to articulate their problems and needs to the local officials and field
personnel immediately and on the spot. Officials and field personnel also benefited from the
timely and reliable information on problems and needs, with the net effect of improving their
accountability to the farmers.

Constraining Factors

1. Opponents of reform have not given up the fight. Landowners and land speculators put up
barriers that range from exploiting the loopholes of the agrarian reform law to howling against
the lack of substantial gains.

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2. Dealing with public lands, DENR performance is hampered by bureaucratic malfunctions and
budgetary constraints, technical limitations or pure complacency. This is very problematic
because it is the only government agency tasked to survey, map out and approve plans for
CARPable lands.

3. Poor relations and coordination of DAR with LGUs, especially in view of the decentralization
process under the Local Government Code of 1992, specifically on the local government’s
authority to reclassify and convert land use. This is one of the long legal battles the farmers will
encounter in the process of CARP coverage.

4. The existence of armed political organizations that assert autonomy or independence from the
state. Specifically in the province of Tarlac, where PDI had a very difficult time organizing
farmers due to safety considerations.

Changes in the Program and Organization and Lessons Learned

1. For farmers, conflicts around land rights and benefits from the produce have been resolved by
the program, with the assignment to them of new rights and responsibility to make the land
productive.

2. Land redistribution can be an effective political instrument to buy peace and restore people’s
confidence in government. However, its economic return may not be seen immediately.

3. Technology transfer is effective only when the technology itself is applicable and appropriate for
the capacity of the poor. The communication skills of the staff also play an important role in the
process.

4. Activities of the farmer organizations should always go along with other social, political, economic
endeavors. In order to be successful in mobilizing and convincing farmers, there should be an
effective and persuasive plan that can bring about benefits to farmers.

5. Policy reforms and institutional arrangements are necessary to tap the DA’s budget for
beneficiary development

For a brighter future of our children, we must remain steadfast, united and collectively determined to
pursue our common vision and bring our country towards sustained growth and development.
There’s still hope.

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Peasants become
active participants –
POs serve as new
The POs and NMGL t
POs use meta legal
exercise vigilance CARP
tactics to influence
implementation

Increased PO elected in local


positions represented in
Institutionalized discussion participation in barangay, municipal,
and negotiation forums
through partnership decision provincial levels –
Proactive in local
arrangement: PDI-DAR making governance
NMGL

Changed process of AR Changed behavior of


implementation based on DAR in the project
PDI experiences and areas—increased
strategies transparency– openness

Observed changes
through increased Narrowing the gap between
Fast tracking and peasants and DAR–
completion in LTI participation in decision building new alliances
acquisition and distribution ki

Policy changes in some


Mobilization and cities and municipalities in
redirection of services and their land use plans.
budgets in favor of peasant
beneficiaries
Increase level of public
consciousness about
good governance

==================================================================

IMPACT OF THE READ PROGRAM


THROUGH INCREASED PARTICIPATION IN DECISION MAKING
AND LOCAL GOVERNANCE
OF THE ORGANIZED PEASANTS. INDIGENOUS PEOPLE AND WOMEN LEADERS

===================================================================

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