What We Do
In the last five years (2012 – 2016), RIGHTS contributed to the redistribution of high profile land cases in many parts of the country that totalled to more or less 10,000 hectares with more than 10,000 beneficiaries. These include: (i) Hacienda Luisita (Tarlac province): 4,212 hectares, 6,102 beneficiaries; (ii) Hacienda Villa Reyes (Quezon): 2,104 hectares, 891 beneficiaries: (iii) Hacienda Edano (Quezon): 430 hectares, 218 beneficiaries; (iv) Hacienda Tan (Quezon): 362 hectares, 183 beneficiaries; (v) Hacienda Matias (Quezon): 683 out 1,716 hectares, with 283 beneficiaries; process of redistribution of remaining area is on-going; (vi) Self-installation in four haciendas in Negros Oriental: 438 hectares, 298 beneficiaries; (vii) CLOA distribution in Leyte: 1,228 CLOAs, 2,127 hectares with 782 farmer-beneficiaries. Currently, RIGHTS is assisting in the distribution of more than 60,000 hectares of private and public lands with more or less 15,000 potential farmer-beneficiaries. Within this year 2017, we hope to secure the land rights of 1,500 farmers in ongoing land struggles within the areas of our work.
RIGHTS and its partner mass movement KATARUNGAN provided campaign assistance in the successful land occupation of 2.1 hectares of Ati claimed area in Boracay, the world famous island-resort where indigenous peoples’ ancestral domain rights claim was invisible for the longest time. As a result, a new community of Aeta has risen in the island.
Since mid-year last year, RIGHTS is providing request-based assistance in the campaign for ancestral domain claims of the Agta-Dumagat tribe in Sierra Madre through a series of initial engagements with NCIP and the DENR. After years without any progress, the ancestral domain claim is now getting the attention of both the DENR and the NCIP. Within the same claim, RIGHTS is undertaking a research that looks into the intersection of climate change, large land investments and land grabbing.
RIGHTS, Inc. is also involved in the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Yolanda-affected areas through direct rehabilitation efforts that benefited 4,000 families of farmers and fisherfolks. What is distinct and unique for RIGHTS in its humanitarian response was its support to organizing and mobilization for the farmers and fisher folks demanding shelter, livelihoods and land tenure rights. This involves close to 6,000 Yolanda-affected families in Leyte and around 4,798 families of shelter rights claimants in Eastern Samar who are in areas declared as danger or high risk zones. Its first successful land rights breakthrough was the installation of 21 farmers in a 25-hectare contested landholding in Ormoc City, Leyte this June 2016, concluding a 17 years of difficult struggle of farmers. The competing farmers have also forged a détente for peaceful co-existence and are now more open to cooperating. Its most recent success for Yolanda survivors land tenure security involves the distribution on November 6, 2016 of a total of 1,228 CLOAs with 782 beneficiaries, covering 2,137.562 hectares. We are hoping to develop climate justice and agriculture advocacy work in the coming months.
RIGHTS Inc. through its support to its partner mass movement, the Kilusan Para sa Repormang Agraryo at Katarungang Panlipunan (Movement for Agrarian Reform and Social Justice) is also actively involved in the campaign for the recovery and pro-small coconut farmer utilization of the more than 76 Billion Coco Levy Funds that were collected during the Marcos regime and invested for benefit of Marcos cronies in such companies as San Miguel Corporation, United Coconut Planters Bank, several oil mills, among others. The successful recovery and utilization of coco levy funds will have tremendous economic significance to 3.5 million mostly poor coconut farmers of the country. RIGHTS involvement include coconut farmers’ mobilization, lobbying and advocacy in support of the passage of a law creating a Coconut Farmers and Industry Development Trust Fund Law. With assistance of RIGHTS, Inc., KATARUNGAN has become a front liner in the call for the just and immediate recovery of the coco levy fund.
We are promoting agro-ecology and food sovereignty founded on rural citizens right to control and sustainably manage land, water and other natural endowments. We are currently exploring small farmholdings production and reproduction through agro-ecology in selected pilot areas that aim to satisfy local poor people’s demand for food through sustainable system of production.
Given the precarious human rights situation of rural communities, RIGHTS had consistently initiated activities to ensure that the basic human rights of its partner-communities are respected protected and fulfilled. It has supported struggles against criminalization peasant movements and has called on both state and non-state actors to be accountable to human rights and international humanitarian law.
- Completion of agrarian reform in private and public lands;
- Completion of IPRA;
- Right to Information (Access to public records);
- Respect for human rights and international humanitarian law (state and non-state);
- Integration of delivery of basic support services and land tenure improvement;
- Enactment of national land-use act;
- Decriminalization of agrarian-related criminal cases;
- Anti-Land Grabbing;
- Shelter Rights;
- Equitable and secure access to productive land and water resources;
- Democratization of governance;
- Sustainable management of natural resources;
- Climate justice;
- Gender equality
Agrarian Justice and Food Sovereignty Movement
The establishment and/or strengthening of rural poor social movements composed of more empowered rural communities with control over lands and are building and constructing sustainable and ecologically-sound rural alternatives
The redistribution/recognition of secure land tenure in areas where land/agrarian reform had long been suspended or paralyzed due to state inertia or resistance from various anti-reform actors, and significant resolution of obstacles towards eventual recognition of ancestral domain. Support services following land redistribution are provided
The need for a movement where land rights, food rights and environment are intersecting such that land tenure secure farmer-food producers are increasingly able to supply the food requirements of their households and immediate communities and are slowly transforming the orientation of production and distribution through sustainable agro-ecological practices.
Sustainable community-based /social enterprises
Land tenure secure farmers who are implementing sustainable community-based enterprises that enable them to control the distribution of their produce are oriented towards local or community economy. The end result are rural communities that directly get the benefit of their produce and their surplus through direct market participation.
The main strategy in building and strengthening rural social movements. In each of the community partners of RIGHTS, the key entry point of any work is organizing – an empowering process of making the poor the central actors for rural social change.
Community Organizing for Agrarian Reform in AR flashpoints provinces. As a program, Community Organizing as an empowering process will be applied in all areas of operation of RIGHTS.
Agro-ecology and food sovereignty model building. Developing rural communities’ alternative production and distribution. This is characterized by sustainable agricultural practices and a strong food component oriented towards satisfying local food consumption. RIGHTS, Inc. is planting the seeds of change in this regard with small scale start up projects in previously selected agrarian flashpoint areas such as Hacienda Luisita, Bondoc Peninsula, Leyte, among other areas. RIGHTs is hoping to strengthen this area of work as it builds on and continue to explore food sovereignty models based on local contexts
Productivity enhancement and enterprise development. To improve and diversify the economic sources of land tenure secured farmers and to establish and strengthen community-controlled rural enterprises. A start up cooperative is being experimented in the agrarian reform flash point area of Bondoc Peninsula;
Agrarian reform and ancestral domain program. RIGHTS’ strength over the years has been its capacity to organize and mobilize in securing land tenure rights of land-dependent rural poor. RIGHTS will continue this work to address land-based rural poverty and injustices with a target of securing 5,000-7,000 families land rights with actual transfer of 10,000-12,000 hectares in the next 5 years.
Rural reform advocacy. This will push pro-poor policy reforms: agrarian-related issues, recovery of coco levy fund, anti-land grabbing campaigns, agriculture-related social protection, climate change-related advocacies
Shelter rights program. This emerging program is brought about by the need for housing rights as a climate resiliency strategy particularly of rural poor and those living in danger zones. This affects millions of families nationwide.
Legal assistance and legal education. An important component of agrarian justice and food sovereignty movement building, where demand for accountability comes from rural citizens’ profound appreciation of basic citizenship rights
Documentation and research to support the advocacy and campaign program by providing with systematic data to provide the public through social and mainstream media the perspective of rural movement on important rural social reform issues
Capacity building and consciousness raising through education. An important part of exploring and developing alternative is through exposure to new ideas that provides community with the opportunity to hope for new social and production arrangements founded on equality and ecology.