Focus together with Rural Poor Institute for Land and Human Rights Services (RIGHTS) co-organized with local people’s organization Kilos Ka a two- day discussion on land rights from April 15-16 in Begong Tigbao, Zamboanga del Sur.

The forum-workshop was attended by around 40 participants representing farmers and indigenous peoples Organizations from the provinces of Zamboanga del Sur, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, North Cotabato, and the CARAGA region.

The discussions around land rights took off from Focus analyses of current national policy trends that have an impact on continuing land struggles. An added context of the discussions is the upcoming mid term elections how the results could significantly impact land rights in the region.

Read more on our analyses of national policy trends on land and other issues in the Focus Policy Review 2019.

Danny Carranza of the farmer’s organization Katarungan highlighted the key elements of advancing agrarian struggles: developing a critical mass, deep understanding of agrarian reform and broader policies and programs influencing land issues, alliance building, legal and political campaigning and advancing ground level initiatives.

Focus also discussed updates on the status of agrarian reform and new challenges.  This was followed by a workshop where the participants shared information on existing land holdings, and cases.

Read more on our analysis of the government’s agrarian reform program in Repormang Agraryo at Pagbabago: Narratives on Agrarian Conflicts, Transitions, and Transformation

Atty. Karl Carumba then facilitated a deeper discussion of the cases, identifying areas for engagements and actions and defining ways to advance the land rights agenda.

[Feature photo above: Jamel Ann Caylan of Kilos Ka discussing the objectives and program of the 2-day workshop. Please click on any photo below to zoom and see captions.]