The Commons

Landowners resorting to “legal harassment” or the act of ling numerous criminal cases to weaken dissenting farmers’ groups are common cases in agrarian disputes in the Philippines.

2015 is a significant year in the history of the International Free trade regime, as its key multilateral instrument, the World Trade Organization (WTO), completes 20 years. Two decades of the WTO have raised many questions, most significantly, is the WTO relevant to small and marginal farmers in the Global South? This question remains relevant as developing countries continue to fight for protection and gains for their small and marginal farmers.

An outburst of applause erupted in the local courtroom from among the accused farmers of Barangay (village) Sumalo and their supporters when the non-guilty verdict was read by the clerk of court. The jubilation diminished into hushed sighs after the public prosecutor reproached the public for forgetting court decorum. But when the farmers walked out of the Hall of Justice of Dinalupihan City, Bataan province, north of Manila, they could no longer hold back tears of joy, especially the women.

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