Subject: PALAWAN: STOP OIL PALM EXPANSION NOW!
Date: Sun, 24 Mar 2013 11:36:14 -0700 (PDT)
From: Aldaw Indigenous Network <aldaw.indigenousnetwork@gmail.com>
Reply-To: aldaw-advocacy-and-campaign-news+owners@googlegroups.com
To: ALDAW ADVOCACY AND CAMPAIGN NEWS <aldaw-advocacy-and-campaign-news@googlegroups.com>
Dear ALDAW friends in the Philippines and abroad,

Greetings from Palawan!

My people, the indigenous communities of southern Palawan URGENTLY
NEED YOUR HELP.   Please sign and circulate the two petitions against
oil palm expansion that we have just launched through Care.org and
Change.org platforms.   One is addressed to the National Government -
and also includes the case of Mindanao - the other one is only focused
on Palawan and it is addressed mainly to the Provincial Government and
to the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD).

These are the petitions links:

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/797/568/375/philippines-stop-the-plundering-of-indigenous-territories-by-oil-palm-plantations/

https://www.change.org/petitions/philippines-stop-oil-palm-expansion-on-palawan-unesco-man-biosphere-reserve#share

Our recently accomplished study “The Palawan Oil Palm Geotagged Report
2013” (Part 1 and Part 2) can be downloaded from the links below:

http://www.iccaforum.org/images/stories/Database/issuesexamples/palawan_geotagged_report_pt_1.pdf

 http://www.iccaforum.org/images/stories/Database/issuesexamples/palawan_geotagged_report_part_2.pdf

Those who have been following our advocacy know that our struggle
against mining companies has been continuous over the years and
remains one of our top priorities.  Now, however, we are facing
another huge issue that is as bad as mining.  I am referring to the
oil palm boom in our Province (a declared UNESCO Man & Biosphere
Reserve).   This is moving very fast and we are still in the process
of identifying strategies and possible plans to stop oil palm
monocultures before it is too late.  Impacted communities are filing
notarized affidavits against oil palm encroachment on their ancestral
land, which has taken place without their Free and Prior Informed
Consent.

Because of massive oil palm expansion our communities in the South (as
well as in some municipalities of Central Palawan) are loosing their
farmlands, coconuts groves and fruit trees.  In some places, it is now
difficult to find even the wood for building our own houses.  After
land clearing by oil palm companies, nothing survives, no plants, no
animals.  Kawayan, tiring and other types of bamboos have been
destroyed and, together with this, we are loosing non-timber forest
products like buri palms, not too mention medicinal plants and other
common plants we use in our everyday life.  With bamboo we make sawali
(big bundles of woven bamboo to make house walls) and from the leaves
of buri we make banig mats, etc.  We sell these products in the market
and with this income we buy what we cannot produce (sugar, salt, soap,
house commodities and also notebooks and the things our children need
to go to school).

Also our coconut production is collapsing now, there are pests coming
from the oil palm plantations that are destroying our coconuts.
Thousands of coconut palms, planted by our parents and grandfathers,
are dying and our production of ‘copra’ has dropped of at least 50%.

We are becoming like prisoners in our own land, the oil palm
plantations are surrounding some of our villages. It is becoming
difficult even to walk to our upland farms and forest; companies do
not allow us to pass through their plantations.

The government said that oil palms will bring economic benefits to
everybody but, as oil palm plantations expand, we feel that we are
becoming poorer and poorer, and there will be no future for our
children in this place.  On the other hand, we do hope that with the
support of different organizations and institutions we may be able to
stop oil palm from further expanding.  If you have the time of reading
our geotagged reports you would get a better idea of the tragedy we
are facing.  It is not easy to explain all of this with just an e-mail

Please and, again, support our petitions, share them with friends and
post them in your Face Book page.  We will try to collect as many
signatures as we can and we will protocol them both with the concerned
government offices at the national and provincial levels. This is
going to be a major fight for us, and a long-term campaign for our
ALDAW network.

Perhaps, with your support we will be able to win this struggle. We
have faith, we keep hoping and, yet sometimes, we feel discouraged
because we are aware that this is a hot issue: powerful people and big
interests are behind it. Malaysian, Indonesian and Singaporean
enterprises have already entered into joint partnerships with Filipino
oil palm companies.

Well that’s all for now, we will keep all of you updated of any future
development and look forwards to seeing your signatures on the
petitions!

Maraming salamat po

Tisoy (Artiso Mandawa)

ALDAW Chairman