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Czech Embassy project addressed land-grabbing in Leyte

Czech Embassy financed in 2018 the implementation of the project “Reclaiming the Land Tenure Rights of Human Rights Defenders from Landgrabbing in Leyte”, carried out by an Philippino NGO Kaisahan. The project in the amount of 485.000 PHP was financed from the programme Transition of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic.

Poverty in Leyte province in Eastern Visayas can be directly attributed to the persistent feudalistic tendencies of landownership in the province. Even if the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) already awarded land titles to tenant farmers more than 20 years ago, the big landowners refused to allow the peaceful transfer of these lands to their former farmworkers. Most of the landowners in Leyte hail from political dynasties who have maintained their properties and influence for decades, despite of social equity measures such as CARP. They disregarded land distribution, thereby committing land-grabbing from these poor farmworkers who technically owned the land through the CARP. The land rights problems in Leyte have also been attributed to the inefficiency and corruption within the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR).  Many of these tenant farmers were already awarded with land ownership titles under agrarian reform (CLOAs) more than 20 years ago but were not able to occupy or be installed on their land due to the lack of political will of the DAR and the continued opposition of their former landowners. These farmers were thus deprived of the opportunity to earn more from their awarded land by being forced to remain as farmworkers of their former landlords.

This fueled KAISAHAN to continue working for land rights in Leyte province where it facilitated installation of almost 100 farmers into landholdings. Actual installation of farmers inside their awarded land marked the final stage of the land distribution process under the CARP, making them bonafide landowners. With the renewed vigor of the local Department of Agrarian Reform and the local Philippine National Police (PNP), the agrarian reform beneficiaries, the former farmworkers are now peacefully installed and in possession of their own lands and can be rightfully called new landowners.

Kaisahan provided communities with knowledge and skills to support them in their transition from farmworkers to owner-cultivators and enterprene. It also conducted a capacity building activity on Rights and Obligations Training - Contracts and Negotiations, Access to support services post land distribution, and; Organizational Development Planning (ODP) and Basic Management and Systems.


Kaisahan Land-grabbing Project in Leyte