Land, Mining

and other resource use-related disputes
(Mediation experience in Luzon)

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It is with great pleasure that I present to you MedNet’s annual magazine, The Mediator. The focus for this year’s issue is on agricultural land and mining disputes in Luzon.

The Philippines has been beset by land and resource use-related disputes since the Spanish colonial period. This stems from indiscriminate land-grabbing, faulty land titling, corruption, and weaknesses in the government’s agrarian reform program.

In addition to the land and resource use-related disputes, there are also conflicts which arise from mining. Mining is an extractive process of obtaining mineral which are usually processed and used by industries. However, when done irresponsibly, mining can do more harm than good; it can cause displacement of people and communities, pollution, erosion, loss of biodiversity and contamination of soil, groundwater and surface water by chemicals from mining processes.

The first article for this issue is about a land-dispute which started out with heightened emotions and endless debates on whether the renter of a small piece of land is obliged to pay the amount that the owner requests. Amidst the lack of silver lining in this situation, a “miracle” happened which led to the settlement of this case.

The second article discuses cases presented during a roundtable discussion in 2014 which highlights mediation experiences in the context of indigenous peoples’ application for Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title, a transportation case, a land titling case, and a water supply conflict of an urban poor community.

​The third and last article is about environmental mediation with particular application to mining conflicts. This article has already been used as part of the author’s thesis and published in the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Journal, Vol. 38, Nos. 1 and 2.

The cases mentioned in this article will give us the experiences and context of Luzon in terms of mediating conflicts on land, resource use, and the environmental in general. I hope that through this issue, we can inspire more people to join the advocacy for promoting sustainable peace not only in Luzon, but in the whole country as well.

A MESSAGE FROM THE EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

by: Rachel S. Aquino