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A. Brown / Nakeen Corporation palm oil plantation and human rights violations in Opol, Misamis Oriental, Philippines


In 1991 the Paras family (later Paras Machinery Works Corp) obtained a Forest Land Grazing Agreement in Opol, Misamis Oriental Province, for 520 ha for 25 years, displacing those currently living on the land, disregarding their sacred sites, and eroding their traditions. In 2002, following years of petitions to regain their lands, the indigenous tribe, Higaonon Lumad, obtained a Community-Based Forest Management (CBFM) contract that guaranteed their long-term right to stay on the land. In 2011, the lease to Paras was canceled – but one month prior Paras had signed the land rights over to Nakeen Corp (NC), a wholly owned subsidiary of A Brown Company Inc. (BRN), the land merely switched corporate hands.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:A. Brown / Nakeen Corporation palm oil plantation and human rights violations in Opol, Misamis Oriental, Philippines
State or province:Bukidnon and Misamis Oriental provinces
Location of conflict:Dalirig, Kalabugao, Impasug-ong, Opol
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Management)
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Deforestation
Land acquisition conflicts
Specific commodities:Palm oil
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Opol: 600 ha which will yield 13,000 tons of Fresh Fruit Bunches annually, and employ 209 people. Production is scheduled for 2014, and the entire crop is to be directly sold to ABERDI.

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Project area:1354
Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:2002
Company names or state enterprises:A. Brown Company Inc from Philippines
A. Brown Energy and Resources Development, Inc. (ABERDI) from Philippines
Nakeen Corporation from Philippines
Relevant government actors:Department of Natural Resources
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Tingalan Farmers’ Asssociation (KMBT), Pangalasag, Kalumbay Regional Lumad Organization, Pesticide Action Network Asia and the Pacific (PAN AP), Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), Asian Peasant Coalition (APC), Peasant Movement of the Philippines
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Local ejos
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of mobilization:Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Health ImpactsVisible: Accidents, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Malnutrition, Occupational disease and accidents, Deaths, Other environmental related diseases
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Increase in violence and crime, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Specific impacts on women, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Criminalization of activists
Deaths, Assassinations, Murders
Violent targeting of activists
Development of alternatives:Kalumbay Regional Lumad Organization :
1. To call for the stoppage of the Nakeen Corp./ABERDI Oil Palm Plantation
operations in the villages of Tingalan and Bagocboc for
A. the area is the Higaonons’ ancestral domain,
B. Free, Prior, and Informed Consent among the Higaonons was not secured
C. Planting operations have been affecting the sources of food
2. To call for the end of the human rights violations committed by NakeenCorp./ABERDI personnel against individuals or groups who oppose their entry to the community
3. To call for the respect of the sacred traditions and cultures of their ancestors in their ancestral domain.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:The project continues and the company hopes to expand operations in the region.
Sources & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

KALUMBAY Regional Lumad Organization, 2011, 'An initial paper on the Nakeen Corp./ABERDI Oil Palm Plantationin Opol, Misamis Oriental, Philippines'
[click to view]

PAN Ap, 2012, 'The Real Trespassers: Landgrabbing in the Name of Palm Oil in Southern Philippines'
[click to view]

Villanueva, 2011 'Oil Palm Expansion in the Philippines'
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

A.Brown Company, INC, 'Projects: Agribusiness'
[click to view]

Philippine Revolution, 'Oil palm plantations evict Higaonon minorities'
[click to view]

Pesticide Action Network Asia & the Pacific, 'International petition to save farmers and indigenous peoples of Southern Philippines from oil palm expansion launched'
[click to view]

Other comments:A company accident involving a potentially overloaded 6x6 carrying workers to plantation sites killed 9 and injured 53. The company covered the victim’s hospital bills, but has neglected to follow through with long-term promises following the accident (such as compensating now-single parent households school costs and physical therapy for those maimed). On October 12, 2012, an armed motorcyclist gunned down Pangalasag chair Gilbert Paborada, making good on ABCI’s multiple death threats if he did not cease his organizations’ opposition.
Meta information
Contributor:Aliza Tuttle
Last update08/04/2014
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