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Palawan Oil Palm Plantations and Land Grabbing , Philippines

In the island of Palawan, oil palm plantations displace indigenous people who lose their livelihood. This in a Biosphere Reserve. Local support from Catholic Church.


In 1990 the Island of Palawan was declared “Man and Biosphere Reserve” by UNESCO. Considered the ‘last ecological frontier’ of Philippines, it preserves the largest contiguous forest block in the country. However, in recent years mining projects and oil palm plantations in south Palawan are posing a threat on environment and local communities.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Palawan Oil Palm Plantations and Land Grabbing , Philippines
State or province:Southern Palawan Province; Palawan Island
Location of conflict:Municipalities of Soforino Española, Brooke’s Point, Bataraza, Rizal, Quezon, Aborlan and Narra.
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Management)
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Land acquisition conflicts
Plantation conflicts (incl. Pulp
Specific commodities:Palm oil
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The Filipino Government has estimated that 15,000 – 20,000 ha of south Palawan will be dedicated to oil palm plantation. In 2015, about 6,000 ha have already been converted.

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Project area:15,000-20,000
Level of Investment:11,580,000
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:15,000
Start of the conflict:2007
Company names or state enterprises:Agumil Philippines, Inc (AGPI)
Palawan Palm & Vegetable Oil Mills Inc (PPVOMI)
Agusan Plantations Group from Malaysia - Parent company of AGPI and PPVOMI
Cavite Ideal International Construction and Development Corporation (CAVDEAL) from Philippines
Green Power Palawan
Relevant government actors:Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)
Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO)
Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD)
National Commission on Indigenous Peoples’ (NCIP)
Palawan Provincial Office of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP)
Palawan Palm Oil Industry Development Council (PPOIDC)
Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA)
Philippine Oil Palm Development Office (PODO)
International and Finance InstitutionsLand Bank of the Philippines from Philippines - Financing of smallholder farmers
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:- Ancestral Land/Domain Watch, ALDAW: [email protected];;
- Coalition against Land Grabbing (CALG)
- Rainforest Rescue (
- World Rainforest Movement (
- ICCA Consortium (
- Survival International (
- Bishop Pedro Arrigo
- Environmental Legal Assistance Centre (
- Palawan NGOs Network Inc. (
- Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (
- On-line campaigns and petitions:;
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Local ejos
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Religious groups
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
Official complaint letters and petitions
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Food insecurity (crop damage), Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Health ImpactsVisible: Other Health impacts
Potential: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Other environmental related diseases
Other Health impactsChemicals in oil palm plantations
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Other socio-economic impacts
Other socio-economic impactsCrop pests, exacerbation of rural poverty, decrease in numbers of non-timber forest products, loss of medicinal plants, violations of indigenous' peoples rights
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Migration/displacement
Development of alternatives:- Implementation of more restrictive regulations on oil palm development to halt deforestation, habitat destruction, food scarcity, and violation of indigenous peoples’ rights.
- Moratorium over oil palm plantations.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:The project is still operative and on going, although there is resistance.
Sources & Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP)
[click to view]

Provincial Ordinance No. 739-04, Palawan

Executive Order no.23: the nationwide ban on the cutting of trees in natural and residual forest
[click to view]

Presidential Degree (PD) No. 1468: "Revised Coconut Industry Code"
[click to view]

Certificate of Precondition of the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act 8371 (IPRA): section 59

Strategic Environmental Plan (SEP) for Palawan Act (Republic Act 7611)
[click to view]

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

The Palawan Oil Palm Geotagged Report 2013 (Part I). ALDAW and Rainforest Rescue.
[click to view]

‘The emerging oil palm agro-industry in Palawan, the Philippines: Livelihoods, environment and corporate accountability’. Stockholm Environment Institute, Working Paper 2014-03.
[click to view]

The Palawan Oil Palm Geotagged Report 2013 (Part II). ALDAW and Rainforest Rescue.
[click to view]

WRM, Philippines: The increasing menace of oil palm plantations in Palawan (2012)
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

Informative note of the National Commission of Indigenous Peoples
[click to view]

ICCA Consortium
[click to view]

World Rainforest Movement
[click to view]

[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

VIDEO: 'Oil pal aggression on Palawan UNESCO Mand & Biosphere Reserve' (ALDAW)
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Andreia Francés Silva, Master Gestión Fluvial Sostenible y Gestión Integrada de Aguas, Asignatura ‘Ecología política y gestión de Aguas’
Last update18/08/2019
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