Non-ownership of land by non-nationals is indeed quite becoming obsolete. Filipinos can buy land, real estate or farm, in the U.S., in Australia, or anywhere half in the world today. But wait a minute. Let’s scrutinize them because we have indications of twists to them as proposed here in the Philippines.
We Filipinos cannot buy forestland in Australia, or in the U.S, or anywhere else, or people there must be insane. An Asian or an African Pedru buying private land owned by an American Pedru, or the other way around, that’s how it is but not land owned by everybody – or public domain.
Correct me if I’m mistaken, I might not be updated, but last time I knew, before any portion of public land can be utilized, especially by the private sector for agriculture it has to be declared Alienable and disposable by Congress.
Concession in that regard, also granted by congress, as in Forestry [logging] concession, has already existed. Concession, same as lease, is not ownership. They are not covered by land retention limit and land reform. Concession is economic exploitation of public land allowed for a specific period of time. The old form of exploitation of public land, more particularly forestland, is farther advanced or furtherance by the Billion Trees Act authored by Congressman Genaro Alvarez Jr and Congressman Jose de Venecia II of the lower house of Congress.
As we have seen, this bill went through smooth passage in congress with some radical left supporting it actually. Squatters, soldiers and policemen, church people, everybody may now exploit our forest lands. That’s how the authors explained it. But that one day Filipinos will wake up to find one giant private entity operating thousands or even millions of hectares of forestland for agriculture, well, that’s reality made possible by this Billion trees Act.
Congress, in passing the Billion Trees Act of 2007, is passing direct control of Public lands to the Executive Branch of government — to Malacanang Palace through its arm the Department of Energy and Natural Resources [DENR]. Whoever is interested in Philippine public land should go to them instead of Congress, that’s what the law says now.
Let’s go straight to the heart of the matter – Biofuels as one solution to save mother Earth. I believe we have a very, very legitimate issue there. Biofuels is a renewable source of energy, one solution to fossil fuels crisis. It will also bring about a cleaner environment. Now comes Jatropha Curcas for bio-diesel. Jatropha is projected at 5 metric tons of harvest, per hectare-per year at best. As we can see, same with Cassava, Jatropha cannot compete with crops like rice, corn and sugarcane in term of income for farmers. In short, people are not throwing away what they have at present just for Jatropha Curcas. Moreover, for investor to buy or to lease land just for Jatropha or Cassava is not economically feasible. Promoters of Jatropha have their eyes focused at they see are cheaper – public lands. They cannot do it in their own backyard. They cannot do it in advanced and developed countries; perhaps they can do it in third world countries. With the Billion trees Act investors need not buy land. Vast territories can now be possibly exploited for agriculture, for 50 years, for almost a token.
[Jatropha is good only where no other agriculture is economically socially feasible as in arid regions.]
Why cannot [Philippine] State do it for itself thus for its people, IF it must do it? The answer is obvious. Bureaucrat won’t make money for his /her personal keep, or make money that maybe he/she can stash secretly in an account somewhere else. That would be easy money acting like Real-estate broker for moneyed people incidentally, or most likely, foreigners… or, perhaps, be in secret partnership with them laway lang ang puhunan. This one does not leave money trail, just some big questions where had one got money to buy so much shares of stock! Are not they familiar old stories for Filipinos? [If you’ve been to rallies of activists and you don’t get what they mean by phrases like down with Bureaucrat capitalism, well, now you know the meaning of one. Simply stated it means one is in government to become rich by using government position to push for personal or selfish interests. But they are all about politics and economics.
Let’s talk about environment. War against Global warming and dirty air…is not that becoming just a horse for some greed here? I can’t see trees and Reforestation in Jatropha Curcas and Cassava. Maybe its me my eyes are twisted or crossed.