Philippines


The Asian Farmers Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA), which serves as the Asia Regional Focal Point, leads the Philippines National Land Observatory (NLO), together with core partners Asian NGO Coalition for Sustainable Rural Development (ANGOC), Philippine Association for Interfaith Dialogue (PAFID), and Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Samahan sa Kanayunan (PAKISAMA).

Most of the land data available on agriculture, agrarian reform, and indigenous peoples’ lands is collected by the various departments managing these sectors, but civil society and farmer organisations often conduct their own data-gathering activities, sometimes to validate the government data and other times to come up with their own set of data on specific issues. Since there are already several of these land monitoring initiatives at national level, the Philippines NLO provides a platform through which they can build their capacity to collect and analyse primary level data, and then share it among all key stakeholders, thus ensuring there is continuity and synergy in the collection of data.

Arable land in the Philippines covers over 40% of its total land area, and is predominantly dedicated to rice, corn, sugar, vegetables, and commercial plantations for pineapple, banana, and palm oil. As the fifth most mineralised country in the world, with 30% of land believed to contain metallic mineral deposits, including nickel, cobalt, silver, gold, and copper, a great deal of mining investment has taken place. However, this has resulted in catastrophic environmental damage, and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the agency supervising the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), has now clamped down on mining operations to address this.

The Philippines has a long history of struggles for equal access and ownership of its rich and fertile land and ownership of land has been highly-regulated since 1986. Although it is reserved for persons or entities considered Filipino, leasing of land is allowed on a long-term basis as an option for foreigners or foreign corporations with more than 40% foreign equity in order to encourage foreign investment.

What are National Land Observatories?

NLOs are funded activities at country level. They initiate decentralised tasks and strive for more inclusive participation of local partners in collecting, managing, and reviewing land data, thereby promoting transparency and accountability in decision-making processes over land and investments in their countries. 

NLOs are an important tool which:

  • Provide an opportunity for information-sharing and dialogue within existing multi-stakeholder platforms
  • Facilitate policy influence at national level (where most land governance decisions are made)

Are you interested in establishing a National Land Observatory in your country? Or are you part of an independent land governance structure or initiative that could benefit from our support? If so, we invite you to get in touch!

Find out more about large-scale land acquisitions (LSLAs) in the Philippines through our map, dataset, and charts below.

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Kaliwa Dam, Philippines

Kaliwa Dam demonstration

Use customisable filters to explore the web-based geographic information systems (GIS) map for information about land deals from global down to regional and country level.

Search the dataset through pre-configured entry points where deals have been grouped by common shared attributes (such as nature of investment, region, or investor), filter information according to your line of interest, or drill down to single deals where you can provide feedback and start a discussion through comments.

Generate your own infographics using a wide selection of charts to illustrate information about deals, such as the global flow of transnational land acquisitions, the total size and number of deals, and a breakdown of deals according to sector and interest. 

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Philippines country profile

This detailed country profile presents the Land Matrix data for large-scale land acquisitions in the Philippines.

Download it here.

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