Update from ALDAW:
The CSO letter to the EU has now been fully finalised, with 197 signatories, of which 18 are from the Philippines and amongst these 4 are from Palawan-based organisations and federations.
The final version of the letter here. There is a link to the letter and short article on FoEE's website http://www.foeeurope.org
197 signatories responded. This is a good start which, hopefully, may allow us to call for a more active engagement of Filipino Civil Society members in the ongoing advocacy efforts against oil palm expansion nation-wide. The letter will be sent by email to MEPs, by FoEE, today.
However challenges persist on how to confront and respond to massive oil palm expansion in the Philippines and these will require more concerted and focused efforts by national and Manila-based NGOs, as well as building stronger advocacy alliances and partnerships between Palawan and Mindanao NGOs, POs and indigenous advocacy organisations.
Whether we like it or not, as of now, Filipino civil society responses to the booming of oil palm industry has been weak. On the other hand, indigenous peoples and marginal farmers, through their direct engagement, are gaining, day by day, an in-depth understanding of the impact of palm oil plantations on their life. The magnitude of the problem is such, and the forces behind it so powerful, that local communities are encountering serious difficulties in challenging large-scale plantations without the support and mobilization of NGOs and civil society at large.