With the rise of investments occurring in the country due to the increasing demand for food and biofuel, and with the nation’s commitment to the ASEAN Economic Integration by 2015, tenure security and rights of farmers are being threatened by issues brought by these expanding agricultural investments. Such issues are the obscure negotiations, non-compliance with the existing policies, and overlapping jurisdiction of agencies. Thus, comes with the realization that investments should be “responsible;” and consequently, a set of principles on responsible agricultural investment (rai) was proposed by CSOs that will serve as a guide and reference for the promotion of responsible agricultural investment in the country.

Taking into consideration the regional and national consultations participated by various stakeholders, the relevant documents of the World Committee on Food Security’s (CFS) Voluntary Guidelines on the Governance of Tenure (VGGT), the World Bank’s Principles on Responsible Agricultural Investments (RAI), the zero draft of the on-going CFS process, the civil society’s case studies on large-scale land acquisitions, assessment of the status of Philippine agriculture, and the land related laws of the Philippines, came out the seven rai principles:

Principle 1: Responsible agricultural investments has the free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC) of communities that will be affected by investments

Principle 2: Responsible Agricultural Investment upholds land tenure security and respects human rights

Principle 3: Responsible Agricultural Investment settles disputes in a fair, effective, and timely manner

Principle 4: Responsible Agricultural Investment uses natural resources sustainably, contributing to climate change mitigation and adaptation

Principle 5: Responsible Agricultural Investment respects women, cultural heritage, landscapes, traditional knowledge, and customary laws

Principle 6: Responsible Agricultural Investment improves the livelihood of men and women, and safeguards people’s food security and nutrition

Principle 7: Complementary policies and programs support Responsible Agricultural Investment

This set of principles has been submitted to the Philippine Development Forum for possible endorsement to CFS as the Philippine input to the global consultation on responsible agricultural investments.