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Journal article

Can the wrongs be righted? Prospects for remedy in the Philippine oil palm agro‐industry

A critique of the shift towards procedural governance fixes for intractable issues provoked by land‐based investments, such as in the oil palm agro‐industry.

Rasmus Kløcker Larsen / Published on 21 May 2018

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Larsen, R. K., Dimaano, F. R. and Pido, M. D. (2018). Can the wrongs be righted? Prospects for remedy in the Philippine oil palm agro-industry. Development and Change, 0(0). DOI:10.1111/dech.12416

This article critiques this shift towards procedural governance fixes, drawing on theories of the legitimising function of corporate responsibility and mechanisms of elite capture in agrarian states.

The authors contrast the ambition of remedy with local reality in one controversial oil palm project in Palawan Province, the Philippines, showing that it was operated by companies, banks, agencies and politicians who either lacked the capacity to rein in the project once it became evident that it was causing harm to farmers, or showed no interest in doing so.

As one of the first detailed examinations of the growing oil palm sector in the Philippines, the study adds to understanding of the shifting nature of elite capture through transnational agro‐industry. It also shows that the remedies discourse remains rooted in colonial doctrines and neoliberal constructs, and thus tends to deflect attention away from more appropriate harm prevention strategies.

The authors argue that functional remedies will only arise once states and companies confront competing land and resource claims and relinquish more control over new procedures to local and indigenous communities.

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SEI author

Rasmus Kløcker Larsen

Team Leader: Rights and Equity

SEI Headquarters

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