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Martin Laurence G.

Plasabas BSGE 5-1

Philippines Thailand

Overview Overview
The political uncertainty and public protests in 2009–2010
Rural-to-urban migration and lack of access to land and have slowed Thailand‘s progress and emphasize the need
housing by the poor has led to the swelling of squatter for the government to ensure that the property rights of
colonies or informal settlements in public and privately all citizens are recognized and that local communities
owned lands in urban and peri-urban areas. participate in and benefit from the sustainable
Unequal access to land and natural resources by poor people development of the country‘s natural resources.
is a key driver of conflict and an obstacle to national In an effort to address high percentages of tenancy and
development, fueling social unrest and armed uprisings. landlessness, the country embarked on a 20-year Land
Indigenous peoples are marginalized and have been pushed Titling Program (LTP) that upgraded the land rights of and
out of their ancestral lands by the government for issued title deeds to large portions of the country‘s
infrastructure projects, and by private farming interests and population.
natural resource concession holders. Local communities with insecure tenure or unrecognized
The Constitution recognizes the rights of indigenous peoples land rights lack the bargaining power and the skills and
to their customary ownership of ancestral lands and domains, experience to negotiate with investors to secure local
and the right to self-determination of the Muslim minority, participation in and control of development projects and
through the creation of an autonomous region in Mindanao. an appropriate share of the benefits.
Despite this legislation and various land reforms, however, In addition, the program did not address the rights of
the majority of rural people remain landless, and there is a occupants of the country‘s forestland, a good portion of
swelling urban population living in informal settlements. which has been settled and cultivated by local
Outdated land administration laws, an inefficient land communities for generations.
administration and adjudication infrastructure, and a poor The rights of many forest communities are insecure, and
land information system have resulted in problems of encroachment of forestland for cultivation is the leading
fraudulent, overlapping and duplication of land titles and to cause of deforestation and degradation of forest
widespread land-grabbing. Under the 1987 Constitution, all resources.
public domain lands and natural resources belong to the However, Thailand faces continuing challenges in the areas
State. of land rights and natural resource governance.
Public domain lands are classified into agricultural, forest or Natural-resource degradation is a concern in Thailand;
timber, mineral lands, and national parks; only public urbanization, industrialization, corruption, and population
agricultural lands are alienable or may be subject of private growth strain the country‘s natural resource base.
ownership. In addition to forest degradation, the country‘s water
The Philippines is an archipelago of 7,107 islands covering resources are ineffectively managed, unevenly distributed
300,000 square kilometers (30 million hectares) – 298,170 and increasingly polluted.
square kilometers of land and 1,830 square kilometers of While some areas have developed community forest
water. programs, participatory forest management has not
Its participatory irrigation efforts in the 1970s, its early matured in Thailand as an approach to sustainable use of
successes with community-based coastal resource forest resources.
management on Apo and Sumilon islands and its legislation At a national level, the country still awaits final adoption of
on social and later community forestry provide models for the Community Forest Act, which will give some forest
much of Asia. communities the right to enter into contracts with the
Forest Department for regulated userights.
Land The mining law and regulatory framework do not address
land rights and investors may negotiate directly with
Land Use landholders for access to land.
Land degradation exacerbates the effects of natural 1 Based
respectively on Philippine Government Statistics as of 2009 LAND
and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United
In the same period, the state allocated 3.7 million hectares of
Nations 2010 Global Forestry Statistics.
public land to 1.5 million beneficiaries, who received either
The Philippines is an archipelago of 7,107 islands covering freehold title or use-rights recognized by formal law (Suehiro
300,000 square kilometers (30 million hectares) – 298,170 2007; Giné 2004; Childress 2004).
square kilometers of land and 1,830 square kilometers of Much of the land occupied by indigenous tribes is classified as
water. state forestland, and while the current law does not grant the
It is also one of the world‘s hotspots, with a large number of tribes automatic rights under the formal law, politicians have
endangered and threatened species making it a global called for some form of regularization of collective rights, and
conservation priority area. the pending Community Forest Bill provides a contractual
The country‘s labor force is around 38 million people, or framework for participatory forest management and attendant
60.1% of the total population age 15 and over, of whom 34% rights of forestland access and use (Vejjajiva 2008; Childress
are in agriculture, 15% in industry, and 51% in services 2004; USDOS 2006; USDOS 2008; Liddle 2008).
(2008). Programs have been designed to upgrade the 5year use-rights
2 Group of countries identified as representing more than and Sor Por Kor (SPK) 4-01 certificates (giving possession rights
two-thirds or 70% of all (known) life forms and majority of to land allotted by the Land Reform Committee) held by some
the tropical rainforests, coral reefs and other priority forestland dwellers to title deeds, and the Prime Minister‘s
systems. Statement of the Council of Ministers at the end of 2008
In 2003, there was 15,500 square kilometers of irrigated land. specifically identified the need to accelerate the issuance of
The Philippines is recognized as one of the world‘s 17 mega- land rights certificates to farmers and communities living on
diversity countries2, with more than 50,000 species of flora state land that is no longer forestland.
and fauna (more than 65% of which are endemic). The priorities include government initiatives to: protect and
conserve farmland with developed irrigation infrastructure;
Land Distribution rehabilitate soil quality; provide land for poor farmers through
In Metro Manila, the largest urban center, more than 50% of the establishment of land banks and the acceleration of the
the population (1.4 million households) lives on riverbanks, issuance of land-rights certificates in the form of community
bridges, railroad easements, cemeteries, garbage dumps and land title deeds for poor farmers and communities living on
idle lands. state land that is no longer forestland; and support agricultural
While considerable swaths of land have been redistributed, development in the form of agricultural estates.
the most contentious private agricultural lands, which are Thailand‘s land administration services are renowned for their
also the most productive and fertile, remain with wealthy efficiency and transparency and are considered a model for the
private landowners. region (Childress 2004; Glenn and Johnson 2005; UNESCAP
With an estimated urban population of 58.6 million people, n.d.). The Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives operates
more than one-third of all people live in informal settlements through its departments: the Agricultural Land Reform Office,
or slum areas as squatters. Royal Irrigation Department, and Land Development
In the rural sector, there are an estimated 2.9 million small Department.
farms that average 2 hectares and 13,681 large private The state can only expropriate land pursuant to a specific law
landholdings of up to 20,000 hectares. providing for the public interest, including: national defense;
exploitation of natural resources; town and country planning;
Legal Framework promotion and preservation of the quality of the environment;
Presently, of the total land area, 14.19 million hectares agricultural or industrial development; land reform; and
(roughly 47%) are classified as alienable and disposable land conservation of historic sites.
– of which 9.67 million hectares remain devoted to The government can also acquire private land for allocation
agricultural use and 15.8 million hectares (roughly 53%) as either by voluntary sale and purchase or expropriation of idle
forestland. or ceiling-surplus land (KOT 2005a; Childress 2004; Giné 2004).
The Constitution classifies the public domain into agricultural, An estimated 12 million people live and work on Thailand‘s
forest or timber, mineral lands or national parks. forestland; some of these resided on the land prior to its
Alienable and disposable lands shall be classified according to classification as forestland and claim rights to the land under
use as agricultural, residential, commercial, industrial, customary law.
educational, charitable, or as reservations for public and The rights of households occupying land classified as forestland
quasipublic uses are considered less secure, whether or not the occupants have
Of these, only public agricultural lands may be alienable (i.e., certificates granting rights to occupy and use the land.
subject of private ownership) and further classified by law Unregistered rights in areas where there is little danger of land
according to use. expropriation for development or investment are also
The State shall determine by law the size of alienable public considered relatively secure.
lands as well as the specific limits of forest lands and national In areas such as forests where landholders have limited rights
parks. and the formal law prohibits the transfer of land, the formal
Under the Act, public domain lands are classified as either land market is not functioning, and landholders lack cash for
alienable or disposable (i.e., those open to acquisition and investment.
concession) or timber and mineral lands. In regions where traditional practice trumps formal law and
Under the 1987 Constitution, all lands of the public domain the youngest daughter who cares for her parents still receives
belong to the State. the largest share of property, male family members will likely
The 1987 Constitution also provides for: comprehensive land control the use of her land (SIGI/OECD n.d.; Childress 2004;
reform. FAO 2010; Tonguthai et al.
Under this doctrine, title to all lands became vested in the The Agricultural Land Reform Office (ALRO) is responsible for:
Crown, and private ownership was acquired only through allocating land to farmers pursuant to the Agricultural Land
royal grants or decrees. Reform Act; supporting land development in land-reform
State ownership is premised on the Regalian Doctrine (jura areas; establishing Agricultural Land Reform Cooperatives;
regalia), the legal concept employed by the Spanish Crown in providing credit and production inputs; and developing farm
claiming exclusive dominion over the Philippine archipelago and off-farm enterprises.
upon conquest in 1521. The 2004 tsunami created or exacerbated a number of coastal
These laws have yet to be enacted, and the land classification land disputes.
under the 1936 Public Land Act remains in force.
This was continued during United States (US) colonization, INTRA-HOUSEHOLD RIGHTS TO LAND AND GENDER
the Philippine Commonwealth period under the 1935 DIFFERENCES
Constitution, and upon independence in the 1973 and 1987 Historically, Thailand had a matrilineal and matrilocal system
Constitutions. under which the female line controlled family property and
assets.
Tenure Types The Agricultural Land Reform Act of 1975 was enacted in an
Alienable and disposable lands (which include agricultural effort to address the high rate of tenancy in certain regions of
lands and reclassified lands) and privately owned lands the country, the large number of landless households, and the
(based on State grants or laws passed since colonization) are encroachment of public lands for cultivation.
subject to: 1) purchase which vests ownership; or 2) lease The youngest or unmarried daughter who cares for her parents
which vest only the right to occupy and use for the period in their old age generally received the largest share of land and
agreed upon. property.
Under the 1987 Constitution, only public agricultural lands The Prime Minister‘s Policy Statement of the Council of
may be leased up to 1000 hectares to private corporations, Ministers identified government priorities for 2009, including
and leased up to 500 hectares or acquired by purchase, actions in relation to land rights.
homestead or grant of up to 12 hectares by individual.
Farm workers in areas within the retention limit of KEY LAND ISSUES AND GOVERNMENT INTERVENTIONS
landowners and in private agricultural lands yet to be While the Land Titling Program succeeded in registering about
acquired by the government are granted leasehold rights 22% of the total land area, the project was limited to
with a 75:25 sharing in favor of the farmer-lessee. registration of private land, and occupants of forestland were
The Public Land Act and other special laws grant land patents not eligible to participate.
(e.g., homestead, sales or free patents) and concessions The Constitution specifically states that land distribution shall
vesting ownership in individuals and private corporations be fair and provide farmers with rights to land for farming (KOT
upon fulfillment of certain requirements. Constitution 2007).
Forest lands, including mineral lands and national parks, All land not held in private ownership is considered to be
belong to the State subject to usufruct and resource vested in the state (KOT Land Code 1954; KOT 2006b).
utilization rights under certain conditions. SECURING LAND RIGHTS Private land rights in Thailand are
Customary ownership rights over ancestral lands are acquired through purchase, lease and inheritance.
recognized in the Constitution and Indigenous Peoples‘ Rights The Land Code identifies various tenure types, including
Act. ownership and use rights.
Under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law, farmer- On average, land registration procedures require less than a
beneficiaries are granted: 1) full or absolute ownership in the day and cost about 1% of the property‘s value (World Bank
form of Emancipation Patents upon full payment of 2008; Childress 2004; Giné 2004; Burns 2004).
amortizations; or 2) non-absolute ownership in the form of The program included components dedicated to: land
Certificates of Land Transfer or Certificates of Land surveying and demarcation; adjudication of land rights;
Ownership for those still completing payments. issuance of upgraded and new land titles; and improvement of
In 2003, 64.8% of lands classified as alienable and disposable service-delivery within the Department of Lands.
were privately owned.
In the Philippines, lands are either public domain (State- Land allocation and registration practices often reflect male
owned) or privately owned. control over productive assets; in many cases in Thailand land
Stock ownership under the Stock Distribution Option is is only registered in the name of the male head of household
granted to agrarian reform beneficiaries in large corporate (SIGI/OECD n.d.; Childress 2004; Tonguthai et al.
farms. The Land Code established a national Land Allocation
Committee responsible for identifying land for allocation and
Securing Land Rights reallocation and implementing land reallocation plans for state
Public grants include: 1) land patents (homestead, sales or and private land.
free patents) or leases conferred under special laws; 2) royal Formal rights to land can also be obtained through
grants/decrees issued during the colonial period; 3) titles prescription; after 10 years of continued possession and use of
acquired under agrarian reform laws; 4) title acquired under land, the occupant has the right to apply for ownership rights.
the urban land reform law (which grants the urban poor the About 25% of agricultural land in the Central region is leased,
right to purchase home plots in their existing settlements or while only about 2% of land in the South is leased (KOT Land
resettlement areas); and 5) title in the form of Certificates of Code 1954; KOT 2006b; Giné 2004).
Ancestral Domain Claim (CADC) and Certificates of Ancestral The Act authorizes the committee to: engage in land-use
Land Claims (CALC) acquired by indigenous peoples under the planning; develop programs to support farmers; conduct
Indigenous Peoples‘ Rights Act. surveys; and create plans for the improvement of soil (KOT
Land rights are acquired from the State by public grant or by Land Development Act 1983).
operation of law, or from private transactions or contracts Thailand’s Constitution provides that the state shall adopt land
involving private lands. policies, including policies relating to land use, land
Land rights are acquired by operation of law through distribution, town and country planning, and the sustainable
accretion, prescription, hereditary succession or inheritance, protection of land and other natural resources.
or marriage under the property regime of absolute
community of property (i.e., joint ownership of property DONOR INTERVENTIONS
brought into the marriage or acquired after). With the support of the World Bank and AusAid, Thailand
Land rights are secure insofar as they may be proved or implemented the 20-year Land Titling Program, which ended in
traced back to some State grant or lawful private. 2004.
For private lands, rights may be acquired through voluntary The municipal courts and courts of first instance (trial courts
transactions such as sales and donations, transfer by will, or that are comprised of general courts, juvenile and family
involuntary transfer such as foreclosure or tax sales. courts, and specialized courts) hear disputes relating to land
These transactions are governed by general property and rights.
commercial laws. The Act also provided tenants with opportunities to lease or
Private corporations must be at least 60% Filipino-owned and purchase the land they cultivated and allowed for squatters
may lease land of not more than 1000 hectares for a period and others who had encroached on state land to regularize
of 25 years, renewable for the same term. their rights.
The state can allocate pubic land, including: degraded
INTRA-HOUSEHOLD RIGHTS TO LAND AND GENDER forestland; public common-use lands; voluntarily relinquished
DIFFERENCES idle lands; lands outside the boundaries of permanent forests;
The Magna Carta of Women (2009) grants equal property and land classified as available for allocation by the state.
and inheritance rights to wives and common law spouses, The holder cannot convert the license into a title deed or
and equal access to agrarian and customary lands. transfer the land, except by inheritance (UNHCR 2008; Giné
Although women have the legal right to independently enter 2004; Childress 2004).
into contracts, many financial institutions require the Registered land rights in Thailand are considered secure.
husband or male partner to co-sign loans and financial Preemptive Certificates (NS-2) allow temporary occupation of
contracts; women‘s access to creditis limited to smaller land, and transfers of rights are limited to inheritance.
amounts as they usually have less property to provide as In January 2003, the government of former Prime Minister
collateral. Thaksin Shinawatra implemented the Baan Mankong and Baan
The Women in Development and Nation Building Act (1992) Ua-Arthorn initiatives to provide low-income and poor
expressly grants women, regardless of civil status, the same households with secure land tenure and improved housing.
capacity to act and enter into contracts as men, and equal In rural areas, knowledge of the formal law is limited, and men
treatment in agrarian reform and land resettlement dominate ownership and management of agricultural land.
programs. The balance is public land, which includes: land used by the
The Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law guarantees state; land open to the public; land identified for allocation
women, regardless of civil status, equal rights to own land,
equal shares of farm produce, and representation in advisory under land reform plans (also known as public settlement
and decision-making bodies. land); and forestland.
19–20) However, despite the laws, patriarchal attitudes and The Land Development Department is responsible for macro
deep-rooted stereotypes regarding the role of women persist and local land-use planning, conducting soil surveys and
(The OECD rankings [see Box 3] are based simply on the classifying land for development purposes (KOT 2005b; KOT
question on whether women can own land and property, as 2005a).
indeed they can). The Land Titling Program (LTP) issued freehold title deeds (NS-
Within marriage, the property regime is absolute community 4) to eligible landowners who possessed no documents or
of property – unless a different regime is stipulated in the possessed only preliminary documents, such as Preemptive
marriage settlements – and both spouses jointly administer Certificates and Claim Certificates (NS-2 and SK-1).
family. The land is, however, subject to the formal legal framework
Under property law and under family and succession law, governing land rights.
men and women have equal property rights. The highest percentages of ownership are in the South, where
In case of legal separation, the terms of dissolution of about 83% of land is freehold (KOT Land Code 1954; KOT
community property are determined by guilt, not by. 2006b; Giné 2004).
Married women may make wills without the consent of their In many cases, tribes have occupied the same land for
husband, and dispose of their separate property and share of generations, and, within tribes and neighboring tribes,
community property. customary law governs the rights of access and use of the land.
In practice, men are still the primary property owners, and The Act reaffirmed the state‘s support for the allocation of
some laws and government policies that are neutral on its state and private land to landless and near-landless
face upon implementation work to discriminate against households.
women. NGOs have protested the expropriations of land for public
Tribes in the north and center of the country give women utilities and the seizure of about 1600 hectares of land used by
equal right to land ownership, but it is the men who the Akha indigenous people in Chiangrai Province for
principally administer and manage conjugal properties. construction of a Highland Development Station.
The order of priority of agrarian beneficiaries under the The Department of Public Welfare, also within the Ministry of
Agrarian Reform Law disadvantages women, as they are the Interior, implements land settlement projects that allocate
mostly seasonal farm workers and thus rank third in priority public land to farmers and poor families as part of the social
of distribution. welfare program.
Customary laws practiced in rural areas and by various ethnic Half of Thailand‘s cropped land is under rice cultivation, and
groups generally grant men greater access to land than the country is a leading global exporter of rice (World Bank
women. 2009; USDOS 2010; Trading Economics 2010).

LAND ADMINISTRATION AND INSTITUTIONS LAND ADMINISTRATION AND INSTITUTIONS


Other key land agencies are: 1) the Land Management The Department of Lands (within the Ministry of the Interior) is
Bureau (under DENR) recommends policies/programs for the responsible for land administration in Thailand and operates
administration of alienable and disposable lands; 2) the Land through a system of provincial and district land offices.
Registration Authority issues patents and certificates of title The Act also set the rules for creation of Land Associations
and registers land-transaction documents (a Registry of made up of landowners in readjustment areas and Provincial
Deeds is attached to the Land Registration Authority in every Committees to govern the process (KOT Land Readjustment
city and province); 3) the National Commission on Indigenous Act 2004).
Peoples assists customary peoples in securing title to their Title holders have increased access to institutional credit, and
lands and approves any proposed disposal, utilization, borrowers receive between 75% and 123% more credit than
management or appropriation of ancestral lands; and 4) Local those without land title (KOT 2006b; Pornchokchai 2007; Zhu
Government Units develop land-use and development plans 2006; Burns 2004).
and zoning ordinances. Other parties with interests in the land are also entitled to
It coordinates with the Housing and Land Use Regulatory compensation based on the injury suffered as a result of the
Board for the review of development plans, zoning, and expropriation (KOT Constitution 2007; Reynolds and Flores
settling land-use conflicts; and the National Housing 2009).
Authority for urban resettlement. The Act created the Agricultural Land Reform Office (ALRO) in
The Department coordinates with the Department of the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives to implement
Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for land survey reforms (KOT Agricultural Land Reform Act 1975).
and distribution, and with the Department of Agriculture for
delivery of support services.
Thailand‘s formal law promotes principles of equality and does
LAND MARKETS AND INVESTMENTS not support dominance of either men or women in land
Various government agencies use different bases for ownership or regarding control of land.
valuation, such as market valuation by zone or area for The Land Development Act of 1983 established a national Land
taxation purposes – which can vary between national and Development Committee to help improve the utilization and
local authorities, and valuation according to use for land productivity of the country‘s agricultural land.
conversion or development purposes. Landowners have freehold rights to exclusive use and
Certain lands acquired by public grants and under agrarian possession of their land.
reform laws, such as land patents, emancipation patents or But the effort to limit the size of private holdings and distribute
certificates of land ownership awards, contain restrictions on ceilingsurplus land to landless and near landless households
transfers and mortgage. was not accompanied by the necessary political will or funding
Developers contend that this can only be met by converting ; in the 1975–2003 period, only about 74,000 hectares of
tracts of farmland on the outskirts of urban areas, but the private land were redistributed.
government has banned agricultural land conversions in 2008 In either case, land rights are considered temporary or
due to food security concerns. occupants potentially vulnerable to eviction.
Land valuation systems are multiple, resulting in different Some innovative schemes have emerged to extend land rights
pricings for the same property. to larger numbers of people.
Inefficiencies combined with high land taxes have led to By a 1999 amendment, foreigners investing in the country are
informal land markets, particularly in poor communities. permitted to own residential land so long as the land is used as
Buying, selling, renting and mortgaging of land are governed their residence for at least three years (KOT Land Code 1954;
by general property and commercial laws. KOT Land Code Amendment Act 1999).
Land record systems are unsystematic and unreliable as to About 71% of Thailand‘s agricultural land is held in private
land ownership, locations, boundaries, actual land uses and ownership.
land values. The government created a land committee under the National
The zonal valuation system, especially in rural provinces, is Poverty Reduction Program to hear and resolve disputes.
outdated, resulting in undervaluation of properties. The Land Code imposed ceilings on an individual basis, allowing
This has resulted in informal markets of prohibited land households to have multiple landholdings by registering
transactions. various plots in the names of individual family members.
There is an unmet demand for housing, commercial and Between 36 and 41% of total land in Thailand is classified as
industrial land. agricultural, and 28–33% is classified as forestland.
Many records have been destroyed by war, theft, fire and However, the government was successful in identifying public
water damage, or have been misplaced in the frequent land for distribution and regularizing parcels of public lands
transfers. that had been encroached on.

COMPULSORY ACQUISITION OF PRIVATE PROPERTY RIGHTS TENURE TYPES


BY GOVERNMENT Thailand‘s law defines land as either private or public.
The authority is lodged with the Philippine Congress but The Department is responsible for registering landholdings,
delegated under various laws to national government issuing land titles and land-use certificates, and conducting
agencies, local government units and public utilities involved cadastral surveys.
in infrastructure development. The Land Readjustment Act of 2004 governs processes for land
Just compensation is defined as the full and fair equivalent of re-plotting and development in order to improve land
the property, based on the owner‘s loss at the time of the utilization.
taking, and is a judicial function. The Land Code set a ceiling on landholdings ranging from 8
The taking must be for public use, interpreted broadly by the hectares of agricultural land to 0.8 hectares for residential
courts to be consistent with public welfare or public exigency. holdings.
Private property cannot be expropriated without due process The Act established a national Land Readjustment Committee
and just compensation. charged with developing policy and identifying areas for
The grounds and procedures for expropriation are set forth in readjustment.
the 1987 Constitution and enabling legislation. People tend to take disputes – including those concerning land
and natural resource access and use – to local leaders, village
LAND DISPUTES AND CONFLICT elders and monks.
Large swathes of productive agricultural land, especially in After that point, the state is authorized to purchase any ceiling-
the rice bowl provinces in central Luzon, have been surplus land and distribute it to landless and near-landless
converted for housing, commercial and industrial purposes. households.
Outdated land administration laws, an inefficient land On occasion, the state‘s expropriation of land for infrastructure
administration infrastructure and a poor land information and development projects has been subject to criticism from
system have resulted in widespread problems of fraudulent, members of civil society.
overlapping and duplication of land titles, and have Environmental concerns include land degradation,
contributed to land-grabbing. encroachment into forest areas, depletion of water resources,
Rural-to-urban migration and lack of access to land and and inland water pollution.
housing by the poor have led to the swelling of squatter
colonies or informal settlements on public and privately- LAND DISPUTES AND CONFLICTS
owned lands in urban and peri-urban areas. The formal judicial system of Thailand is well established.
The region is also plagued by localized clan rivalries over land The Department of Cooperative Promotion is responsible for
and resources and political dominance. the allocation of land to landless people and tenants organized
They struggle to uphold their rights under the Indigenous in cooperatives.
Peoples‘ Rights Act, which conflicts with the Regalian Flooding in some urban areas is attributed to rapid
doctrine applied in various laws (e.g., 1995 Mining Act, 1992 urbanization, ineffective implementation of urban land use
National Integrated Protected Areas System Act and Revised planning and deforestation.
Forestry Code). Landholders with an Exploitation Testimonial (NS-3K)
Indigenous peoples are marginalized and have been pushed certificate and Certificates of Use (NS-3) are usually
out of their ancestral lands by the government for beneficiaries of land allocations who have made use of their
infrastructure projects, and by private farming interests and land for a prescribed period of time.
natural resource concession holders. Both private and public land can be leased, with the terms
The latest comprehensive agrarian reform program remains subject to negotiation between the parties.
uncompleted more than 20 years after it was launched in Thailand‘s land administration system is considered a model
1988, and the most productive and fertile lands are still in the for other countries.
hands of private plantation and commercial farm owners.
Unequal access to land and resources is a key driver of LAND USE
conflict, fueling social unrest and armed uprisings. Thailand has a population of 67.3 million (2008), 510,890
For those who have benefited from land distribution, slow square kilometers of land, and 3219 kilometers of coastline.
delivery of support services and infrastructure promised Mortgages are readily available to support land purchase and
under the program has result in suboptimal use of the land. investment in most areas.
There have been various land reform programs since the NGOs reported that the Akha people had lived on the land for
1930s, but none have been effectively implemented. generations and that the state did not consult them regarding
Mass evictions have often resulted in violent confrontations the use of the land for a research facility.
between the squatters and the government or private Within the matrilineal and matrilocal systems, however, male
landowners. family members often exert primary authority over land and
Inconsistent legislation and policy declarations have led to other significant assets.
unsustainable land use and conflict over competing land The Land Code of 1954, as amended, is Thailand‘s primary land
uses. legislation.
The conflict dynamic is further complicated by the activities Sixteen percent of the country‘s land is classified as nationally
of the Abu Sayyaf Group, considered a terrorist group by the protected, including national parks and wildlife reserves.
government with links to Jemaah Islamiya, the Indonesia-
based Al-Qaeda affiliate. LEGAL FRAMEWORK
Apart from budgetary constraints and bureaucratic The following five major pieces of legislation constitute the
inefficiencies, the government is perceived as lacking the core of Thailand‘s land regulation and governance framework.
political will to pursue genuine agrarian reform. While the market suffered after the 1997 Asian economic
The insurgency began in the late 1960s, waged by the Moro crisis, it recovered well, and the country has thriving land sales,
National Liberation Front and presently includes the Moro land rental and land credit markets.
Islamic Liberation Front. About 40% of land was held in private ownership in 1994.
Muslim separatists are engaged in armed rebellion in The Land Code also identifies requirements for cadastral
Mindanao, where six of the country‘s 10 poorest provinces surveys and land titling and registration.
are located.
Despite the creation of the Autonomous Region in Muslim LAND DISTRIBUTION
Mindanao, conflict and instability persist. About 89% of Thailand‘s population is Thai.
Roughly 63% of the country‘s 30 million parcels of land are
KEY LAND ISSUES AND GOVERNMENT INTERVENTIONS registered, and nearly 90% of land transactions are registered.
Recent interventions on urban land reform include: 1) Certificates of Right to Farm (SPK 4-01) are granted to
providing social housing to 710,203 households of informal beneficiaries of land allocations.
settlers (with help from the private sector); and 2) creation of Holders of Exploitation Certificates or Certificates of Use have
the Social Housing Finance Corporation to provide micro- the right to use, possess, sell and transfer their land.
financing for the bottom 30% of the population under the The Act closed a loophole in the land-ceiling provision of the
Community Mortgage Program. Land Code by setting household-level ceilings (versus individual
Project initiatives include: the creation of a more efficient ceilings).
land-records system, and more equitable and uniform The elevated plateaus of the Northeast include forest and
property valuation system; the rationalization and grazing land in addition to cultivated land.
streamlining of land administration agencies; and the
improvement of accessibility to land registry records. LAND MARKETS AND INVESTMENTS
Control over land and resources is often a major strategy for The real estate industry in Thailand developed quickly in the
maintaining political control; traditional politics are oriented 1980s.
toward maintaining elite control over the nation‘s land and Landowners had seven years from the date of the Land Code‘s
other resources. enactment to sell or otherwise dispose of ceiling-surplus land
The government‘s Land Administration and Management (i.e., above ceiling limits).
Project aims to improve tenure security, create an efficient Between 11 and 30% of agricultural land is under some form of
land market and improve public confidence in the land tenancy.
administration system. The Land Code permits foreigners to hold land in lesser
In 2008, the government negotiated the Memorandum of amounts than citizens.
Agreement on Ancestral Domain, aimed at ending the The certificates are non-transferable, although the land itself
rebellion by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and granting can be transferred to another party who then applies for a new
Muslims more freedoms under an expanded autonomous certificate.
region in Muslim Mindanao territory. Private land is owned by individuals, groups, or entities.
The Medium-Term Development Plan 2004–2010 10 includes The holders can mortgage the land and can apply for freehold
asset reforms in agrarian, urban and ancestral lands, and a title.
strategy for Mindanao. The wives‘ families controlled the family land and were the
A central problem, then, is the political economy which primary economic decision-makers.
perpetuates control of economic assets (land, resources) and Land is also accessed through government allocations.
political power by a small grouping of wealthy families. Land held in ownership can be freely transferred and
―The problems of democracy subverted are thus intimately mortgaged.
tied to those of disappearing natural resources and continuing A husband‘s property generally passed to his widow, and both
widespread poverty and inequity‖. sons and daughters inherited land.
The government is promoting area-based clustering of farms A Claim Certificate (SK-1) acknowledges possession of land.
to improve the delivery of agrarian support services. Only about 22% of cultivated land is owned by women.
As in many developing countries with nature-based All land transactions require spousal approval and signature.
economies, land and natural resources are highly politicized in An estimated 1% of total land is pasture.
the Philippines. Titled land tends to command a higher price than untitled land.
In late 2008, the government declared an indefinite The bill gives communities living in the forest prior to 1997 the
moratorium on the conversion of prime agricultural lands. right to enter into agreements with the Forest Department to
In August 2009, Congress extended the implementation of the preserve and manage the forest, but the rights are subject to
Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law until 2014. Forest Department control (Burns 2004; KOT 2005a; Childress
In this context, economic growth can reinforce inequity rather 2004; Giné 2004; Liddle 2008; Vejjajiva 2008).
than reduce it. In some urban and peri-urban areas, for example, developers
After a period of violence, the government and the rebels and prospective residents have entered into land-sharing
have agreed on a ceasefire (AFP 2010). agreements under which the parties agree to terms such as
This has created a dualistic economy, where the welfare of rights of occupancy and responsibility for development (Burns
the elite and the poor majority are often in opposition. 2004; Childress 2004).
The Memorandum was opposed by Christian politicians and In addition, while many residents of informal settlements in
subsequently struck down as unconstitutional by the Supreme urban and peri-urban areas are eligible for regularization of
Court. informal rights, the majority of residents do not have longterm
rights recognized by formal law (Burns 2004; Childress 2004:
DONOR INTERVENTIONS Boonyabancha 2005a).
The Asian Development Bank Country Operations Business 1998; Jamnarnwej n.d.). In urban areas, the principles of formal
Plan for the Philippines 2010–2012 includes investments in: 1) law that support the equal rights of women and men to own
the Irrigation Systems Operation Efficiency Improvement and manage property are most evident.
Project for about 50,000 hectares of irrigated land in
Mindanao and the Visayas; 2) land tenure improvement and COMPULSORY ACQUISITION OF PRIVATE PROPERTY RIGHTS BY
rural infrastructure and agrienterprise development for the GOVERNMENT
poorest provinces in Mindanao and the Visayas, including Sections 41 and 42 of Thailand‘s Constitution protect private
provinces with indigenous communities and Muslim property rights.
minorities under the Agrarian Reform Communities Project II;
FRESHWATER (LAKES, RIVERS, GROUNDWATER)
and 3) land tenure, shelter financing, and basic infrastructure
ADB‘s Water Financing Program 2006– 2010 will provide the
under the Development of Poor Urban Communities Sector
Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment with technical
Project and Metro Manila Urban Services for the Poor Project
support to help create an integrated water management plan
(ADB 2008; ADB 2010).
for the Yom River basin (ADB 2007b.) The Japan International
Active projects include: 1) the Land Administration and
Cooperation Agency (JICA) has been funding a 3-year program
Management Project, in collaboration with the Australian
(through 2010) providing technical support to the Royal
Agency for International Development (AusAID); 2) the
Irrigation Department on irrigation-water management for
Participatory Irrigation Development Project, aimed at
sustainable development and the use of computers for
improving irrigation service delivery and increasing
efficient water management.
agricultural production; and 3) the Second Agrarian Reform
The Commission‘s goals are to: (1) promote and support
Communities Development Project, aimed at improving
coordinated, sustainable and pro-poor development; (2)
tenure security for agrarian reform beneficiaries through
enhance effective regional cooperation;(3) strengthen basin-
infrastructure development and agricultural support services
wide environmental monitoring and impact assessment; and
(World Bank 2010b; World Bank 2010c; World Bank 2010d).
(4) strengthen the Integrated Water Resources Management
Projects include: 1) Growth with Equity in Mindanao, which
capacity and knowledge base of the commission bodies,
includes infrastructure investments under the Barangay
national Mekong committees, line agencies and other
Infrastructure Project and Regional Impact Projects, and
stakeholders.
agricultural support services under the Livelihood
The NWRC is responsible for: (1) proposing water policy; (2)
Enhancement and Peace Program and the Targeted
establishing guidelines for government agencies, state-
Commodity Expansion Project; (2) the Mindanao Initiatives for
enterprises, and other organizations in planning projects for
Peace, aimed at strengthening community-based conflict
construction or development of water resources and approving
management processes in conflict-prone Bangsamoro areas;
and monitoring projects; (3) prioritizing the allocation and
and (3) Microenterprise Access to Banking Services, which
control of water usage from different water resources for
includes agricultural lending to small farmers and housing
different needs; and (4) directing, controlling, and monitoring
microfinance.
and maintaining water quality (GOK n.d./MNRE; KOT 2006a).
At the national level, USAID is investing in improved property
In 2000, the Cabinet recognized the need for: (1) the adoption
rights and land use through the Local Implementation of
of a water law; (2) the creation of water management
National Competitiveness for Economic Growth Project, which
organizations both at national and river basin levels; (3) the
aims to improve the legal and administrative framework on
establishment of efficient and sustainable individual river basin
land titling (USAID 2010a; USAID 2010c).
water use priorities to ensure suitable and equitable water
USAID‘s Country Assistance Strategy Philippines 2009–2013
allocation for all water-use sectors; (4) the formulation of clear
includes programs in poverty reduction, economic growth
directions for water provision and development; (5) water-
acceleration, improved governance and mitigation of security
resource development for farmers; and (6) accelerated
threats.
planning for flood and drought protection, while taking into
USAID is in the process of developing its land strategy (as part
account the analysis of forecast climate change impacts.
of the Country Development Cooperation Strategy/CDCS
At the basin level, the sector suffers from: (1) lack of a legal
process) which should form the basis for future investment
and institutional framework; (2) insufficient efforts to
decisions.
encourage public participation in large-scale projects; (3)
The World Bank Country Assistance Strategy for the
absence of a system of conflict management; and (4) a lack of a
Philippines 2010–2012 focuses on inclusive growth for the
sense of ownership and shared responsibility for using,
poor.
managing and conserving water resources (KOT 2006a).
A key cross-cutting theme is conflict reduction in Mindanao,
The committees are responsible for: (1) providing input on
where local threats to security impact regional stability.
NWRC policies, plans and projects; (2) formulating water
resources management plans; (3) prioritizing water allocation;
FRESHWATER (LAKES, RIVERS, GROUNDWATER) (4) monitoring and evaluating performance of relevant
Active World Bank investments include: 1) the Water agencies; (5) compiling statistics, data, comments and
Resources Development Program for rehabilitation of critical recommendations regarding water resources management; (6)
watersheds; 2) Philippine Local Government Grants for conciliating conflicts; and (7) conducting public relations,
Sanitation Pilots, aimed at improving water quality, sanitation receiving comments and promoting understanding among the
and flood protection; 3) the Improved Access to Water general public of the committee‘s performance.
Services in Metro Manila Project for increased access to piped In particular, dams have been a focal point for disputes over
water supply services for poor households; 4) the National competing water uses and water management (Hirsch 2004;
Program Support for Environmental and Natural Resources Phuwanich and Tokrisna 2007; FER n.d.). Regional water
Management Project for an integrated ecosystem shortages in the Mekong River basin affect millions of people in
management approach in priority watershed areas; 5) Global Northern and Northeastern Thailand, as well as in China‘s
Environment Facility-Manila Third Sewerage Project to Yunan Province, Burma‘s eastern Shan State and Laos‘s
promote capacitybuilding and effective wastewater treatment northern areas.
techniques; and 6) the Laguna de Bay Community Watershed The draft law provides for the participation of people in the
Rehabilitation Project (World Bank 2010c; World Bank 2010d). process of resource governance and for the establishment of
water organizations at the national, river basin and sub-basin
DONOR INTERVENTIONS AND INVESTMENTS USAID levels, including water user organizations (KOT 2006 a; Hirsch
investments include: 1) the Philippine Sanitation Alliance et al.
Project, aimed at reducing public health risks through
improved sanitation and wastewater treatment facilities; 2) GOVERNMENT REFORMS, INTERVENTIONS AND INVESTMENTS
the Philippine Water Revolving Fund Support Program, in The government has identified the following challenges in the
collaboration with the private sector and Japan International water sector: at the national level, (1) the country continues to
Cooperation Agency (JICA), aimed at stimulating private lack a legal framework governing water resources; (2) work by
financing for water infrastructure to meet the country‘s water-related agencies is not coordinated; (3) the budget is
Millennium Development Goals in water and sanitation; and ineffectively implemented; and (4) information about water
3) the Environmental Governance (EcoGov) Project Phase 2, resources development is poorly managed.
which provides technical assistance to local government units, The draft law grants people the right to water for basic
many in Mindanao, to implement programs for reducing domestic uses while promoting: good management;
destructive fishing practices and improving wastewater sustainable and efficient use; and development, protection,
management (USAID 2010b). rehabilitation, and conservation of water resources.
Other agencies include: 1) the Department of Agriculture‘s The Department‘s tasks include: recommending water policies
Bureau of Soils and Water Management and Bureau of and master plans; developing a water resource database and
Fisheries and Aquatic Resources; 2) the Department of GIS network; developing or making recommendations for
Health‘s Environmental Health Services, which enforces improving and rectifying laws, rules and regulations regarding
drinking water quality standards; 3) the Department of national water-resource administrative; disseminating and
Science and Technology‘s Philippine Council for Aquatic and promoting the transfer of technology to conserve and develop
Marine Research and Development; 4) the Department of water resources; and cooperating with foreign countries and
Public Works and Highways for drainage and flood control; 5) international organizations regarding water resources.
the National Irrigation Administration; and 6) the Local Water The state has the authority to: prescribe rules designed to
Utilities Administration, which governs local water districts support and develop the sustainable use of water resources;
and reviews rates charged by local water utilities. ensure that farmers have sufficient water for farming; mitigate
pollution; and improve conditions affecting the health, welfare
TENURE ISSUES and quality of life.
Fishing rights are granted by local government units within The policy supports participation of the public and NGOs in
their municipal waters (up to 15 kilometers from the efficient water management and calls for the development of
coastlines under the Fisheries Code) or special agencies clear guidelines on rights and responsibilities of the various
created by law to administer select bodies of water (e.g., civil and government agencies and groups in national water-
Laguna Lake Development Authority, Palawan Council for management efforts.
Sustainable Development). The Department of Water Resources provides technical and
financial support to the River Basin Committees.
GOVERNMENT REFORMS, INTERVENTIONS AND The Department of Water Resources is responsible for
INVESTMENTS administrative management, development, conservation,
The government has adopted the Philippine Integrated Water rehabilitation, control and oversight of water resources.
Resources Management Plan, which is based on the river In many cases these traditional systems of water management
basin/watershed approach. have merged with or been adopted as part of formal water-
The Plan aims to: integrate land and water resources (surface, resource governance systems managed by River Basin
groundwater and coastal); coordinate all water-related efforts Committees (Sangkapitux et al.
based on a participatory approach that includes users; Hurdles to adoption of legislation have included: concerns
promote equitable access to water supply; restore the health about the lack of stakeholder participation in the process; a
of critical ecosystems; and promote environmental lack of political support for a ministry devoted solely to water
sustainability. resources; issues of pricing and revenue collection; and
concern over the impact of a fee-based system on the poor.
LEGAL FRAMEWORK
Under the 1987 Constitution, all waters and aquatic resources GOVERNMENT ADMINISTRATION AND INSTITUTIONS
belong to the State; the measure and limit of water use for Until 1989, the institutional administration of water resources
irrigation, water supply, fisheries or industry is beneficial use, in Thailand was fragmented across 38 departments under 10
and water use for power generation is allowed for 25 years, ministries, one independent agency and six national
renewable for the same term. committees.
Two targets of the Medium-Term Development Plan are the The goal of the project is to improve the conservation,
reforestation of 1 million hectares of land in 140 priority management and planning of the country‘s water and related
watersheds and providing access to safe drinking water to 200 natural resources (such as forests and aquatic zones).
waterless barangays (villages) (GOP Constitution 1987a, Art.
USAID will soon conduct separate water and environment LEGAL FRAMEWORK
sector assessments as part of developing its overall strategy Thailand‘s Constitution provides that the state shall enact
(as part of the Country Development Cooperation policies with relation to natural resources and the
Strategy/CDCS process) which should form the basis for future environment, including water.
investment decisions. Each of the 25 river basins has a River Basin Committee whose
Overexploitation of forest resources and inappropriate land- members include government officials, state enterprise
use practices have disrupted the hydrological condition of representatives, elected representatives of local government
watersheds, resulting in accelerated soil erosion, siltation of units, water user groups, and stakeholders who work or live in
rivers and valuable reservoirs, increased incidence and the river basins.
severity of flooding and decreasing water supply. Governance of the Mekong‘s resources is currently insufficient
Without new investment in water supply infrastructure, to address upstream/downstream and lateral riparian issues,
future projections of water requirements suggest that water including the allocation of water for multiple uses between
availability will be marginal or unsatisfactory in eight of the 19 different countries and within each country.
major river basins before 2025, and most major urban centers Acting on the 2000 Cabinet Resolution to accelerate enactment
will experience water deficits. of water legislation, the Department of Water Resources began
a new drafting process in 2002 which included extensive public
RESOURCE QUANTITY, QUALITY, USE AND DISTRIBUTION consultation.
The Philippines has extensive water resources, including The Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment has
31,000 hectares of rivers; 200,000 hectares of lakes; 19,000 overall responsibility for management of water resources.
hectares reservoirs; and 246,063 hectares of swamplands. Thailand‘s rapid economic growth has strained the country‘s
water resources as various needs – agricultural expansion,
GOVERNMENT ADMINISTRATION AND INSTITUTIONS industrial growth and urban growth – compete for water.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources In other villages, local leaders are responsible for managing
(DENR) and the National Water Resources Board are the lead water resources and mediating conflicts (KOT 2006a;
agencies charged with protection of water resources. Sangkapitux et al.
DENR‘s Environment Protection Bureau – Water Quality The government has restructured the governance of the water
Management Section – implements the Clean Water Act, sector and established River Basin Committees, but has not yet
while its Forest Management Bureau handles watershed enacted a comprehensive water law.
management. The first draft water law (1993) introduced a water permit
Women are relied upon to provide water for household needs system and possible fee structure and proposed to establish a
while men make many of the decisions about water resource new Ministry for Water Resources.
management and development. The agency also funded a study of sustainable livelihoods and
The 2004 Clean Water Act aims to protect the country‘s water water management in the Lower Songkram Basin.
bodies from land-based pollution sources and to establish a The Ministry includes the Department of Water Resources,
framework for water-quality management. Department of Groundwater Resources and the Department of
Under the Water Code, a water permit is required for use Pollution Control.
beyond domestic purposes – irrigation, community use,
commercial uses (e.g., power generation and fisheries), Thailand is a member of the Mekong River Commission and
industrial use and recreational use. signatory to the 1995 Mekong River Basin Agreement, which
provides for joint management of the shared river resources
TREES AND FORESTS
and development of the river‘s economic potential.
The country‘s total renewable water resources are estimated
The Order pronounces CBFM as a strategy for forest
at 410 cubic kilometers per year (total internal water resources
management and provides mechanisms for its
are 210 cubic kilometers).
implementation – ―WHEREAS, entrusting the responsibility
In 1989, the government created the National Water Resource
for forest rehabilitation, protection, and conservation to the
Committee (NWRC), which is chaired by the Prime Minister and
community of stakeholders and affording them equitable
includes members of relevant ministries appointed by the
access to the forest and coastal resources are viable
Prime Minister.
forestland management strategies as borne by the experience
Implementation of water management plans is undertaken by
of the DENR and various supporting agencies‖ and in Section
district and Tambon-level (subdistrict) offices (KOT 2006a;
1, ―Community-based forest management (herein referred
Hirsch et al.
to as CBFM) shall be the national strategy to achieve
In some villages, surface and ground water are open-access
sustainable forestry and social justice.‖ Various department
resources, and access is not regulated.
administrative orders have been issued by the Department of
Thailand‘s villages have developed water management systems
Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to implement
that acknowledge differences in water availability, geography
CBFM: DENR Administrative Order (DAO) 22-93 and DAO 96-
and water uses.
29 of 1996 regarding Community-Based Forest Management
Water quality countrywide is considered fair, although in urban
Agreement (CBFMA); DAO 96-29 regarding Certificate of
areas and areas of intensive agricultural operations and
Stewardship Contract (CSC); DAO 04-97 regarding Industrial
industrial development, water sources are often polluted from
Forest Management Agreement (IFMA); DAO 2496 regarding
the discharge of untreated waste and chemicals.
Socialized Industrial Forest Management Agreement (SIFMA);
DAO 02-93 regarding Certificate of Ancestral Domain Claim
TENURE ISSUES
(CADC); and DAO 02-93 regarding Certificate of Ancestral Land
The version of the draft water law that has been pending for
Claim (CALC) (Guiang and Castillo 2006).
several years provides that water belongs to the public domain
Major forestry laws include: 1) the 1975 Revised Forestry
and users are entitled to the water on their land.
Code, which governs the use and management of forest lands
Beginning in 2003, the government has at various times
and products; 2) the 1981 Environmental Impact Statement
proposed the development of a National Water Grid.
System law, which requires environmental impact
It does not appear that the question of comprehensive water
assessments and Environmental Compliance Certificates for
legislation has been vigorously revisited in recent years (KOT
projects in critical areas; 3) the 1992 National Integrated
2006a; Wongbandit 2005; Hirsch et al.
Protected Areas System Act, providing for the establishment
Under customary law, water is perceived as an open-access
of a comprehensive system of protected 3 This estimate is
resource that is supported by local-level water management
based on the Food and Agriculture Organization-established
systems.
definition of forest as an area of not more than 0.5 has and
Thailand‘s strong civil society and media have fueled active
tree crown cover (or equivalent stocking level) of more than
public debates over water use in Thailand.
10% which includes natural and plantation and production
Urban water supply and sanitation projects are being funded
forests, which the Philippine government adopts (PAWB
by multiple donors including Germany, Japan, Italy, Spain, and
2009).
UNICEF (AiDA 2009; JICA2008).
areas; 4) the 1997 Indigenous People‘s Rights Act, which
After multiple years, this process resulted in compromise
recognizes the customary right of indigenous peoples to forest
legislation which featured a water permit system with specific
resources within their ancestral domains and their right to
provisions to reduce or eliminate the financial impact of water
participate in forest programs, 5) the 2001 Wildlife Resources
use fees on the poor.
Conservation and Protection Act, which protects wildlife
Through the construction of a network of pipelines, tunnels
resources and habitat, and regulates the collection and trade
and canals, the grid would transfer water from waterrich areas
of wildlife; and 6) the 2002 Chainsaw Act, which regulates
to water-short regions and increase the amount of irrigated
ownership, sale and use of chainsaws to prevent their use for
land nationwide.
illegal logging and clearing of forest land.
Thailand does not have a comprehensive water law and has
The key reform has been the policy shift from resource
been in the process of drafting and supporting passage of a
exploitation to sustainable forest management and CBFM
water law since 1992.
under Executive Order 263 in 1995, updated under the 2003
Revised Master Plan for Forestry Development and
Environment and Natural Resources Framework Plan for The project has not proceeded, although there is consideration
2003–2012. of smaller projects to link water basins (Hirsch 2004; Lee 2007;
Specific initiatives include: the Partnership for Biodiversity Bangkok Post 2010b).
Conservation initiative for strengthening the institutional USAID funded a project that improved water delivery at 225
capacity of environmental law enforcement bodies; and the waterworks countrywide, servicing an estimated 11.3 million
Environmental Governance (EcoGov) Project II for people.
consolidating and harmonizing forestry laws and other laws Drinking water in Bangkok is supplied by Metropolitan
and issuances on forest management, as well as promoting Waterworks Authority and generally meets WHO standards for
sustainable management of forests by local governments safety, but open canals crisscrossing the city serve as
working with other local stakeholders. repositories of domestic and industrial waste and are highly
According to USAID, community forest rights are often contaminated.
awarded by the government to address equity issues (e.g., The Chao Phrayn provides the country‘s rice paddies with a
marginalization of indigenous peoples and preservation of critical source of irrigation water.
socio-cultural/ethnic values and indigenous knowledge), but In most irrigated areas, water user groups manage the access
also convey the rights to use the forest for other purposes, to and allotment of irrigation water.
including production, conservation, development, food About 95% of water withdrawals are used for agriculture, with
production and environmental services for a fee. the balance split between domestic and industrial use (WEPA
2006; FAO 1997; World Bank 2009).
GOVERNMENT ADMINISTRATION AND INSTITUTIONS Water rights can be traded except in times of drought, when
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources the government can limit water use.
(DENR) is responsible for the management, development and The Department of Groundwater Resources has similar duties
conservation of forest and grazing lands. relating to groundwater (GOK n.d./MNRE). The Ministry of
Agriculture and Cooperatives is responsible for management of
RESOURCE QUANTITY, QUALITY, USE AND DISTRIBUTION irrigation-water resources and infrastructure development.
Philippine forest cover is estimated by the Food and Countrywide, contamination of water sources is a growing
Agriculture Organization at 7.2 million hectares or 24% of problem (FAO 1997; UNEP 2001).
total land area,3 of which around 12% is dipterocarp or Within Bangkok and surrounding provinces, water withdrawal
lowland rainforest, 3.5% mossy/montane or cloud forest, 0.4% has caused land subsidence (UNEP 2001).
coastal and mangrove, 0.77% pine forest and 1.6% At the village level, rules regarding water access vary.
submarginal forest, with patches of beach forests and the The agreement does not address water sharing.
emergence of a new forest type – the peat swamp forest or Between 1996 and 2004, water demand increased by almost
peat dome found in Agusan del Sur. 35%.
In the past 25 years, CBFM (and various joint venture, The Constitution states that the public shall have an
coproduction and production-sharing instruments) has been opportunity to participate in the development of policies and
viewed as the most effective strategy for achieving rules governing the use of natural resources (KOT Constitution
sustainable forest management and for addressing the 2007).
problems plaguing the Philippine forestry industry. Research by the Mekong River Basin Commission (MRC) and
Protected Area Community-Based Resource Management others institutions indicates that the Mekong fisheries are both
Agreements permit migrant communities living in protected highly important to the subsistence and livelihood of
areas to use forest products, but not to log or cut timber. downstream Basin residents – and particularly to the poorest
Community-Based Forest Management Agreements (CBFMAs) of these – as well as highly vulnerable to potential damage
permit communities and peoples‘ organizations in forested from the proposed dam construction (Lee and Scurrah 2009;
areas to occupy and use forest lands for agroforestry, for Save the Mekong 2010; Sunchindah 2005).
harvesting of timber and non-timber products, and for forest The purpose of the study was to learn how to help
protection and reforestation. communities relying on key water-basin resources to sustain
Relevant DENR bureaus include the Forest Management livelihoods as water-resource availability fluctuates due to
Bureau, Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau, and Ecosystems climate change (USAID 2010; USAID 2009; USAID 2008; Wolff
Research and Development Bureau. 2007).
The stated obstacles (voiced by communities, NGOs, LGUs and A wide range of civil society organizations has expressed
some DENR personnel) include felling and transport concern over the effects of China‘s dam construction on the
requirements (communities are not allowed to use modern upper Mekong River (the Lacang) on downstream users in
equipment), excessive taxes on forest products, complex northern Thailand and Laos.
permit systems, and onerous management plan requirements.
Other concessions granted are Production Sharing TREES AND FORESTS
Agreements, granted to private-sector investors, and Formal legislation governing the forest sectors includes: (1) The
Industrial Forest Management Agreements and Socialized Forest Act of 1941, which governs the management of state
Industrial Forest Management Agreements, which grant rights forests, regulates logging and sets procedures for licenses and
to harvest timber and non-timber products with the obligation royalty payments; (2) The National Parks Act of 1961,
of reforestation. governing the designation, management and protection of
The main direct cause of forest degradation in the Philippines National Parks; (3)The National Reserved Forests Act of 1964,
is overexploitation from logging, fuelled by weak governance, governing the designation, management and protection of
the capture of resources by elite groups, failure to collect National Reserved Forests; (4) The Commercial Forest
rents from licensees, short-sighted and unpredictable policies, Plantation Act of 1992, which requires the registration of
rapid population growth, and increased conversion of forest commercial forests and regulates the cutting and sale of timber
land to agricultural, residential and commercial uses (Guiang in commercial plantations; (5) The Forest Plantation Act of
and Castillo 2006; Chokkalingam et al. 1992, which facilitates the creation of private-sector
Forest policy is guided by the concept of Sustainable Forest plantations on degraded forest; and (6) The Community Forest
Management, recognized in the Philippine Agenda 21, Bill of 2007, which gives forest-dwelling communities who can
Millennium Development Goals and Medium-Term prove they lived in the forest prior to 1997 rights to preserve
Development Plan 2004–2010 (GOP 1996). and manage forest land under strict guidelines.
A bill to replace the outdated 1975 Revised Forestry Code, The Australian Government‘s Overseas Aid Program (AusAID) is
entitled the Sustainable Forest Management Act, remains also providing support for capacity building within the Royal
pending in Congress due to the unresolved issue of total Forestry Department, and JICA managed a 3-year project
logging ban versus selective logging (Catindig 2002). (ending in 2010) that provided technical support to the Royal
Forest Land Grazing Management Agreements permit use for Forestry Department on reforestation techniques, including:
grazing purposes (GOP 2003). nursery management; reforestation; tree-farm management;
Communities have complained that they are often granted sustainable utilization of wood from tree plantations; and
poor-quality lands and denuded areas, and are expected to timber market information management, in order to
rehabilitate forest lands without adequate technical and encourage local people‘s reforestation activities in the context
financial support (Pulhin and Dizon 2003). of community-based forest management (ITTO 2004; AiDA
Many protected areas, watershed reservations and 2009; JICA 2008).
community forests are not well managed, leading to open- The department is also responsible for community forest
access conditions and to forest loss or degradation (Guiang management programs within its jurisdiction (AFN 2006; KOT
and Castillo 2006). n.d./MNRE). The Watershed Conservation Management Office
Forest protected areas (PAs) comprise about 5% of the (WCMO) is attached to the Department of National Parks
country‘s forest resource base, and fall under the jurisdiction Wildlife and Plant Conservation and is responsible for
of the Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau of DENR. watershed rehabilitation through reforestation, development
The project facilitates and provides technical assistance to the of land-use plans to reduce the practice of shifting cultivation,
joint LGU, DENR and community processes of planning, review and conflict management.
and approval, implementation, monitoring and evaluation, The purpose of the group is to strengthen collaboration among
and in the preparation of watershed- and biodiversity-focused stakeholders responsible for and living in forests, and to
forest land use plans. develop and refine methods for establishing partnerships
between local communities and local government regarding
TENURE ISSUES forest management (AFN 2006; Liddle 2008).
In the past, forest rights granted by the government to the The Prime Minister‘s 2008 Policy Statement of the Council of
private sector were principally for forest-resource utilization Ministers identified government priorities for 2009 as follows:
and commercial exploitation (concessions, licenses or protect and conserve forests; expedite the declaration of
permits). protected forest; determine areas for and promote
Based on use, production forest4 comprises 77%; protection reforestation; develop community forests; promote the
forest5 comprises 8%; and conservation forest6 comprises cultivation of commercial forest in appropriate areas; and
15% of total forest area. suppress deforestation (Bhusal et al.
There is pressure to convert forest areas to non-forest uses The terms of the Community Forestry Bill, which will restrict
(e.g., mangrove forests are cleared for prawn farming and community forest management to certain communities and
natural forests are converted to biofuel plantations). designated activities, may result in the termination of some
A large number of laws and implementing regulations projects and community rights to forest resources (Liddle 2008;
developed since 1980 directly support community-based AFN 2006).
forest management (CBFM). In addition to the development of the Community Forest Bill,
the Thai Working Group of Community Forest Management
10.28% of forest land (0.737 million hectares) are within lands was formed and includes representatives from the Royal
classified as alienable and disposable (GOP 2009a; FAO 2010). Forestry Department, the Watershed Conservation
4 Forest area designated primarily for production of wood, Management Office, the Department of Local Administration,
fiber, bio-energy or non-wood forest products (FAO 2010). and NGOs.
This work is undertaken in the context of the LGU‘s The subdistrict-level Tambon Administrative Organizations
comprehensive land-use planning and implementation (TAO) have authority over community forests and buffer-zone
responsibilities, and within the defined authorities of LGUs, management, small-scale forest plantations, and local
tenure holders, local DENR offices, provincial offices, and responsibility for forest and forest fire protection (AFN 2006;
recipients of individual property rights in comanaged areas, ITTO 2005).
State-tenure lands, and in CBFMA and CADT areas (Clausen et The Regional Community Forestry Training Centre for Asia and
al. the Pacific (RECOFTC), a Bangkok-based NGO, is a leading
In 1917, forest cover was 17 million hectares, or more than advocate for community management of Thailand‘s forests and
50% of land area. the rights of forest people.
6 Forest area designated for conservation of biological The RFD has oversight authority over the country‘s forests
diversity (FAO 2010). (excluding protected areas) and has primary responsibility for:
The Boards are responsible for setting up multiple-use access management of forest conservation; logging; forest product
zones for the collection of select forest products (e.g., vines, collection; utilization of forest land; and enhancement of public
medicinal plants, and other traditional uses). participation.
5 Forest area designated primarily for protection of soil and The system is designed to generate monitoring information to
water (FAO 2010). support informed policy decision-making by the National Park,
Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department and other
LEGAL FRAMEWORK agencies involved in forest conservation and sustainable forest
Under the 1987 Constitution, all forest lands and resources management.
belong to the State (Art. The Forest Restoration Research Unit (FORRU) of Northern
Local Government Units assist in forest law enforcement Thailand‘s Chiang Mai University, in collaboration with Doi
within their jurisdictions. Suthep-Pui National Park Headquarters and Britain‘s
The largest remaining forest patches are found in northern Horticulture Research International (HRI) adopted a framework
and southern Luzon (especially the Sierra Madre mountain species method to restore seasonally dry forests to degraded
range, Palawan, Mindanao and eastern Visayas. watershed sites in the mountains of Northern Thailand.
The National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department
MINERALS is responsible for conservation and management of flora and
Local communities and civil society groups contend that while fauna, especially in protected forest areas.
the Philippine Mining Act (1995) gives investors virtually RECOFTC has been actively engaged in developing the
exclusive and monopolistic rights over the minerals and other Community Forestry Bill and supporting community forest
natural resources within the mining area, the Small-Scale management projects (Liddle 2008).
Mining Act tightly regulates and controls small-scale miners The Forest Tradition in Buddhism uses forests for monastic
and indigenous communities. training, and some communities identify forest spirits and trees
Other relevant laws are: 1) the National Integrated Protected linked to family members, requiring preservation of forest
Areas System Act (1992); 2) the Indigenous People‘s Rights Act areas (AFN 2006; Satoyama Initiative 2009; Fisher and Hirsch
(1997); 3) the Environmental Impact Statement System Law; 2007).
and 4) the Local Government Code, which devolves the
regulation of small-scale mining. GOVERNMENT REFORMS, INTERVENTIONS AND INVESTMENTS
The People‘s Small-Scale Mining Act (1991) regulates small- Thailand‘s forest sector has been challenged by the pressure
scale mining (i.e., mining activities that rely on manual labor on forestland for cultivation and collection of forest products
without the use of explosives or heavy equipment), and and the lack of an established framework for participatory
reserves certain mineral lands as small-scale mining areas. forest management.
Small-scale mining rights are for two years, renewable for the The bill has been criticized by forestry officials for granting
same term, for areas not exceeding 20 hectares. communities rights to sensitive forest areas, and by local
Small-scale miners must form a cooperative and register with communities and NGOs for restricting current forest access and
the local Mining Regulatory Board, and must have the consent use.
of the mining claimant or holder of mining rights over the The Forest Department‘s effort to expand its control has the
area. potential to further marginalize those communities that have
depended on community rights to forestland (Vandergeest
GOVERNMENT ADMINISTRATION AND INSTITUTIONS 2001; Liddle 2008; Childress 2004).
The Mines and Geosciences Bureau of the Department of Threats to Thailand‘s remaining forests include: illegal logging;
Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is responsible for conversion into agricultural land; forest fires; squatting by
implementing mining laws, including the granting of licenses, refugees from neighboring countries; and conversion for use
permits and concessions. for development of infrastructure (ITTO 2005).
Local Government Units (LGUs) regulate small-scale mining NGOs have helped communities work with Forest Department
through the Provincial or City Mining Regulatory Boards, officials to reach agreements on designating areas of forest
subject to direct supervision of DENR. conservation, areas of forest for permissible uses, settlement
For example, the 1996 Marcopper Mining Disaster in land and agricultural land.
Marinduque Island in which an old mine-pit used as a disposal WCMO officials support NGOs in implementing community
pond for mine waste ruptured and discharged about 1.6 forest management projects in watersheds (AFN 2006).
million cubic meters of tailings along 27 kilometers of the Community forest management has been slow to develop in
Boac river system and the coastal areas near its mouth. Thailand.
According to USAID, local governments lament the fact that
the tax moneys that mining companies pay end up with DONOR INTERVENTIONS AND INVESTMENTS
central government in Manila and do not make it back to the The International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO) and
provinces. Japan, Switzerland and Australia have been supporting the
Exploration and mining rights are granted to citizens or to government‘s investment in a forest resource monitoring
corporations which are 60% or more Filipino-owned for a system (THAIFORM).
period of two years for exploration (convertible to mining As the pressure to grant farmers title to forestland increased,
rights) and 25 years for mining (renewable for the same term). the Forest Department attempted to consolidate its authority
It sets the requirements and procedures for private-sector by classifying more forest as protected areas or tree
mineral development, including the entry of foreign investors plantations.
into large-scale commercial mining. Forest communities must be registered and must develop an
The Philippine Mining Act (1995) governs the exploration, approved forest management plan.
utilization and conservation of mineral resources. When linked with socioeconomic information, this data will
The small-scale miners and companies feel that it is provide a basis for policy decisions and for measuring progress
unreasonable for the law to force them to use low-tech toward sustainable forest management.
mining methods. In the interim, an estimated 328,000 hectares are under some
Key issues presented are mining‘s destructive impact on the form of community forest management.
environment, the displacement of local and indigenous Thailand has 10 different types of forest, including tropical
communities and destruction of livelihood sources, human evergreen forests that are comprised of rubber, hardwoods,
rights abuses, and lack of genuine Free and Prior Informed bamboo and wicker.
Consent (FPIC) of indigenous peoples to concessions on The government has made several efforts to support
ancestral lands as required by law (Cruz 1999; PMPI 2009; participatory forest management.
Doyle et al.
Small-scale mining companies believe the law disenfranchises LEGAL FRAMEWORK
small-scale miners. Thailand‘s Constitution provides that communities have the
right to protect their traditions and to participate in the
GOVERNMENT REFORMS, INTERVENTIONS AND management, maintenance, preservation and exploitation of
INVESTMENTS natural resources, the environment, and biodiversity in a
Under the National Policy Agenda on Revitalizing Mining in balanced and sustainable fashion.
the Philippines (Executive Order No. The government has been supporting forest restoration
270, 2004), the government promotes mining as a driver for projects in highly degraded forest areas.
national development and poverty alleviation, consistent with The specific project objective is to set up a national monitoring
sustainability and environmental protection. system to provide change and trend data on timber and non-
Large scale mining companies argue that they must comply timber forest resources.
with various rules and regulations while smaller-scale mining
companies avoid paying taxes and do not comply with rules RESOURCE QUANTITY, QUALITY, USE AND DISTRIBUTION
and regulations (and, thus, pollute the environment). Thailand‘s forest coverage has fallen from about 70% of total
The government grants mining rights for up to 81,000 land area in 1900 to about 28% in 2005.
hectares. In some cases, communities occupied the forest land prior to
There are security risks for some companies, especially those the state classification of the land as reserve forest.
mining in the Mindanao area (several activist groups have also
damaged mining sites and company equipment).
Participation is mostly in small-scale or artisanal mining, Despite formal restrictions on forest use, including a continued
where, in 2002, women constituted 25% of the workforce, ban on commercial logging, encroachment and farming on
principally as transporters and processors. lands classified as forest are widespread in Thailand.
In 2005, the DENR conducted an international mining road In 1989 the government banned commercial logging in an
show aimed at raising US $6.5 billion in foreign investments attempt to protect against forest degradation and flooding.
and generating 200,000 jobs. The Royal Forest Department (RFD), previously attached to the
The Mining Act requires prior consent of the indigenous Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, is now under MNRE.
community for mining operations in ancestral lands. A series of government policies limiting forest encroachment
There is a growing grassroots anti-mining movement – led by have largely been unsuccessful.
the Catholic Church and civil society – that advocates the By the 1980s, communities permanently occupied roughly 20%
repeal of the Philippine Mining Act and an immediate of official forest reserves.
moratorium on large-scale mining. Planting mixtures of 20–30 selected native forest tree species
In 1994, estimated levels of metallic mineral resources stood succeeded in restoring forest ecosystems within 3 to 4 years
at 7 billion metric tons, and of nonmetallic resources at 50 (Blakesley and Elliott 2003).
billion metric tons. Non-wood forest products include fruits and nuts, honey,
TENURE ISSUES The State can choose to directly undertake wildlife and medicinal plants.
mining activities or enter into mining agreements with private Under the Forestry Act, there are two levels of restriction and
companies. licensing for forest use.
One obstacle is the location of gold-selling stations, which the While the Constitution states that traditional and local
government places far from the mining communities. communities have the right to participate in natural- resources
The government is pursuing foreign investment in mining. management, the details on how this shared management
Some community leaders have their own incentives for relationship would work and what resources local communities
opposing large-scale mining such as exerting influence and have the right to manage are still under debate.
control over a mine site that brings them a sizable income.
MINERALS
More than half of active mining concessions and two-thirds of
Specific duties include: (1) recommending areas, policies, and
exploratory concessions are in areas of high seismic risk.
plans for management of mineral resources; (2) enforcing
Mining often leads to deforestation and destruction of
minerals legislation; (3) recommending changes and updates to
ecological systems, subsidence and sinking of communities,
the legal framework; (4) conducting surveys and cooperating
and displacement of communities.
with foreign and international organizations regarding geology
In 2009, an Alternative Mining Bill was filed in the Philippine
and mineral resources; and (5) setting geological and mineral
House of Representatives.
standards (KOT n.d./MNRE). The Department of Primary
This has generated considerable controversy partly because it
Industry and Mines (within the Ministry of Industry) and the
is seen by many domestic and international actors as one of
Department of Minerals (in the Ministry of Natural Resources
the best mining laws in the world.
and the Environment) are responsible for administering the
The Philippines has one of the highest rates of female
Minerals Act.
participation in mining in Asia.
The Enhancement and Conservation of Natural Environmental
Under the Mining Act, disputes are brought to a Panel of
Quality Act (1992) requires mining operations to submit
Arbitrators constituted in each region.
environmental impact analyses to the Office of Natural
The Philippines has 9 million hectares of potential sites for
Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning under the
mineral resource development, but less than 500,000
Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment (Tilleke and
hectares are under exploration or development.
Gibbins 2009b).
One problem (among others) is that the law prohibits small-
In 2008, a dozen oil fields were producing crude petroleum,
scale miners from utilizing dynamite and other explosives,
increasing production by 7%, and a major new operation
which undermines production and forces small-scale
located off the coast of Songkhla in the Gulf of Thailand began
companies to illegally use explosives (a significant hazardous).
producing natural gas (Shi 2010; KOT n.d/DMR n.d.; Johnston
2010; Yuwaprecha and Naraphirom 2005).
DONOR INTERVENTIONS AND INVESTMENTS
GTZ‘S Conflict Sensitive Resource and Asset Management
FRAMEWORK
Program or COSERAM aims to develop efficient management
The Minerals Act of 1967 (as amended), governs the
of mineral resources and peaceful conflict-resolution in the
exploration, exploitation, and trade in minerals other than
mineral-rich Caraga Region in Mindanao.
petroleum.
Petroleum rights are granted through service contracts open
A Mining Council, established in 1983, serves as an
to citizens and foreigners, for a period of seven years for
intermediary between mining companies and the government;
exploration (extendible for three years) and 25 years (with up all entities applying for mining rights or operating in Thailand
to three extensions) for extraction. must be members of the council.
This generated investment inflows of US $694 million in 2007
and US $630 million in 2008. TENURE ISSUES
Copper accounts for 72% of total reserves in the country; Thailand‘s mineral resources are owned by the state, and
limestone and marble are the most significant nonmetallic licenses are required for exploration and extraction of
mineral resources. minerals.
In 2009, there were 23 large-scale and over 1000 small-scale Thailand also has reserves of coal, natural gas and crude
metallic mines, and 2359 nonmetallic mines in operation. petroleum and 17 different types of gemstones (Shi 2010; KOT
n.d./DMR; Yuwaprecha and Naraphirom 2005).
The Department of Mineral Resources: provides free mineral-
resource maps and information regarding resources; conducts
surveys; and provides technical support for mining operations
(Chandler and Thong-ek Ltd.
The Petroleum Act of 1971, as amended, regulates exploration,
production, transportation and sale of petroleum resources.
The country‘s mining sector has been adversely affected by the
global financial crisis and the slow recovery of private
investment, but growth is expected in the coming years,
especially in the petroleum subsector.
The state‘s Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT)
and several private businesses operate the coal exploration
and mining businesses.

DONOR INTERVENTIONS AND INVESTMENTS


Thailand relies heavily on coal, natural gas and imported
petroleum to meet its energy needs.
Oil and gas operations are owned by the Petroleum Authority
of Thailand (PTT), PTT Exploration and Production Co.
The petroleum industry is governed by the Department of
Mineral Fuels and Petroleum Committee (DMF), under
delegated authority of the Ministry of Energy.
The World Bank and government of Thailand have announced
plans for a US $570 million Clean Energy Investment Project
that develops sources of alternative and renewable energy,
including wind, solar, hydro and biomass options.
All of the options are land-based, and their development will
require access to the land and other natural resources (e.g.,
water) required for energy production.
In an amalgamation gold recovery operation located at a small-
scale mining operation in Phichit Province, for example, high
levels of mercury contaminated surface soil, plants and
agricultural products.
Other minerals mined include construction materials such as
cement, dolomite, gypsum, kaolin, limestone, marl, potash,
and silica sand and metals, including gold, copper, steel and
zinc.
All petroleum activity in the country must have the approval of
the Minister of Energy and is subject to the authority of the
DMF.
Gemstones are found primarily in the Chantaburi and Trat
provinces in the Eastern region, and most gold is mined in the
Southern and Eastern regions (KOT n.d./DMR). Mining
operations are conducted by public and private entities.
The Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) within the
Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment is
responsible for preservation and administration of mineral
resources.

GOVERNMENT REFORMS, INTERVENTIONS AND INVESTMENTS


Thailand has made efforts to encourage foreign investment in
the minerals sector.
General prospecting licenses are non-renewable, non-
transferable 1-year licenses issued by the Local Mineral
Resources Office.
Exclusive prospecting licenses are also granted for one year,
but are renewable and give the licensee exclusive rights of
exploration in a given area (up to 1250 rai, or approximately
200 hectares).
Thailand is a member of the Coordinating Committee for
Geoscience Program in East and Southeast Asia (CCOP).
The responsibilities of the DMF are: the promotion of
petroleum exploration and exploitation; enhancement of
domestic petroleum supply; and acceleration of petroleum
development in overlapping claimed areas.
Mining projects that are promoted by the Board of Investment
under Thailand‘s Investment Promotion Act can receive
exemptions from or reduction of customs duties, suspension of
income taxes, and other incentives.
Thailand has an estimated 21,500 artisanal and small-scale
miners, primarily mining gold and gemstones.
Special prospecting licenses are used for large projects or
exploration for high-value minerals.
The project will be implemented by the Electricity Generating
Authority of Thailand (EGAT) and Provincial Electricity
Authority and is expected to be approved in 2011 (World Bank
2010).
Applications must include a work plan, evidence of sufficient
capital, an environmental impact assessment, evidence of
surface rights, and evidence of technical capability.
Together, the two operations account for almost half the
country‘s total production of crude petroleum (Shi 2010).
The mining operator is responsible for obtaining the surface
rights to the land, either by a lease agreement or land
purchase.
The Mineral Royalty Rates Act of 1966 sets the royalty rates to
be assessed for different kinds of minerals.
The licenses are granted for 3-year terms, are renewable for
two years, and must be accompanied by an offer of special
benefits to the government.
Rights granted under the Minerals Act do not include rights to
land.

RESOURCE QUANTITY, QUALITY, USE AND DISTRIBUTION


Thailand is a leading producer of cement, feldspar and gypsum.

GOVERNMENT ADMINISTRATION AND INSTITUTIONS


Several ministries have responsibility for the minerals sector.

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