By Chito Chavez
As the May 13 mid-term election nears, the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) reminded the political aspirants to bear this in ind as this would make or break their candidacy.
The group maintained the “farmers will be very critical of whom they support in the upcoming polls and will only vote for candidates with clear legislative agenda and platform on genuine land reform, return of the coco levy fund, support to farmers and policies for achieving food security’’.
“We have set the bar high for this election’s candidates. The country’s fate for the next three years will depend on whom we vote and who will get seats in the Senate and Congress. Especially in the Lower House, we cannot allow landlords and political clans to further dominate Congressional seats and enact self-serving legislation,” said KMP chairperson Danilo Ramos.
“Farmers’ support will depend on a candidates’ stance and platform on issues. We have the Peasant Electoral Agenda as our criteria for candidates from the local to the national level,” he added.
Ramos noted the group is already exasperated and infuriated with “personality politics and politicians who blatantly insult the Filipino people’s intellect and political maturity’’.
KMP and farmers’ main criteria for choosing candidates will be based on the following issues that uphold the interest of farmers and rural sectors:
> Support for genuine land reform and free land distribution;
> Pro-farmer stance against land grabbing and land-use conversion;
> Support to the local rice industry, support to farmers, and local agricultural production, genuine development of the domestic rice industry;
> Subsidy to farmers in the form of production subsidies, calamity and food aid to farming families affected by drought and other calamities;
> Support for the increase of wages of farm workers and junking of neoliberal policies in agriculture;
> Return of the coco levy fund and assets to farmers-beneficiaries, increase of copra and whole nut prices, and immediate subsidies to small coconut farmers;
> Stance condemning peasant political killings and human rights abuses against farmers and sectors;
> Stance in support of lifting Martial Law in Mindanao, lifting of Memorandum Order No. 32 in Negros, Samar and Bicol regions and stopping of Oplan Kapayapaan that targets peasant communities;
> Stance in support of issues of women peasants, fisherfolks and rural youth; and
> Stance against Chinese intrusion and intervention in our territories, national sovereignty, and patrimony.
“These are the main issues that we look for in candidates and we will give our verdict will be on Election Day,” Ramos said.