By Chito Chavez
Multi-sectoral agricultural groups on Monday demanded that the government heed the people’s clamor to junk the law on liberal rice importation.
In showing strong opposition to RA 11203, various national farmers organizations, agriculture-based institutions and stakeholders in the rice industry have pressed for a unified position on the Rice Tariffication Law which has been wreaking havoc on the livelihood of rice farmers and the domestic rice industry for the past nine months.
The protesting groups include the Federation of Free Farmers, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, Bantay Bigas, PAKISAMA, Katarungan, Solidarity of Agrarian Reform Alliance, PHILCONGRAINS, National Food Authority-Employees Association, United Broilers and Raisers Association, Focus on the Global South-Philippines, National Movement for Food Sovereignty and several other institutions and NGOs.
They asked for government action in the immediate review and suspension of Republic Act 11203.
“It is high time that Lower House, Senate, and Malacanang heed the peoples’ demand. Our calls for the repeal of the Rice Liberalization Law are just and valid. In the past months, we have witnessed how this abominable law has pushed the PH rice industry to the brink of destruction and extinction. We are now banding together to save our rice farmers and the local agriculture,” said KMP’s Rafael Mariano, also a former agrarian reform secretary.
Mariano, a former Agrarian Reform Secretary under the Duterte administration, added the KMP will participate in the nationally-coordinated action against the Rice Liberalization Law on Nov. 20.