P414.5-B aid for agricultural workers sought


A farmers’ group urged the government Thursday to provide a P414.5-billion aid for agricultural workers reeling from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.


Members of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) trooped to the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and Department of Agriculture (DA) in Quezon City to dramatize their call for assistance.

”Instead of espousing policies that will only worsen the distress of farmers and nationwide hunger, DA and DAR must find ways to aid farmers who are our frontliners in ensuring food security,” KMP chair Danilo Ramos said.

The group also raised the production subsidies for farmers to address the effect of the Rice Liberalization Law and influx of importation.

KMP cited the amount will cover these subsidies, social amelioration, and zero interest credit to 9.7 million farmers, fisherfolk, and agricultural workers.

Such stimulus proposal is already included in the SHIELD bill filed by the Makabayan bloc in Congress.

“This stimulus package will ensure food self-sufficiency in the country while recovering from the pandemic,” Ramos said.

The group lamented the DA is focusing on its marketing strategies like the Urban and the Digital Agriculture while DAR is pushing through with the SPLIT program that will parcelize collective titles.

KMP noted the P99-billion allocation for national food programs and irrigation in the proposed 2021 budget is not enough.

“The allocations for food programs and irrigation are not sufficient and requires augmentation,” Ramos said.

He added that under the Bayanihan 1 Law, less than a million farmers and agriculture sectors benefited from various government aid.