A civic group decried the administration’s counter-insurgency program which has been “sowing terror and repression” among peasant and Indigenous communities.
According to the Council for People’s Development and Governance (CPDG), Duterte’s counterinsurgency program has taken the lives of 300 farmers, 44 of them are women and about 65 land rights women activists have been arrested based on trumped-up charges.
The group also lamented the “continuing misery and poverty” among the rural poor due to lack of subsidies and the adverse effects of pro-elite economic policies.
“Women farmers face these threats on a daily basis,” CPDG Spokesperson and longtime women’s rights activist Liza Maza said during the International Day of Rural Women on Friday, Oct. 15.
“How can we celebrate the International Day for Rural Women and this year’s theme ‘Rural Women Cultivating Good Food for All’ if landlessness, rights abuses, and other forms of rights violations proliferate? How can rural women cultivate good food when there’s danger out in the fields?” Maza stressed.
Amihan Federation of Peasant Women also condemned the unhampered liberalization of agriculture, the influx of important rice due to Rice Liberalization law, and demanded P15,000 production subsidy, food self-sufficiency, and self-reliance.
Amihan National Chairperson Zen Soriano underscored that food security could be achieved locally if the government has the political will to support farmers instead of focusing on the importation of food products.
“Women are not only partners but prime purveyors in agriculture. To unleash the full potential of rural women, the government should urgently respond to these issues at hand. Women farmers are usually in food production, thus their participation in agriculture is crucial and should be supported,” Maza said.
“The vicious red-tagging led by the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict and the atrocities of state forces carried out under the counterinsurgency program should be stopped. A 180-degree shift from profit-oriented neoliberal agriculture must be taken towards people-centered sustainable agriculture that can benefit the generations to come.”