Presidential bets urged to heed people's demand

Several organizations urged presidential bets to heed people's demand for land, aid, and justice.


In a joint statement, Amihan National Federation of Peasant Women, Southern Tagalog and Central Luzon Farmers, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, and Anakpawis asked presidential aspirants to present concrete solutions on pressing issues confronting farmers, peasant women, agricultural workers, fisherfolk, and Indigenous Peoples.

The groups said the "impoverished condition of farmers only worsened under the Duterte government" through his neoliberal policies and neglect in the agriculture sector.

"In Duterte's last October in Malacañang, we will continue to seek justice for his criminal negligence and challenge the candidates to present a concrete platform that will respond to decades of calls for genuine land reform, support services and production subsidies, and justice for all the victims of human rights violations," Amihan and Anakpawis Partylist Scretary General Cathy Estavillo stressed.

Estavillo said the government's rejection of free land distribution was underscored with the continuing land grabbing and displacement of farmers even at the height of lockdown in peasant families in Cavite, Bulacan, Laguna, Bataan, and the ancestral lands in Panay, Rizal, and Mindanao.

“Peasant women are already fed up with Duterte's callousness while peasant families are deep in debt due to depressed farm gate prices of palay and agricultural products, soaring production cost, non-stop importation and calamities, aggravated by the absence of aid,” Estavillo lamented.

She added that since Duterte signed the Rice Liberalization Law in 2019, farmers have been decrying the very low price of rice every year.

The lowest price of palay was recorded this year at P9 per kilo in Iloilo and Nueva Ecija, while at around P10 to P14 per kilo in other provinces.

Meanwhile, the price of rice remained high at P38-44 per kilo in Metro Manila.

Amihan pushed anew for the P15,000 production subsidy for farmers and fisherfolk to ease the impact of COVID-19 pandemic and the damages of the recent typhoon.

The group also called for the enactment of the Rice Industry Development ACT (RIDA) and the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB) to ensure farmers' security of tenure and the attainment of food self-sufficiency.

It also appealed to the national candidates to "defend peasant women against rights abuses and cases of extrajudicial killings, illegal arrest and detention, red-tagging, forced surrender, and militarization of rural communities.