World Food Day: Duterte never aimed #ZeroHunger, but worsened it – peasant women group

Marking the 74th World Food Day
Duterte never aimed
#ZeroHunger, but worsened it – peasant women group

Manila, Philippines – In marking the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UN FAO) 74th World Food Day, Amihan or the National Federation of Peasant Women joined other peasant groups and Anakpawis Party-list at the protest in front of the Department of Agriculture central office in Quezon City. They accused the Duterte government of directly undermining the national food security by enacting the Republic Act 11203 Rice Liberalization Law that shattered the illusion of the country’s reaching self-sufficiency. The FAO set the slogan for the day as “#ZeroHunger.”

“Walang ‘food on the table’ o ZeroHunger agenda si Duterte, ang ipinatupad niya ay liberalization ng rice importation at pagtutulak ng land-use conversion, kakutsaba si Cynthia Villar,” Amihan National Chairperson Zenaida Soriano said during the protest.

Amihan is one of the major groups carrying out the “11203 Pirma vs. RA 11203 Rice Liberalization Law” petition-signing campaign.

“Legacy ni Duterte na patayin ang kabuhayan ng mga magsasaka at pagtanggal nila sa lupa. Kung dati may P27 kada kilong bigas, ngayon, wala na,” she said.

The National Food Authority (NFA) was decoupled by the law to retail rice. However, it remained to sell as transition to total turn-over of the market to the private sector.

“Nagbebenta na lang ang NFA ng kakarampot na P27 dahil alam ni Duterte na sasabog ang galit ng mamamayan sa matataas na presyo ng bigas. Alam na nga niyang ganid sa tubo ang mga private sector, pero sila pa rin ang pinaburan niya,” she warned.

Amihan said the due to high prices of rice, some peasant families already endure one to two meals in a day. A peasant family in Aurora of seven (7) spends from P600 to 800 daily foe ther needs including rice, viands, condiments, students’ “baon,” fares and others.

“Bugbog na nga sa TRAIN Law ni Duterte ang mga magsasaka at maralita, pinalala pa niya ng Rice Liberalization Law. Pinatunayan niya talagang perwisyo siya sa mahihirap,” she slammed.

She said that the public should comprehend why many peasants are already protesting across the country to defend their rights to land and demading economic reforms. Instead of heeding their legitimate calls, the Duterte regime’s response is outright fascist attacks.

“Pinagpapatay ni Duterte ang mga magsasakang sumisigaw ng tunay na reporma sa lupa at libreng pamamahagi ng lupa. Sa mata niya, lahat na lang ng aktibista sa probinsya mga NPA,” she cited.

Finally, she reiterated her group’s call to repeal the RA 11203 and instead enact the House Bill 477 Rice Industry Development Act (RIDA) filed by Gabriela Women’s Party Representative Arlene Brosas and lawmakers under the Makabayan bloc. It was primarily authored by former Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao during the 17th congress.

“Ibasura ang Rice Liberalization Law! Isabatas ang RIDA! Dapat singilin si Duterte sa paghahasik ng kagutuman at kahirapan sa buong bansa. Dapat manindigan ang lahat ng mamamayang Pilipino, at labanan ang kanyang mga patakaran at programa,” she ended. ###

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