Peasant women to Villar – “It is not your job to dictate the poor what to eat!”
The Amihan or National Federation of Peasant Women slammed the recent comment of Senator Cynthia Villar on the price shocks of galunggong, on which she essentially dictated the people on their daily diet. The group said it was callous and unbecoming of her post as the chairperson of the senate committees on agriculture and food, and fisheries.
“Kami pa ba ang mag-a-adjust sa statement ni Sen. Villar na hindi na kumain ng mahal na galunggong samantalang, napakamahal rin ng mga gulay sa mga palengke. Imbes, na maglunsad ng kagyat na imbestigasyon, sugpuin kung sino ang may monopolyo sa pagtatakda ng presyo ng mga galunggong at itigil ang importasyon nito. Bumuwelta na naman sa pagiging kontra-mahihirap si Villar,” stated by Zenaida Soriano, Amihan National chairperson.
“Walang karapatan si Villar magdikta sa tao kung ano ang kakainin, at trabaho nga niya na gawing accessible sa mahihirap ang mga food items. Nakaka-dalawa na siyang bumabagsak ang self-sufficiency sa bansa, una, sa bigas, ngayon sa galunggong,” she added.
Under Villar’s committee chairmanship, rice self-sufficiency was at 95.01 in 2016, 93.44 in 2017, and then to 86.17 in 2018. Meanwhile, galunggong was at 99.64 in 2016, 98.57 in 2017 and 96.94 in 2018, when 17,000 metric tons were imported.
“Lumalabas na ang agenda ni Villar ay hayaan na mag-import nang mag-import ang bansa sa mga produktong orihinal sa atin,” she slammed.
Amihan said that the peasant women in the countryside can barely consume galunggong as it does not usually reach the barrios and due to its high prices. Peasant families naturally consume vegetables they cultivated and in cases, endure high prices of vegetables in the market. To tolerate the price shocks of galunggong means narrowing further the already limited food choices of the poor sectors.
The group urged the people to oppose the policy behind this man-made calamity, that is liberalization of agriculture and fisheries. It is akin to Republic Act 11203 Rice Liberalization Law that undermined food security based on self-sufficiency and self-reliance. This very policy displaces peasant sectors and transforms our country as import-dependent on food items.
“We join the call of Pamalakaya fisherfolk group to stop the importation of galunggong in our country. We are saddened that the Filipinos are becoming beggars of imported galunggong, when in fact, we have our own local galunggong and the Philippines is an archipelagic country,” Soriano stated. ###