Quezon City, Philippines – The  Amihan National Federation of Peasant Women, Rural Women Advocates, Pamalakaya fisherfolk group, and advocate groups Gantala Press, Me & My Veg Mouth, Sunday Smoothies and the editorial office of The Artisan, the publication of the Technological University of the Philippines (TUP) launched a relief drive for peasant families as “Food Security Frontliners” being affected by the lockdown and pandemic in Luzon. 

The said drive aims to gather funds for the daily needs such as food, toiletries, multi-vitamins and other needs, of peasant families from Cagayan Valley region, Bataan and Sorsogon and fisherfolk families of Cavite.

“As many groups are already aiding poor families in the urban centers, we are urging support for rural-based sectors, as they are traditionally marginalized, but they are actually our frontliners for food security. If they are displaced from production, by the man-made lockdown, its impact will be disastrous to our society and economy,” Zenaida Soriano, Amihan National Chairperson said in a press statement.

She also called on the national government to seriously address the plight of peasants and fisherfolk in the major island. 

Amihan received reports that during this harvest season of palay and other agricultural products, farmers, peasant women and agricultural workers were barred from going to their farms and harvest crops citing the lockdown. Other farmers found ways to harvest their palay but was forced to sell it in very low prices to private traders. 

Rae Rival of Rural Women Advocates said that, “It is important to support farming communities and families because they are our frontliners when it comes to food security. Supporting them who till the lands and provide food for the country is necessary if we want to secure nutritious food in the coming months.”

She also urged groups from other sectors to join the drive.

Likewise, Amihan and RUWA urge the National Food Authority to procure all the palay harvest from farmers to ensure their  income and supply of affordable rice for Filipinos especially those gravely hit by Luzon-wide lockdown. It is necessary for the NFA to directly reach farmers’ communities and schedule its procurement and hauling. They can communicate with barangay officials and farmer organizations so they can buy palay directly from them.  “As the Duterte government continue to neglect the legitimate demands of the peasant sector in the country,  we call on the people to join the cause and support the farmers, peasant women, agricultural workers and fisherfolk during this crisis as the food security frontliners,”ended by Soriano. ###

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