The Amihan National Federation of Peasant Women along with Asosasyon Dagiti Mannalon a Babbai ti Isabela (AMBI), its provincial chapter in Isabela decried the discriminatory guidelines of Social Amelioration Program (SAP) being carried out by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) officials to communities of peasant families and marginalized sectors affected by the lockdown in the province.

“We are enraged to know that the poor peasant families in Isabela affected by the lockdown are subjected to disqualification and discrimination from social amelioration as imposed by DSWD. In the province, the agency required the marginalized sectors to provide numerous requirements, otherwise, their disqualification. Likewise, the actual of SAP distribution discriminated and excluded many legitimate supposedly beneficiaries,” stated by Zenaida Soriano, Amihan National Chairperson.

According to AMBI, the DSWD implemented a quota for beneficiaries, of 40-50% of poor and marginalized sectors in the province based on their 2015 census. For example in the municipality of Cordon, only 7,522 families or 54% of the 13, 953 were given assistance under SAP.

Likewise, AMBI raised the urgency of the financial assistance to the peasant families and other marginalized sectors, as the lockdown barred them into sourcing from their livelihood, leading to wiping out of household incomes and indebtedness. The group said that peasant families are distressed as their cost of living is at P436 per day (for a family of 5), on which around 80% is for food. Farmworker families also lost their potential income of around P5,000 for a three-week work on lands, as they were barred from entering other barangays, aside from the imposed curfew. Poor farmers also lost their potential income of around P250 to P350 from selling agricultural products and odd-jobbings due to the lockdown.

Amihan and AMBI denounced the Duterte government for its callousness as the DSWD discriminatory guidelines disqualified the following:
• farmworker families who earn as low as P250 per day;
• farmers who have 1 hectare; families renting at other families’ residence;
• bedspacing workers;
• with houses of concrete materials;
• those who have no IDs for solo parents, senior citizen, PWD and others;
• minors already with own families;
• with family members abroad who are unable to remit;
• senior citizens waiting for pensions for the next month and indigenous peoples in Sindon Bayabo, Ilagan.

As the lockdown have resulted to increasing numbers of peasant families who experience hunger, the peasant women groups provided food relief for more than 200 families in Tumauini and Mallig towns in the province. The said initiatives was joined by rural women advocates and various organizations in the province and National Capital Region.

The groups reiterated their earlier call for P10,000 financial assistance and P15,000 production support, as crucial measures to alleviate the impact of the lockdown on poor peasant families, and to sustain food production in the country. ###

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