Manila, Philippines – The National Federation of Peasant Women will join the One Billion Rising 2021 with its theme “Rising Gardens, Growing Resistance” today, February 14 in the afternoon at the University of the Philippines, Diliman in Quezon City. The OBR 2021 was spearheaded by Gabriela along with various women organizations in the country to highlight its demand amid pandemic and food crisis. With its year’s theme, Amihan will join the growing resistance of all the women in the world to end the continuing hunger and undermining of food security brought about the militarist and unscienfic measures under the guise of response to the pandemic and the detrimental impact of liberalization of agriculture and neoliberal policies being embraced by the Duterte regime.
Moreover, to demand for free land distribution and an end for landlessness and monopoly control of lands by the hacienderos, big landlords and foreign businesses that hinders the country’s national food security based on self-sufficiency and self- reliance. Amihan said that peasant women across the country are rising up to defend rights to land by carrying out “bungkalan” or cultivation campaigns or the setting up of communal farms for food crops.
“We join the resistance of all the women and mothers in the country to take the initiative of securing ‘food on the table’ by planting vegetables, rootcrops and others or maintaining community gardens or cultivating communal farms. Amihan since even before the Duterte regime has been advancing the role of peasant women in ‘bungkalan’ sites or communal farms, on lands usually being grabbed by big hacienderos or real estate developers. We are elated that the OBR 2021 has bannered the right to land and food, which are the pillars of survival this pandemic and authoritarian rule of Duterte,” exclaimed by Amihan National Chairperson Zenaida Soriano.
Since last year, Amihan has already projected the disaster of food crisis as the militarist policies subjected the food producing sector to the point of distorting the very spheres of production and distribution, and its impact exploding in front of the poor consumers and whole population at present.
“Duterte blocked peasants and peasant women to cultivate crops in other barangays and barred from offering food crops harvested from their farms to other barangays. With this very trend at the ground level, it is expected to be disastrous at the national level. We have monitored last year that even rice deliveries were blocked along highways, and food deliveries at checkpoints set up at major thoroughfares. These very measures are evidences of a criminally negligent and incompetent authoritarian, who single-handedly subjected the country into a state of national food emergency. As response, Amihan carried on the task of relief campaign for the rural areas, that we dubbed as ‘Support to the Food Security Frontliners,’ as peasants or food producers, are really frontliners under the pandemic,” Soriano recalled.
At present, Amihan has been at the forefront of condemning the abuses and displacement food producers and assertion of peasant women’s right to land and right to food. The group also cited the case of the peasant women in Hacienda Yulo, Laguna, where they barricaded last year and faced armed goons who were trying to displace them. It is also a staunch supporter of the peasant women at the “bungkalan” site at Lupang Ramos in Cavite, which is daily maintained of peasant women and a farm lot in Pampanga. It also distributed farm tools to peasant women associations in Isabela and Rizal provinces.
Amihan has also condemned the latest abuses against peasants in Bulacan, who are actually the suppliers of food products being offered in various agro-ecology fair or activities. Also, the land grabbing and displacement of peasants and peasant women in Bataan and Panay island. Armed groups of land grabbers usually destroy the communal farm cultivated by the peasants, thus, it is clear that these are not simply violations of their right to land, but of their inalienable right to food.
“Duterte is the very scourge to peasant women. He is misogynist and an enemy of the peasant class. He is a criminal against humanity, and his latest were the extra-judicial killings of peasants in Bulacan and Panay island, and political persecution of many peasant activists. The very meaning of Duterte to the peasant women are discrimination, oppression, landlessness and hunger,” Soriano slammed.
She added that it is clear that Duterte is incapable of addressing the pandemic, as instead of seriously preparing the food productive sector as response to the looming food crisis in the country, which even the United Nations has already warned against, it ruled with fascism and authoritarianism.
“This OBR 2021, we highlight that the Filipino peasant women are rising up to assert rights to land and food, defend communal farms, and resist against the fascist and authoritarian rule of Duterte. Thus, as ultimate remedy to the miseries, oppressed and exploited plight of the peasant women across the country, we call for ‘Oust Duterte!'” Soriano ended. ###