“The Duterte government should certify as urgent Bayanihan 3 or the “Bayanihan to Arise as One Act” and heed the public clamor demanding immediate economic aid especially to the marginalized and impoverished sectors gravely hit by massive unemployment, rising prices of basic commodities and hunger due to strict lockdown policies,” Amihan National Federation of Peasant Women national chairperson Zenaida Soriano said in a statement as the House of Representatives opens its deliberations on the P405.6 billion bill today.
“Kumakalam na ang sikmura ng mamamayang Pilipino. Patunay ang paglaganap ng mga community pantry sa buong bansa at sa haba ng pila sa mga ito sa malawakang disempleyo, kawalan ng kabuhayan at pangangailangan para sa ayuda at kagyat na tugon mula sa gobyerno. 5 session days na lang ang natitira sa Kongreso bago ito mag-adjourn pero dinedeadma pa rin tayo ni Duterte,” Soriano added.
Amihan emphasized the need for P10,000 cash aid for farmers and fisher folk as well as the P100 daily wage relief for workers, including agricultural workers to help ease the suffering of peasant families.
The group said that peasant families’ monthly cost of living reaches P15 to P21,000 or an average of P478 to 700 daily.
“Rice farmers have already been suffering from bankruptcy and indebtedness for 2 to 3 harvest seasons due to the drop in palay farmgate price as a result of the Rice Liberalization Law or RA 11203. Farmers have also not yet recovered from the destructive impact of subsequent typhoons which peasants left them with nothing as their crops were either flooded or felled,” Soriano said.
“We urge our lawmakers to include in Bayanihan 3 the provision of P15,000 production subsidy for farmers and fisher folk as a means to strengthen our local food production which is crucial in the attainment of the country’s food security and self-sufficiency,” Soriano added.
“Duterte’s failure to recognize the urgency of ayuda to ease the suffering of the people will further isolate him and his government from the public. Patuloy lamang nitong inilalantad ang kapalpakan at kapabayaan nito sa pagtugon sa epekto ng pandemya,” Soriano exclaimed.
Amihan and Bantay Bigas launched the ‘Kalampag Kontra Kagutuman’ campaign earlier this year as well as held petition signing pushing for cash aid and production subsidy as a response to the rising food prices and the severe impact of the pandemic and militaristic lockdown, neoliberal policies and calamities to the farmers’ livelihood. ###