Marking the 33rd anniversary of Cory Aquino’s Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), the Amihan National Federation of Peasant Women joined the protest led by the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and Anakpawis Partylist today, held in front of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and Department of Agriculture (DA) central office in Quezon City to reiterate the call to implement a genuine land reform program, cash aid and production subsidy for farmers and fisher folk and oppose the Resolution of Both Houses No. 2 (RBH 2) or the ‘economic ChaCha’ which was recently adopted by the lower House.

“The absence of a genuine agrarian reform program under the Duterte government and the worsening landlessness and land grabbing aggravated the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on soaring food prices and widespread hunger. Amid the militarist lockdown, demolition and displacement of farmers continued in Bulacan, Bataan, Laguna, Cavite among other provinces,” said Zenaida Soriano, National Chairperson of Amihan.  

“With DAR’s Administrative Order No. 1 fast tracking the application for land use conversion and the railroaded ChaCha, which, if approved, would give way to the lifting of current restrictions on foreign investments, farmers are again pushed to rely on their collective strength and assert their rights to land and livelihood,” Soriano added.

“Allowing foreign investors to own significant parts of Philippine soil as well as key industry sectors such as mining, energy, education, media, utilities, health, advertising, and other public sectors would spell nothing but disaster for our country. It will only intensify the exploitation of our natural resources, displace many more farmers and indigenous peoples from their land, and ultimately destroy our food security and self-sufficiency and economy,” warned Soriano.

“The death toll from the pandemic has just crossed 22,000. The Rice Liberalization Law has led to a sharp decrease in palay farm gate prices. Long lockdowns and natural disasters at the end of 2020 have wiped out crops and income. What Filipinos need is not ChaCha but land and subsidy,” Soriano reiterated.

“We call on our lawmakers to support the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill or the HB 239 and grant P10,000 subsidy for every family; P15,000 production subsidy for our farmers and fisher folk; P100 daily wage relief for our workers; and subsidy for our teachers, students, migrant workers, and small entrepreneurs,” Soriano said.

“Public health and safety are in critical condition amidst one of the worst socio-economic crises in history but Congress would rather work on economic charter change for the benefit of the rich and powerful,” Soriano added.

“Contrary to proponents’ claim that the resolution will help the local economy recover from the crisis, RBH 2 will only open the country to unlimited foreign plunder, something that the Anti-Terror Law has already initially allowed with the crackdown against those fighting for the right to till their land and protect their ancestral domains,” Soriano exclaimed.

“We call on the patriotic and democracy loving Filipinos to oppose Charter Change and defend our sovereignty and resources from exploitation of Duterte clique, foreign powers and landlords. We have seen enough of Duterte’s incompetence, neglect and fascist attacks against the people. We deserve better,” Soriano ended. ###

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