Manila, Philippines – More than a year of pandemic and Duterte’s criminal negligence to address the worsening hunger and poverty of poor sectors, peasant women across the country are rising up to defend their rights to land, food and aid. To expose Duterte’s disregard of “food security frontliners,” the Amihan National Federation of Peasant Women, Rural Women Advocates and Gantala Press, launched a cookbook entitled as “Lutong Gipit: Mga Recipe sa Panahon ng Krisis.” It featured peasant women and mothers from Cavite, Laguna, Iloilo, and Rizal, demonstrating their recipes of coping up with dwindling household incomes and rising food prices.
“Gutom na gutom na ang mga pamilyang magsasaka at hanggang ngayon ay walang kongkretong solusyon si Duterte para iresolba ito. Kakarampot o walang natatanggap na ayuda ang mayorya sa mga magsasaka. Karamihan sa kanila ay nakakain lamang ng isa o dalawang beses sa isang araw o minsan wala pa. Dapat matapos na itong kahirapan at kagutuman at hindi kami papayag na ma-extend pa ang pamamayani ni Duterte sa bansa,” Zenaida Soriano, Amihan National Chairperson.
Amihan said that the book highlighted the plight of poor peasant families and struggle for a three-meal day due to loss of livelihood and skyrocketing prices of basic commodities, amid inadequate or no aid at all from the government. Peasant families across the country are the ground zero victim of the detrimental impact of liberalization of agriculture and neoliberal policies being carried out by the Duterte regime.
A ‘nanay’ from Cavite said that, “Naranasan naming kumain ng dalawang beses sa isang araw. Agahan at tanghalian ay pinag-isa na lang at alas-singko ng hapon ay hapunan. Mahirap pagkasyahin ang ayuda nang nakapangutang na bago pa dumating ito. Mahirap sa akin bilang nanay na hindi maibigay ang hinihingi ng anak.”
Moreover, peasant women group echoed its call for the P15,000 production subsidy and P10,000 social amelioration. The former was demanded since last year by rural-based sectors such as farmers, peasant women, agricultural workers and fisherfolk. The group slammed that archaic response, particularly of the Department of Agriculture, to promote loans with difficult requirements, as the rural-based poor sectors are already engrossed in huge debts.
“Kahit papaano, malaking tulong ang cash aid para mapunan ang panggastos para sa pagkain at iba pang pangangailangan ng mga pamilyang magsasaka. Gayundin, makabalik sa pagsasaka kung maibigay ang production subsidy at kabawasan kung mangungutang,” Soriano added.
In the countryside, peasant women and mothers carried out their “food on the table” initiatives by planting vegetables, rootcrops and others, maintaining community gardens, or cultivating communal farms. Amid these efforts, they still fall victims to threat of displacement and land grabbing by big hacienderos and real estate developers.
“The launching of ‘Lutong Gipit’ is part of Amihan’s campaign to encourage various sectors to support the peasant women and their families in their advancement of rights to land, food and livelihood. Ultimately, to hold the Duterte regime accountable for socio-economic crisis experienced by our “food producers,” Soriano ended. ###