Manila, Philippines – The Amihan National Federation of Peasant Women welcomed the senate’s move to slash National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict’s (NTF ELCAC) budget by P24 billion to only P4 billion and reiterated its call to rechannel the budget to palay production, social alleviation, and production subsidy to farmers and peasant women.

“We continue to call to defund the NTF ELCAC’s budget and instead rechannel it to more significant, pro-poor programs and measures. Since its establishment, it served as Duterte’s fascist machinery against critics and victims of extra-judicial killings, red-tagging of activists and progressive organizations, and other rights abuses. The Filipino people should rise up opposing the government wasting hard-earned taxes and using it against the people and undermining democracy and human rights in the country,” exclaimed Zenaida Soriano, Amihan National Chairperson.

“The 24 billion slashed budget should be allocated to palay production that could help 529,777 rice farmers owning a hectare of land and fully subsidize the palay production, with the average cost of production at P45,300 based on government data. Moreover, NTF ELCAC’s remaining P4 billion budget could aid additional 88,296 rice farmers in the country. At present, rice farmers in the country are bearing the brunt of the multi-layered impact from the pandemic, rice liberalization, and price shocks mainly from oil products. These are leading to their displacement, and eventually to the decline of productivity that is sure to lead to food insecurity,” Soriano added.

Amihan noted the need for P10,000 immediate assistance and P15,000 production subsidy for the farmers, peasant women, fisherfolk, and agricultural workers that remains neglected by the government, should be immediately legislated.

Lastly, Amihan will stay vigilant on the budget deliberation in the coming days and the demand to defund o rechannel NTFELCACs 2022 budget must be forwarded. ###

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