Disasters underscore the need for rural development
Farmers, fisherfolks affected by Taal need immediate, significant aid, not more loans
KMP lambasted agriculture secretary William Dar’s callous remarks on Monday about the damage of the Taal eruption on the domestic agriculture. “Ang pagsasawalang-bahala ni Secretary Dar sa pinsala sa agrikultura at pangmatagalang epekto nito sa mga magsasaka ay nagpapakita ng kampanteng ugali na business-as-usual, sa kabila ng libo-libong pamilyang nagbakwet at bilyon-bilyong halaga ng pananim at hayop na nawala,” Danilo Ramos declares.
DA’s estimate itself put the damage in agriculture at P577.59 billion, affecting diverse types of crops, livestock, and fish produce. The damage is expected to balloon in the coming days.
Ramos then points out how it is unsurprising that DA offers loans instead of direct relief, “hindi na kailangan ng magsasaka ng dagdag pang utang, lalo ngayong panahon ng kalamidad.” “Kinukuripot pa ng DA ang mga magsasaka sa Php25,000 pautang nito, mas malaki pa ang pamigay ni Duterte sa mga Marines na Php50,000” he further decries.
Rural development must entail national land use policy consistent with the goals of agrarian reform, rural and national industrialization to determine and develop the sections of land suitable for agricultural, industrial, reservation, recreational and other uses as well as to prevent the alienation of lands, marshes, lakes, rivers and the like in order to ensure sustained and self-reliant development as well as ecological balance. The provision of more farm technicians, agricultural credit to the tillers, post-harvest facilities, marketing agencies, irrigation systems, and farm-to-market roads shall be an integral part of the agrarian reform program.
Renewing KMP’s long-standing call for genuine land reform and rural development, Ramos ends, “dapat talagang magbago ang pagtingin ng DA at iba pang opisyal ng gobyerno tungkol sa pagpapaunlad sa kanayunan sa anyo ng libreng pamamahagi ng lupa at sapat na subsidyo sa produksyon. “In the long run, a genuinely developed rural sector and countryside can enhance our resiliency against climate change and its worsening effects.” #
(Featured image from Bulatlat)