Farmers organization Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) stressed how the nCov outbreak had brought to light the flaws of the country’s foreign-dependent economy and commercialized social services.
KMP national chairperson Danilo Ramos first took notice of the effects of the nCov scare on tourism. The spread of the virus, which has compelled the WHO to declare an international emergency, has since affected flight schedules resulting in booking cancellations and a scarcity of tourists. Ramos commented that “its a pity that so many of our fellow countrymen rely on a very unstable livelihood such as those in tourism.” “This can be rooted to the sheer backwardness of our rural areas because of the absence of a genuine agrarian reform program, and the dearth of industries in urban centers,” he asserts.
Real unemployment rates under the Duterte administration has been at a historic low at 9.9%, according to research group IBON. Government data reveal that local agriculture has lost upto 1.4 million jobs since 2016.
The peasant leader elaborates that “Instead of having a sufficiently self-reliant economy, decades of neoliberal policies, which president Duterte stubbornly insists, have made our whole economy perilously dependent upon foreign forces. We can see this clearly with the tourism sector, the fragility of which has been exposed by the current nCov scare. But we can also see this with our worsened import-dependence on rice as we became the global top rice importer last year. Should we wait for an unexpected and uncontrollable drop in our foreign sources for rice and experience shortage and hunger, before decisively developing our domestic rice industry?”
“The very panic that Duterte himself has accused Filipinos of and lashed out against in a speech last night is again attributable first to the very real inaccessibility of health services, and second to the inadequacy of health education to millions of our countrymen. This is what you get when you defund the health sector and rely on profit-seeking private entities, while orienting education towards labor exportation. We then reiterate our call for genuine rural development and better social services.” Ramos ended. #
(Featured image of Kadamay from News5)