Farmers group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) today criticized Sen. Cynthia Villar’s comment yesterday that the government had provided upto P100B of aid for farmers affected by the Rice Liberalization Law (RLL). “Sen. Villar should stop spreading baseless propaganda and outright lies in a futile attempt to deodorize her destructive law. Filipino farmers and the entire people correctly recognize the fundamental stench in allowing unlimited rice imports to be dumped over our ailing domestic production,” KMP National Chairperson Danilo Ramos declares. Sen. Villar, main author of RLL, did not enumerate from which funds came the supposed P100B worth of aid.
“Where did this P100B went? Who actually benefited from it? Sen. Villar cannot just pull out random numbers out of thin air when we are talking about the lives of millions of farmers and our nation’s very own food security” Ramos says. KMP demanded the full accounting of the said P100B.
Ramos points out that “only office-bound bureaucrats fail to see the truth that RLL has been destroying Filipino rice industry. Sen. Villar and agriculture secretary William Dar should seek an end to their delusion and stop fooling themselves for longer.” The peasant leader cited Amihan Federation of Women’s case studies with Bataan rice farmers who suffered P24,000 upto P45,000 losses due to the plunge in palay prices after RLL’s implementation.
“We already know that the ‘modernization’ of Philippine agriculture cannot happen overnight. But RLL is an incorrect path which steers Philippine agriculture further away from self reliance. RLL is a road to the ravine of complete import-dependence. It is against the short and long term interests of the Filipino people. What we need is to empower our local farmers by implementing a genuine agrarian reform program which will freely distribute lands to its tillers, and combine this with a thorough system of production subsidies from irrigation programs to the setting up of rural industries. We continually plead that our policy makers listen to us actual farmers,” Ramos ends. #