Farmers reiterate urgent and concrete socio-economic aid for millions of farmers, fisherfolk under Luzon lockdown

The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas further pressed the national government for urgent and concrete socio-economic aid for millions of farmers and fisherfolk.

The National Action Plan (NAP) on COVID19 which President Rodrigo Duterte announced in an address late last night appoints Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenza as chairman and Interior Government Secretary Eduardo Ano as vice-chairman. They will be joined by social welfare secretary Rolando Bautista, AFP chief of staff Felimon Santos and PNP Chief Arnold Gamboa.

“After scoring unbridled executive powers from Congress and full access to Php 275-billion fund intended for COVID-19 response, Duterte has put at the helm of a national public emergency and national calamity his most favored generals. Where does this put the Department of Health and the LGUs? This is directly in contrast with the public’s demand to ramp up medical and health solutions to COVID19 and refrain from militarist and repressive measures that only trigger the anxieties and frustration of the people,” says Danilo Ramos, chairperson of KMP.

KMP reiterated the following demands to aid farmers, fisherfolks, peasant women and the rural population at this time of COVID-19 pandemic, and particularly address the health and socio-economic demands of the people:

1) Provide emergency cash assistance of Php10k for each farming and fisherfolk family whose livelihood are affected by the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) in Luzon and other provinces. The Department of Agriculture must also give additional subsidies and production support to farmers and fisherfolks. Farmers need subsidies and not loans.

2. Condonation of payments of land rent, land amortization and other arrears of farmers and agrarian reform beneficiaries. Waiving of payment of water and electricity bills for the duration of the lockdown is also urged.

3. Ensure continuous food production by providing farmers with production support for palay, corn, vegetables and other crops. Production support must also be provided to fisherfolks. Subsidy for seeds, farm inputs, petroleum and other tangible support are also needed.

4. Immediate distribution of relief assistance, food packs for farmers and fisherfolk households. Utilization of barangay health centers to provide community based health assistance to the rural population.   

“These are among our concrete and doable proposals to aid millions of farmers fisherfolks. They are our frontline food producers. They are also at risk and most vulnerable once COVID19 peaks community transmission,” added Ramos. “We expect the DA to work triple hard to roll out such  

Even NEDA secretary Ernie Pernia admits that this current lockdown situation, if prolonged, could lead to a socio-political crisis. “Alam niya na ngayon pa lang, marami na ang nahihirapan, walang trabaho, walang kabuhayan at walang pagkain. Kaya dapat ang mas malinaw, mas konkreto at angkop na solusyon ng gobyerno sa kalagayan,” Ramos said. 

KMP and its chapters in Luzon will join the Protest From Home online actions or Kalampagin ang Gobyerno  today to demand the government for immediate free and systematic mass testing, urgent provision of PPE to frontline health workers, and a comprehensive socio-economic action plan to address the COVID-19 pandemic. ###

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