Farmers, land reform advocates, and peasant organizations trooped to the Department of Agriculture in Quezon City for a lightning protest to condemn the lack of government aid and support to farmers and agricultural sectors severely affected by the worsening economic crisis and unemployment.
The protest rally coincided with the 32nd year of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law (CARL) enacted on June 10, 1988, under the administration of late president Corazon Cojuangco-Aquino. “CARP must be scrapped once and for all, and replaced with a Genuine Agrarian Reform Law. It is high time that actual tillers own the land that they have worked on for decades,” according to KMP chairperson Danilo Ramos.
“Farmers demand for immediate aid, production subsidies, and genuine land reform through free land distribution. These are important and necessary to facilitate rehabilitation and recovery at this time of the pandemic and global crisis. No restriction can stop farmers from protesting and raising our most immediate concerns and demands to the government,” says former Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao.
“Peasant sectors are demanding for aid but the government wants to further repress and intimidate farmers using the Anti-Terror Law,” the progressive leader said as he noted the successive illegal arrests and detention of farmers engaged in land struggles and legitimate causes.
The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas and other peasant organizations are demanding a P15,000 production subsidy for farmers, agricultural workers, and fishers. The group also demanded that idle lands be utilized for food production and distributed to landless farmers and farm workers. “Efforts from the DA and DAR — the main agencies in charge of the agriculture sector are very lacking, if not tokenistic in addressing the plight of farmers,” Ramos also said.
Millions of farmers have not received support or assistance from the government’s Social Amelioration Program (SAP) or any existing programs of the DA and DAR. Farmers and fishers have also not received needed production subsidies for food production. “The very stringent requirements set by these agencies also make it almost impossible for poor farmers to access government aid. This translates to the very limited scope and reach of government assistance to farmers, fishers, and agricultural workers,” Ramos highlighted. He said this situation persisted even until the end of the ECQ on May 31, 2020, and even beyond.
Peasant organizations will also join the June 12 Grand Mañanita activity against the passage of the Anti-Terror Law. ###