An echo chamber of bureaucrats
Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) hits the Department of Agriculture (DA) again as the agency holds another food systems dialogue “without actual food producers.” KMP National Chairperson Danilo Ramos comments, “this is patronizing, at best. Gutom na gutom ang mamamayan at mismong mga tagalikha ng pagkain, tapos puro mga burukrata at negosyanteng naka-aircon na naman ang mag-uusap kung paano wawaksan ang kagutuman!”
The DA began its two-day National Food Systems Dialogue today July 13.
“Worse, these bureaucrats just keep on celebrating each other’s failures! They celebrate the Rice Liberalization Law, while ordinary Filipinos struggle to buy rice; they celebrate Executive Order (EO) No. 134, while pork prices continue to be inaccessible,” Ramos adds.
The Rice Liberalization Law allowed the unhampered entry of rice imports from 2018. The country’s rice self-sufficiency rate has since dropped to 79.8%, its lowest since 1994. Meanwhile, EO No. 134 allowed the entry of an unprecedented 250,000 metric tons of imported pork at lower tariff rates, supposedly to lower pork prices. DA’s own monitoring however reveals that retail prices for pork kasim and liempo today remain at P340 and P370 per kilo, which are above the DA’s suggested retail price of P270 and P350, respectively.
“The DA, before and during William Dar, has held at least three national food summits and dialogs, yet hunger has only worsened. Duterte and his men have not learned a thing.
Hindi lapat sa lupa at nakalutang sa hangin ang mga sinasabi ng mga opisyal na ito. Nakakakita na man lang ba sila ng kalabaw? Nakatapak na ba ang mga ito sa pilapil?” the peasant leader asks.
The latest Rapid Nutrition Assessment Survey done by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) revealed that a record-high six out of ten households suffered hunger in 2020.
“It has become clear that despite much grandstanding on food security, Duterte will leave a legacy of hunger,” Ramos ends. #