No love for Marcos Jr.
Farmers, food security advocates mount protests vs. rice liberalization, importation
“We have no love for Bongbong Marcos Jr who is also heartleass and callous to the real plight and demands of farmers and food producers,” according to KMP chairperson Danilo Ramos.
KMP said demands for Marcos Jr to step down from the agriculture secretary portfolio continue to mount as a result of his ineffective leadership at DA and the government’s incompetence in addressing food inflation. “Marcos Jr should step down as DA Secretary to save the agriculture sector.”
Protests outside the Department of Agriculture (DA) and farm protests led by AMIHAN, Bantay Bigas and KMP asserts the junking of RA 11203 or the Rice Tariffication Law and the subsequent enactment of the pro-farmer Rice Industry Development Act.
“Ilang taon matapos ang pagpapatupad ng rice liberalization, dumausdos ang presyo ng palay sa buong bansa, laluna sa mga rice-producing na probinsya at rehiyon. Lalong naibaon sa pagkakautang ang mga magsasakang wala na halos kinikita sa panahon ng anihan,” Ramos said as he cited that rice farmers incurred a cumulative P206-billion in losses since 2019 after the rice tariffication law was enacted.
“Bigo ang rice liberalization na pababain ang presyo ng bigas kahit pa bumabaha ang imported na bigas. Bagsak ang presyo ng palay habang napakataas ng gastos sa produksyon gaya ng fertilizer, transportasyon, atbp., tumaas lalo ang import dependency natin sa bigas kahit may pagtaas sa lokal na production output. Sa kabuuuan, ang patakarang rice liberalization na ipinagpapatuloy ng gobyernong Marcos Jr ay higit pang nakakapagpalala sa krisis sa agrikultura at ng buong ekonomya.”
“Instead of fully supporting and boosting local food production through agricultural subsidies, the government persists to rely on agricultural imports — imported rice, onion, garlic, meat and vegetables for local consumption,” Ramos said.
Meanwhile, in the continuation of the House Committee on Agriculture and Food motu propio hearing on hoarding, smuggling and price manipulation of agricultural crops, ANAKPAWIS chairperson Rafael Mariano said Congress must exercise its oversight powers to determine the effects and impact of import liberalization on agriculture.
“Decades under the WTO-Agreement on Agriculture led us to this precipice of agricultural bankruptcy. The Marcos Jr administration and our legislators should think a hundred times and reject the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership or RCEP,” Mariano said. ###