July 21, 2008
WILLY MARBELLA, KMP Deputy Secretary-General for Internal Affairs
Mobile No. +63910-801-2029 (presently in Geneva, Switzerland)
Asian peasants unite against WTO; Peasant groups vindicated about
As the WTO holds its mini-ministerial meeting in Geneva, Switzerland
today, peasants from all over Asia, held concurrent protest actions in the
Philippines, Indian states West Bengal, Andra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, as well
as in Jakarta, Indonesia, against the said trade body, particularly its
liberalization policies of countries' agricultural sector.
"The WTO is one of the most savage, heartless and inhumane institution at
these modern times, as it aim to destroy poor countries' capacity to
produce their own food, depress farmers economic well-being, and allow
giant foreign corporations to exploit resources that should have been for
the people," said Willy Marbella, KMP Deputy Secretary-General for
Internal Affairs, in a phone patch, who's also attending the global
people's actions in Switzerland.
"Since we united with other Asian peasant groups in 2003 and drew from
each country's experience, WTO policies have only caused disaster to
farmers, as well as to poor consumers, as it paved the way for
agricultural imports that shaken the local market and sideswiped the local
counterparts, shattering the food security of countries," added Marbella.
"Those so-called trade ministers talk only of how to more effectively
exploit countries and oppress people. No one should believe a word
they're saying as the only strong and valid basis for any agreement should
be the living testimonies of the people's sectors such as the farmers,
whose livelihood has been wrecked by WTO," Marbella lamented.
KMP, with rural groups such as Pamalakaya-Pilipina s(fisherfolk) ,
UMA(agricultural workers), Amihan(peasant women) , other poor sectors
groups and supporters have been banging the gates of Department of
Agriculture and other government offices to call for the pulling out of
agriculture and the whole country from WTO since 1995 (the year
Philippines entered the WTO).
Even before, KMP led the formation of PUMALAG (anti-GATT) in 1994, which
later became the Pambansang Ugnayan ng mga Mamamayan Laban sa
Liberalisasyon ng Agrikultura. Subsequently, the peasant group led the
formation of RESIST (against agro-chemical TNCs/MNCs) in 2001 and this
year, the multi-sectoral alliance Bantay Bigas (against the rice crisis).
The group claims that even during the GATT-years, considering the social
and economic structure of agriculture in the country, entry to WTO would
be detrimental to the people, particularly to the farmers and poor
"The living proof is that what we feared more than a decade ago about the
WTO entry has realized is the current rice crisis," Marbella noted.
"Should we say more about the rice crisis? The Arroyo government caused
the destruction of our food sufficiency and self-reliance by adhering to
WTO, the people has limited or no access to cheaper rice, there are who
resorted to root crops," added Marbella.
KMP and other peasant groups have been holding protest actions in front of
NFA warehouses for 2 weeks, calling it their "Monday Habit," to call for
the implementation of genuine agrarian reform as the only solution for the
country's food sufficiency and self-reliance. Last Monday, they have been
harassed by police intelligence agents, taking pictures of them,
validating Arroyo's order to military and police intelligence forces to
monitor unrest caused by the rice and economic crises, in general.
"It looks like that Arroyo is just waiting for some kind of rice revolt
before she'd do anything significant about the crisis," closed Marbella.#