Groups present to DA
9-point omnibus demands for peasant typhoon victims
To mark World Food Day, October 16, established by the United Nations Food
and Agriculture Organization (UN FAO) since 1981, peasant groups such as
the militant Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP, Peasant Movement of
the Philippines), Amihan National Federation of Peasant Women,
Pamalakaya-Pilipinas, UMA and Anakpawis Partylist tabled their 9-point
omnibus demands for peasant victims of typhoon Ondoy and Pepeng to the
Dept. of Agriculture in Quezon City. Their dialogue was beefed up by 150
peasants and supporters from nearby farm areas such as Montalban, Rizal
and San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan.
“We are formally presenting our immediate demands that would concretely
alleviate the well-being of peasants hit by typhoon Ondoy and Pepeng,”
said Danilo Ramos, KMP Secretary-General.
“Our demands clearly include about support in housing, rehabilitation of
farms, grant of seeds and seedlings for rice, corn, vegetables and other
farmers’ crops, financial assistance of about P10,000 to P15,000 per
hectare, a credit line to the Land Bank of the Philippines amounting to
P10,000 to P15,000 per hectare, tractors, hand-tractors and carabao,
setting-up of potable water supply, one year or equivalent to the value of
two successive croppings moratorium on irrigation fees to National
Irrigation Authority and private irrigation systems and livelihood to
seasonal farmworkers,” shared Ramos.
The groups insisted that any assistance should be given to legitimate
peasant and people’s organization to avoid vulnerability to scams such as
what happened to the P218.7 million rice scam where support and subsidies
were allegedly given to dummy organization and foundations.
Based on NDCC, damage to agriculture brought about by typhoon Ondoy and
Pepeng reached to P13.2 billion, also caused the 682 deaths, who the
groups believe are majorly peasants. About 140,156 houses were also
destroyed and damaged.
“What we are facing are really serious. Filipino peasants are now in deep
poverty but support from government agencies such as the DA is scarce if
not nil. We could still recall that we asked for help of the DA when
typhoon Frank hit the country last year, seriously damaging the island of
Panay. Our members in PAMANGGAS (KMP Panay Region) asked us to coordinate
with the DA central office but to no avail,” Ramos said.
The group was also joined by peasant leaders from DAGAMI (KMP Isabela),
also foreign delegates from India, Indonesia, China, Malaysia, Papua New
Guinea, Bangladesh, Laos, Thailand and Ecuador who participated in an
international workshop regarding hybrid rice at the University of the
Philippines in Diliman. The hybrid rice workshop was sponsored by MASIPAG,
GRAIN and KMP, in line with the World Food Day.
“Also, to us farmers, October 16 is a world foodless day, as we are now
facing the effects of typhoons, and even without, our livelihood are being
slaughtered by unproductive land rent, high cost of production and
competition to cheap imported agricultural products as the Arroyo
government push through with more liberalization of agriculture,” said