2019 is a deadly year for Filipino farmers and catastrophic to Philippine agriculture. In a recent study by international advocacy group Pesticide Action Network-Asia Pacific (PAN-AP), Philippines ranked as the top country dangerous to land rights advocates especially farmers and Indigenous People.
Author Archives: LEO XL Y. FUENTES, JR.
Earlier this week, an online community page named “Lapu-Lapu” maliciously vilified me and our news site Davao Today as “fake news and NPA sympathizer”. Such accusation and vilification against me and Davao Today is purely baseless.
Earlier this week a senate hearing was conducted due to the plumetting prices of Palay (unhusked rice). During the aforesaid hearing, farmers and civil society organizations raised their concern that farmgate prices of palay dropped as low as P7 per kilo, leaving farmers in a disastrous position. Thus pointing out that price drop was caused by the influx of cheap imported rice as import restrictions were removed under Republic Act 11203 or infamously known as Rice Liberalization Law.
At the onset of the Duterte administration, I shared the optimism of my good friends along with millions fellow Filipinos for a substantial and genuine change especially in agricultural policies.
President Rodrigo Duterte delivered his fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA) at the Batasang Pambansa complex earlier this week. Out of the more than nine thousand word speech of Duterte he only mentioned the word ‘agriculture’ once.
For the past weeks, we in MASIPAG Mindanao carefully monitor the current prices of Palay and well-milled rice to see the direct impact relative to the promises made by the Duterte government upon its ratification of RA 11203 or commonly known as the Rice Tariffication Law (RTL).
The perceived “Golden Years” of Philippine agriculture is nothing but another PR circus of this administration. The current state of Philippine agriculture under Duterte-Pinol leadership is in deep crises and bankruptcy.
A couple of months ago I had a hiatus in writing in this column. The last quarter of 2018 was a terrible part of the year, forgive me I did not have enough courage to write the murders of farmers, farm-workers and a good friend farmer’s lawyer Ben Ramos. Grief and anger consumed me.
Earlier this week, Zamboanga city declared a state of calamity due to rice shortage amidst importation. Prices of rice in Zamboanga reached as high as P70 per kilo, leaving consumers especially the poor majority in a disadvantageous position.
Food insecurity among our people is not about the question on the amount of food to be produce but rather the lack of equitable access.