By Jennica Diaz, MSU Marawi Intern
ARAKAN, Cotabato Province — The Lumad farmers from Arakan town, particularly in Sitio Katindo, Barangay Malibatuan received only 30 kilos of rice per family since after a rally of farmers in Kidapawan on March.
Datu Gunding, a Manobo tribal chieftain in the sitio told Davao Today on Monday, July 18, that the 30 kilos of rice were still insufficient and was only good for a week’s supply.
“It was not enough to feed six people in our family, including me,” he said, adding that those who didn’t join the rally and received only five kilos of rice had a much difficult situation.
“Isa ra ka semana tawon ang bugas sa amua unya naghulat pa mig usa ka bulan para lang makadawat adto (It was only good for a week and we waited for a month just to get it),” he said.
After that week, he said, they have to look for another way to ease each other’s hunger.
Gunding was one of those who joined the rally in Kidapawan City on March this year to ask for rice and farm subsidy from the government. The barricade was violently dispersed on April 1, where at least two farmers died.
After the incident, various groups from the private and public sectors, including the local government of Davao City, donated rice to the farmers.
From the month of April to July, the community did not have a harvest from their corn plantation which is their primary source of food. Their harvest of banana was also short due to drought.
“Wala mi mahimo karun kun dili mag hurnal na lang mi, P200 ang adlaw para lang mabuhi kutob sa makaharvest na mi (We can’t do anything but to work for other people. We are paid P200 a day. We do this just to survive until the time we have our harvest),” Datu Gunding said.
He said they are expecting to harvest their corn this September.
While they are waiting for the harvest season, Datu Gunding said they hope they get aid from the government.
“Kami unta matagaan ug suporta kutob lang sa panahon na makaharvest mi. Sa karun, wala mi makaon, mga September pa jud mi makaharvest (I hope we will be given aid until the time of harvest. For now, we have nothing to eat and the time of harvest is still in September),” he said.
Increase of price of farm products
Datu Gunding said their community is hoping to increase the prices of their products as their products are bought at “very low rates”.
“Ang mais namo is mukantidad lang P9 ang matag-kilo maong lugi na mi (Our corn is only bought at P9 per kilo so we cannot breakeven),” he said.
He said their rubber is only priced at P18 per kilo or much lesser as some buyers tend to negotiate to get a lower price.
With that smaller amount of profit, the community can only eat once a day. Eating twice is already a blessing for them, said Datu Gunding.
“Hinungdan nga kami naa mi permi krisis gumikan kay ang among baligya kay barato pero kung patas-on ni, dili pud mi maapektuhan sa krisis (The reason why we are always in crisis because the crops we sell are very cheap, but if it will be sold to a higher price we can cope up with the crisis),” he said. (davaotoday.com)