GREEN MINDED: Thoughts on Philippine Agriculture Today

What happened in Kidapawan was utterly ugly. The turn of events further exposes the current administration’s neglect on our people’s right to food, what is uglier is that those who feed this nation cannot eat.  The very noble demand to provide rice and access of calamity were consistently denied, worse the very fundamental human right, the right to life were corrupted from them.

Various state functionaries are trying hell-bent to derail the issue, from pacifist to ultra-rightist assertions. Waves of epic-fail media stints and cover-up were carried out.

But, what is most important here is the lesson that we Filipinos should try to reflect on.

First, El Niño is a natural phenomenon, its adverse effects are being amplified by the changing climate. Yet the government did nothing to mitigate such calamity. Moreover, the Aquino government continues its bad agricultural practices—corruption of the agriculture budget.
Second, the state’s refusal to provide food for the hungry farmers clearly violated the country’s constitution and various international declarations and covenants.

Article II, 1987 Philippine Constitution:

o “Section 9. The State shall promote a just and dynamic social order that will ensure the prosperity and independence of the nation and free the people from poverty through policies that provide adequate social services, promote full employment, a rising standard of living, and an improved quality of life for all.
Section 10. The State shall promote social justice in all phases of national development.”

UN General Comment 12, Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR), 1999:

o The right to adequate food is realized when every man, woman and child, alone or in community with others, has the physical and economic access at all times to adequate food or means for its procurement.

United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food:

o The right to have regular, permanent and unrestricted access, either directly or by means of financial purchases, to quantitatively and qualitatively adequate and sufficient food

Third, the Kidapawan carnage exposed the ironies of this government which can afford to use water cannons in brutal dispersals, while they cannot even provide water rations on arid farmlands due to El Niño. Also, it further exposed the fascist tradition of the landlord-dominated government from Escalante massacre, to Mendiola massacre to Luisita massacre and now the Kidapawan massacre.

Lastly, the brutal massacre of the Kidapawan farmers generally expressed victory to our farmers, instead of fear and discouragement thousands of farmers across Mindanao were inspired by the Kidapawan farmers to launch successive protests and barricades to assert our people’s right to food.

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