GREEN MINDED: Thoughts on Philippine Agriculture Today

Our farmlands continue to bleed.  In Southern Mindanao region, three cases of extra-judicial killings happened in less than a week.

In Mati City, the struggle of the farmer-fisher folks to their right to land were met with state atrocities. On January 11, farmer Robert Quillope was illegally arrested and accused of stealing some 500 coconuts. Ironically, it was Robert himself who planted those coconuts years ago. This accusation was committed despite the lack of formal complaint and absence of an arrest warrant. Meanwhile, Ricky Penaranda was gunned down after a heated confrontation with Philippine National Police Mati who asserted the rights of his colleague, Robert.

The demonization and harassment against leaders of the Compostela Farmers Association (CFA) continue. Red-tagging against CFA members and leaders were persistent in Compostela town in Compostela Valley province. Intelligence operatives and liquidation squads of the AFP continue to roam around the communities where there is a strong peoples resistance.

Around fifteen local farmer leaders in Monkayo town were tagged as rebel-sympathizers in a flyer that were widely circulated in various communities in Monkayo where the AFP conducted their peace and development operations or PDOP.

On January 15, 2016 the farmlands of the Villavicencio family were razed by the mining company Agusan Petroleum and Minerals Corporation (AgPet) in collusion with the local government unit of Compostela Valley, damaging their banana, coconut, and rubber among any other crops.

Indigenous people (IP) and peasant leader Christopher Matibay, was gunned down in January 18, 2016 in Barangay Lambajon, Baganga in Davao Oriental. Based on the accounts of his wife, identified intelligence operative of the AFPs notorious 67th IB was responsible for his death.

Just recently in Pantukan town, Teresita Navacilla a purok chairwoman was attacked in the evening of January 27, while Alexander Josol Vice-Chairperson of Indug Kautawan and organization of Typhoon Pablo survivors were assaulted a few hours after the the attack against Navacilla. Both Navacilla and Josol were in critical conditions at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in one of the hospital in the region. Navacilla died on Saturday.

The relentless attacks against leaders and communities are nothing but reactionary moves to discredit the validity of peoples resistance and above all, to discredit the peoples victory in the countryside.

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MEANWHILE various government agencies, particularly the Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Department of Health (DOH) and Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) along with National Committee on Biosafety of the Philippines (NCBP) are brewing a joint circular pushing for Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO).

Earlier this week the NCBP secretariat called for a consultation on biosafety, with a very short notice and without providing pertinent documents. The time allotted to deliberate such important issue also reflects the kind of consultation these agencies called for – a token consultation.

Now, tell me, with the glaring social reality that confronts our people, the GMO question should be given utmost importance by these agencies? Tell me, is the move to aggressively advance a joint circular beneficial for the farmers and not for the big agro companies such as Monsanto? Istoryahe!

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