PHILIPPINES – The National Network of Agrarian Reform Advocates-Youth (NNARA-Youth) in a statement on Friday, June 30 demanded justice for the victims of the increasing number of political prisoners and victims of peasant killings that have transpired during the first year of the Marcos administration.
“We vehemently condemn the relentless onslaught of state terrorism on peasant communities perpetuated by the mercenary armed forces of the fascist state during the first year of the inutile and terrorist US-Marcos administration. Justice remains elusive to 778 political prisoners. Aerial bombings and military encampments akin to martial rule is the norm in the countryside. Today, as we mark this unfortunate anniversary of Bongbong’s rise to power, we stand in solidarity with the Filipino farmers who have suffered greatly under the failed leadership of President and Agriculture Secretary Bongbong Marcos Jr.,” said Marina Cavan, NNARA-Youth Spokesperson.
Further, NNARA-Youth criticized the Marcos Jr.’s policy of agri importation at the expense of local farmers. The group noted the alarming disregard shown by the Marcos Jr. administration towards the urgent needs of our agricultural sector. Despite the outcry for legislation on food self-sufficiency and the revival of local agriculture, the government has chosen to prioritize the interests of big-business infrastructure, debt servicing, and defense.
The callous indifference of the Marcos Jr. administration towards the demands of Filipino farmers is evident in their failure to suspend the conversion of agricultural lands, provide adequate subsidies, allocate sufficient budget for agriculture, and repeal the Rice Tariffication Law.
“These policies have only exacerbated the crisis faced by our farmers and aggravated the already skyrocketing rice prices, pushing them further into poverty,” said Cavan. “The reliance on importation of agricultural products instead of strengthening domestic production reflects a grave betrayal of the Filipino people’s right to food security.”
“Instead of heeding our calls, the government chooses to vilify and attack peasants and advocate organizations. If not killed by bullets, farmers and poor families are slowly killed by hunger,” lamented Cavan.
NNARA-Youth firmly believes in pro-farmer and pro-people measures that advocate for food security and self-sufficiency, such as the Rice Industry Development Act and the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill.
“Only through genuine agrarian reform and comprehensive support for the agricultural sector can we achieve food security and address the pressing challenges faced by our farmers,” Cavan ended.