References: Danilo “Ka Daning” Ramos, secretary general, KMP
Carl Anthony Ala, public information officer
The militant Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) held a picket-dialogue at the Department of Agriculture (DA) to call for immediate relief and support from the department and the National Food Authority (NFA) as well as to demand an increase in the price of palay (unhusked rice). The first demand is immediate and the second one is for the long-term. According to Danilo “Ka Daning” Ramos, secretary general of KMP, “we are here to press our demands for we are the primary ones affected by typhoon Milenyo, P162 million worth of our crops have already been destroyed. It is doubly catastrophic because it is almost harvest season but Milenyo beat us to the punch,”
“Aside from the fact that landlords and retailers buy our products at dirt cheap prices, the typhoon has further worsened our situation. The farm gate price of palay (unhusked rice) is P7-9 a kilo during harvest season, at times it gets as low as P4.50 a kilo. Darak (hogfeed) is even more expensive at P5 a kilo, than the food of us humans. That is why we are pushing for the increase of palay price to P12-15 so that we can earn a little more, because as it is, the ones who only make money are the landlords and the retailers, while we are the ones breaking our backs to put rice on each Filipino family’s table,” added the Ramos.
“It is common knowledge that 80-90% of Filipinos eat rice as a staple and that the crop is a highly political subject. As for the common question of many, if the price of palay increase would the price of rice also increase? The straight answer to this is NO. The price of rice should remain the same; the only thing that should increase is the income of farmers. The increase would be a step to redivert the excessive income of landlords and retailers to impoverished peasants,” said the peasant leader. “We are also asking the DA and the NFA to increase the subsidy for us farmers. Stop the liberalization of Philippine agriculture and our country’s pull-out from the World Trade Organization (WTO). We are also asking the department to help us in our campaign to stop land use conversions and crop conversions so that we can ensure our food security,” ended Ramos.