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On Rural Women’s Day: Filipino Women Rise for Rice

Rollback of rice prices to P25/kilo!

Hold Pres. Aquino and Sec. Alcala accountable for the plunder of farmer’s money and food insecurity in the country.  

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(Photo from Arkibong Bayan arkibongbayan.org)

Women from urban poor and rural communities in Manila and Rizal storm the headquarters of the Department of Agriculture to demand the roll back the price of rice to P25 per kilo. Women from Amihan Federation of Peasant Women, SAMAKANA Urban Poor Women’s Federation and GABRIELA pushed through police barricade and climbed the gates to demand audience with Sec. Proceso Alcala. They said that the government is lying when it said that the current rise in the price of rice, Philippines’ staple food, is because of the natural movement in the market.  However, recent news revealed that tons of rice is being held in the customs’ and NFA’s warehouses to keep the prices high which only benefits rice traders and cartels. The women farmers said that the National Food Authority buys their rice product for only P10 or P12/per kilo but sells them for double or triple the price.

The women are also demanding that the government provide support to local farmers especially as it is clear that it has the money to do so as shown in the PDAF or pork barrel scam where almost P10 Billion was chanelled to fake NGOs and to the pockets of high ranking government officials. Most of the programs reflected in the pork barrel was supposedly intended for farmers but never reached them. As the Philippine congress is about to close hearings on the 2014 budget, the women also want to put PDAF, including Pres. Noynoy Aquino’s P1.3 Trillion fund, to support local farmers.

The women gave the government until November 15 to do something on the issue and that they promise to hold more protest actions in the next few weeks as preparation for the upcoming World Trade Organization 9th Ministerial Meeting on December 3-6 in Bali. The women are calling for the junking of WTO as trade liberalization has resulted to massive land grabbing and displacement of millions of women farmers from their lands.

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