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KMP urges aid for millions of farmers, fisherfolk

By Chito Chavez

Militant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) urged the government on Wednesday to immediately provide concrete socio-economic aid for millions of farmers and fisherfolk affected by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

KMP chairperson Danilo Ramos enumerated their demands to aid farmers, fisherfolks, peasant women, and the rural population at this time of COVID-19 pandemic, and particularly address the health and socio-economic demands of the people:

1) Provide emergency cash assistance of P10,000 for each farming and fisherfolk family whose livelihood are affected by the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) in Luzon and other provinces. The Department of Agriculture must also give additional subsidies and production support to farmers and fisherfolks and not loans.

2. Condonation of payments of land rent, land amortization, and other arrears of farmers and agrarian reform beneficiaries. They also urged for the waiving of payment of water and electricity bills for the duration of the lockdown.

3. Ensure continuous food production by providing farmers with production support for palay, corn, vegetables, and other crops. Production support must also be provided to fisherfolks. Subsidy for seeds, farm inputs, petroleum, and other tangible support are also needed.

4. Immediate distribution of relief assistance, food packs for farmers and fisherfolk households. Utilization of barangay health centers to provide community based health assistance to the rural population.

“These are among our concrete and doable proposals to aid millions of farmers and fisherfolks. They are our front line food producers. They are also at risk and most vulnerable once COVID19 peaks due to community transmission,” added Ramos.

Ramos also noted that “even NEDA Secretary Ernie Pernia admitted that this current lockdown situation, if prolonged, could lead to a socio-political crisis.’’

KMP and its chapters in Luzon will join the Protest From Home online actions or Kalampagin ang Gobyerno that began yesterday to demand from the government free and systematic mass testing, urgent provision of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) to front line health workers, and a comprehensive socio-economic action plan to address the COVID-19 pandemic.



Source: Manila Bulletin

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