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RA 11203 aggravates plight of farmers, poor

04:02 AM February 18, 2020

The Rural Women Advocates (Ruwa) continues to strongly denounce the enactment of Republic Act No. 11203 or the rice liberalization law.

In the wake of its implementation, Filipino farmers have borne the brunt of its dangerous consequences, which will only continue to worsen if the law is not repealed at the soonest possible opportunity.

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Within a year of its implementation, it has shown its devastating effects on Filipino farmers. Due to the influx of imported rice coming from different neighboring countries, which is also mandated and directed by the World Trade Organization, our local producers were forced to lower the prices of their rice.

Even with the National Food Authority (NFA) buying these locally grown rice at P19, prices can still go as low as P7. This diminishing price has led to serious dangers to the lives of our farmers.

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Many of the farmers’ children in Nueva Ecija have dropped out of school because of the strain on their livelihood. Between 2018 and 2019, the enrollment rate in a school in Nueva Ecija alarmingly decreased. Peasant women are also forced to look for other means to add to their household income, mostly by becoming domestic helpers.

These numbers may seem low for now, but the fact remains that the government has failed to safeguard and protect the interest of our farmers. Even with programs like the conditional cash transfer that aim to leverage the effects of RA 11203, the government’s action is bare minimum at most.

It is not only our farmers that have felt the effects of RA 11203. Because of the law, the NFA also lost its commercial functions and regulatory powers, and has only retained its emergency buffer-stocking mandate.

As such, 1,792 NFA personnel are about to lose their jobs following the restructuring mandated by the Governance Commission for Government-Owned or -Controlled Corporations.

A year of RA 11203 has only aggravated the plight of farmers and the rest of the Filipino people. It is evident that this has only benefited the interests of the powerful and the capitalists, and not the Filipino masses.

VITTO LARDIZABAL
Member
Rural Women Advocates
[email protected]

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TAGS: farmers, letter, rice liberalization law, rice tariffication, Rural Women Advocates, Vitto Lardizabal
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