the past year, state-sponsored human rights violations in Palawan’s rural communities spiked due to the vicious, systematic, and widespread redtagging of organized small fisherfolks and other rural peoples campaigning against development aggression. People’s organizations and their leaders are subjected to constant harassment and intimidation to curb their resistance on the premise of being linked to communist rebels – a baseless and fabricated accusation. Their members were also forced to surrender as rebel returnees.
GM crops like Golden Rice will never be the answer to hunger and malnutrition in the Philippines and in any other country. Governments should first tackle the widespread landlessness and poverty in rural areas. Policies should gear toward strengthening domestic agriculture empowering local farmers, who can produce more than enough of the many vitamin-enriched crops that are cheaper than Golden Rice. In this regard, the Rice Tarrification Law should be revoked in the Philippines to alleviate the situation of local rice farmers.
We invite everyone to join the Global Day of Action on December 10, International Human Rights Day. Let us call for our legitimate demands including people’s food sovereignty, defend our rights, and express our denunciation of neoliberal globalization and fascism.
Last October 16, 21 national organizations and six regional formations from Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Bolivia, and Zambia took part in our Global Day of Action for World Hunger Day. Various activities were held to highlight their local issues and echo our call for people’s food sovereignty as the people-centered alternative against neoliberal globalization in our food systems and agriculture.
On October 16, World Hunger Day, we shall expose the failure of Zero Hunger and the SDGs: that the global hunger situation is caused by the control and domination of oppressive structures and policies on our food and agricultural systems that favor corporate interests. Let us assert food sovereignty, our power to realize our right to food and produce food, the full realization of people’s democracy in all aspects of the food and agriculture system, as the genuinely sustainable, and people-centered alternative against neoliberal globalization on food and agriculture policies.
Participating organizations highlighted the catalyzed efforts of the current administration to create and amend land-related laws that significantly impact the small farmers’ and indigenous peoples’ access to land. One highlight includes a discussion on the abrogation of the Vacant, Fallow, and Virgin (VFV) Land Management Law—a land registration scheme aimed to secure land rights for investors. With the recent lapse of the deadline, farmers—mostly ethnic minorities—are being forcibly removed from around 20 million hectares of land for corporate interests.