The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) reiterated its call for President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to leave the Department of Agriculture (DA) and appoint a competent full time secretary on the occasion of his 66th birthday last Wednesday.
In a statement on September 13, the farmers’ group said Marcos is not really serious in solving the problems of the agriculture sector and has proven to be incompetent at the job.
“He had been agriculture secretary for more than a year and we are seeing only bad results. He failed to fix the problems of agriculture and these only worsened,” KMP chairperson emeritus Rafael Mariano said.
“Rice prices did not go down to P20. It in fact rose to P50 to P60. There had been no relief to farmers and fisherfolk and importation has worsened. We hope he listens and steps down as DA secretary,” Mariano added.
Marcos spent his birthday in Singapore attending an Association of South East Asian Nations summit and the elitist Formula 1 Grand Prix on his second birthday in a row.
The KMP said agriculture has no hope with Marcos, adding the people are more hard up since he appointed himself agency secretary.
Various agricultural products such as rice, tomatoes, sugar, onions, chilli have experienced runaway prices under the Marcos presidency.
KMP, citing government data, said agriculture remains to be the weakest contributor to the country’s gross domestic product.
It added that the agricultural output further contracted in the second quarter of the year because of the decrease in fisheries production.
“Agricultural production weakened by 1.3% from April to June this year compared to 0.5% last year. This means that the gains of this year’s first quarter have been reversed,” KMP said.
The group further revealed that rice production has failed to increase in the past six years, averaging only -0.15% at 0.35% since 2017.
The President is being insensitive in attending the Formula 1 while the country is in crisis. It further proves he does not care about the people’s hardships brought about by runaway prices, KMP said.
KMP recalled that Supertyphoon Karding (Tropical Cyclone Noru) was barrelling towards the Philippines when he attended the Singapore Grand Prix last year. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)