More than a hundred local farmer organizations and food advocate groups have endorsed the candidacy of Vice President Leni Robredo and Senator Francis Pangilinan for the presidency and vice presidency, respectively.
Ten days before the May 9 national and local elections, a total of 158 farmers’ organizations said they are supporting the main opposition tandem as they feel the “sincerity of their programs to uplift the lives of the Filipino poor, especially the plight of poor peasants.”
Among those that endorsed the Robredo-Pangilinan tandem are farmer’s rights advocacy groups Philippine Network of Food Security Programmes, Sibol ng Agham at Teknolohiya , Society of St. Paul, Student Christian Movement-University of the Philippines in Los Banos, and Agroecology X.
“We can see their clear plan and platforms for boosting agricultural production in the country along with recognizing the important role of farmers in society,” part of their statement reads.
The organizations cited among their demands the advancement of genuine land reform, opposition to foreign domination in agriculture, uplifting the lives of farmers and the rural population, strengthening of the local agriculture, and upholding justice and peace and rights of farmers.
“We have seen various personalities and groups express support for various candidates. It is high time for small farmers’ voices to be heard,” Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) chairperson Danilo Ramos said in a press conference announcing their endorsement.
The signatories also cited the tandem’s “clean record and lack of any corruption issue” as among the reasons for their support.
Cecil Rapiz of the Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Bulacan-San Jose del Monte expressed confidence in the tandem’s record on pursuing food self-sufficiency.
“For us, deeds done are more important than any grandiose promise. We are witness to Leni-Kiko’s efforts at addressing rural poverty, especially Senator Kiko who has engaged with us farmers groups, election time or not,” Rapiz.
The organizations also acknowledged the tandem’s stance on human rights.
“We thank Vice President Leni Robredo for standing against extrajudicial killings. We remember how she joined us in demanding justice for the Bloody Sunday Massacre victims where fellow farmers and activists were killed by state forces,” Jerry Luna of Katipunan ng mga Lehitimong Magsasaka at Mamamayan sa Lupang Ramos (KASAMA-LR) from Cavite said.
Lucia Capaducio of the Paghugpong sang mga Mangunguma sa Panay kag Guimaras for her part said Robredo and Pangilinan’s platform is “pro-poor.”
“There is no ‘Solid North’ – the rural population suffered tremendously both under the Marcos and Duterte regimes and we are vehemently against their return to power,” Cagayan Valley peasant leader Renato Gameng said.
KMP’s Ramos said they are more organizations to join their declaration of support to Robredo and Pangilinan. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)