Militant groups back Duterte against rice smuggling

Jan. 23, 2014

By Earl O. Condeza
Davao Today

DAVAO CITY – Militant groups backed Mayor Rodrigo Duterte on his press to uncover more smugglers of rice through the wharf here, and for emphasizing on the plight of farmers as victims of the cartel and smuggling.

The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) of Southern Mindanao openly expressed their support to Duterte’s action.

“I am elated at Duterte’s reaction. He announced the sharpest statement against the smugglers,” KMP regional spokesperson, Pedro Arnado, said

Arnado said smuggling “burdens the lives of the farmers who were already struggling for survivor, for the government has declined its responsibility to them”

“The government, through its agencies, is telling the people that our rice stocks are small. Small because they based it on the declaration of the Bureau of Customs and most of the smuggled rice don’t pass through the customs.” Arnado added

Because of this Customs declaration on the small supply of rice, government has no other recourse but to allow the increase of the price of rice.

According to Arnado, “the Aquino administration, together with its allied capitalists, use this reason to justify the increase on the price of rice”

“That is why the prices of rice in the market nowadays are very much expensive unlike those of previous months,” he said

He warned that smuggling had been bringing a heavy burden on farmers.

“Kasagaran sa mga mag-uuma, inutang ang yuta, mangutang pa og pestisidyo pati similya. Pero pag ibaligya ila produkto, barato ra. Pag sila na ang mopalit, mahal na kaayo (Most farmers rent their lands, borrow pesiticides and seedlings. But when they sell their product, it’s cheap. When they buy the product, it’s expensive),” Arnado said

Romualdo Basilio of KMU Southern Mindanao who supported Duterte’s move, explained the effects that brought the rice smuggling scandal to the workers sector

Basilio said “that most workers, especially on the factories and plantation are also farmers whose lands were grabbed by big landlords”

“Their lands were grabbed because they weren’t able to pay their debt to the landlord, that’s why they were forced to leave and became plantation workers instead,” Basilio said

He added that “this is rampant not only in the Davao Region but all over the country”

Sheena Duazo, spokesperson of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) in Southern Mindanao commended Duterte’s stern warning to smugglers of rice and said that “smuggling is due to the neo-liberal economic policy that the Aquino administration implemented on import and export of rice and other products.”

“This policy is slowly killing our farmers,” she said

According to Duazo, this “neo-liberal economic policy allows foreign products to enter the country with low price value and almost tax-free”.

She said that as a member state of the World Trade Organization (WTO), “government of the Republic of the Philippines is obliged to implement this [neo-liberal] policy”.

Duazo said that this only shows who Aquino is “truly serving” (Earl O. Condeza/


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