‘Bayanihan 3’ a let-down to agri-sectors, fishers’ group decried

Manila, Philippines – The national fishers’ group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) on Wednesday expressed disappointment on the multi-billion-peso Bayanihan 3, which was already passed on the 2nd reading in Congress, for “not including” direct economic aid and production subsidy for farmers and fishers.

“This supposed “ayuda” bill has rejected to include the demand of labor and agriculture sectors for direct cash aid and production subsidy. The Congress has left out the marginalized farmers and fishers who happen to be food security frontliners, and are also one of the most-hit sectors of the economic crisis brought about by the government’s failed pandemic response,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson said in a statement.

Workers and farmers have been demanding to include in the Bayanihan 3 the P10, 000 cash aid and P15, 000 agricultural production subsidy to cushion the devastating economic impacts of the pandemic and the government’s “inadequate and ill-planned” response.

“How could it be a “Bayanihan to Arise as One” when the supposed economic aid could barely lift the poor sectors out of poverty? We demand production subsidy to strengthen our fishing production and sustain the food needs of the fish-eating population across the country. The government should be reminded that abandoning farmers and fishers is dangerous to the food supply. It should also learn the lesson that food security on an emergency situation is an indispensable issue, next to public health,” Hicap, former Anakpawis Party-list solon added.

Likewise, the fishers’ group is supporting the House Bill 9192 filed by Makabayan lawmakers. It seeks to provide P15, 000 to at least one million Filipinos employed in the fisheries and aquatic sector for production and livelihood expenses.

PAMALAKAYA laments that the fishing sector “bears the brunt” of the high cost of production due to increase of oil products and basic commodities triggered by the inflation that continue to batter the country.

“Strengthening agricultural and fisheries production through livelihood assistance for farmers and fishers are highly essential in keeping a stable food supply,” ended Hicap. ###

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