“Insult,” solon says on PNoy’s rice subsidy to farmers, push for genuine agrarian reform

“Insult,” solon says on PNoy’s rice subsidy to farmers, push for genuine agrarian reform Anakpawis party-list Representative Rafael Mariano today described the Aquino government’s rice subsidy program for farmers as “an insult to the rice producers themselves” and exposes the government’s inability to implement genuine reforms.

Mariano issued the statement after Social Welfare Secretary Corazon Soliman yesterday said that about two million farmers, fishermen, and the poorest of the poor are in line to receive rice subsidies or employment from the government to tide them over the lean months and to help them cope with rising food prices.

“The Aquino government is exploiting farmers’ situation in order to utilize billions of taxpayers’ money in a corruption-prone rice subsidy program similar to the fertilizer fund scam and conditional cash transfer scheme,”

Mariano said. “It is the height of irony that farmers, the rice producers themselves, are now being targeted by the government’s so-called rice subsidy. Instead of addressing demands for genuine agrarian reform and direct agricultural support to farmers, Aquino further insults the people behind the plow by giving them crumbs,” says Mariano, who also chairs the peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas.

“This exposes the Aquino government’s failure to address hunger and poverty and inability to implement genuine reforms,” the Anakpawis lawmaker said. Mariano said that “the free distribution of lands to farmers through genuine agrarian reform will directly help farmers feed themselves and their family and unleash the capital in the land that will serve as a strong foundation for the development of the national economy and support national industrialization.”