Manila, Philippines – Anakpawis Party-list Representative Ariel “Ka Ayik” Casilao renewed his call for the country’s pull-out from the World Trade Organization – Agreement on Agriculture (WTO-AoA) and the moves for tariffication of rice imports, removing the quantitative restrictions (QRs) as provisioned by House Bill No. 5023 filed by former president Pampanga 2nd District representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. The Technical Working Group under the Committee on Agriculture and Food deliberated on the said bill where Casilao is a member.
“This is a doomsday legislation for rice farmers in the country, who are already suffering from landlessness, high cost of production and government neglect, it is akin to condemning them to mass displacement and misery,” Casilao said in a statement.
The QR WTO-AoA safety net expired on June 30, 2017 and was only extended through the issuance of Executive Order No. 23. Casilao said that the proposed tariffication is very alarming as it is leading to the the full liberalization of our agriculture as dictated by WTO-AoA. He added that rice production in the country is doomed to suffer huge losses from cheaper imported rice. Coinciding, government support to agriculture and farmers would be limited as the agreement pushes for total state non-intervention.
“The long-running demand of Filipino farmers is to pull-out from WTO-AoA, for adequate government support such as free irrigation, and ultimately, free land distribution, hence, total liberalization of agriculture will only put the country’s population into a state of hunger and low-productivity,” Casilao ended. ###