‘Promoting food security for Filipinos at the heart of Gabriela’s legislative agenda’

It has also filed before the 18th Congress of the House of Representatives bills such as the Magna Carta for Day Care Workers, the amendments to Solo Parents Act, the repeal of Human Security Act and the value added tax on oil, and the resolution on water concession agreement.

By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
Bulatlat.com

MANILA – This 18th Congress, Gabriela Women’s Party said it will push for policies that will promote food self-sufficiency for Filipinos.

On Monday, among the 10 bills filed by Gabriela Women’s Party are House Bill 476 or the proposal to repeal the Rice Tariffication Law and House Bill 477 or the Rice Development Industry Act. These bills, the group said, “will ensure food security and rice self-sufficiency for millions of Filipinos.”

In a statement, the women’s group said these measures, co-authored along with fellow progressive partylists Bayan Muna, ACT Teachers, and Kabataan, will seek to “stop the bleeding of the local rice industry and the massive income losses of local farmers” following the lifting of tariff on imported rice.

“We need to strengthen the NFA (National Food Authority) as a regulating body and to bring back the NFA rice to the market. We can only do this if the Rice Tarrification Law is repealed and the local rice industry will receive due support,” said Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Arlene Brosas.

Gabriela said more than 2.5 million Filipino households rely on local rice production for livelihood. Over 10 million Filipinos, on the other hand, consume NFA rice.

Countering land-use conversion

Brosas said the Rice Development Industry Bill also aims to counter the rising land grabbing of agricultural lands to favor cash crops and foreign-oriented agro-industries.

In an earlier report, farmers assailed how land-use conversion continued despite President Duterte’s promise to implement a moratorium. Peasant leader Rafael Mariano, during his stint as agrarian reform secretary, lobbied for the signing of the moratorium but it remained pending before the Presidential Agrarian Reform Council, the highest policy-making and coordinating body on agrarian reform affairs.

Former Anakpawis Partylist Rep. Ariel Casilao told Bulatlat in a text message that the moratorium remains pending before the Office of the President and was “never acted on to this day.”

Land conversion and land grabbing, in fact, became even more state-sponsored with the current administration’s cornerstone “Build Build Build” program.

Read: As landlessness, land grabbing intensifies, so does agrarian unrest

Legislators backing the House Bill 477 on the rice industry development, in the end, see the crisis in the country’s rice industry not just as a mere “supply problem” but the result of the perennial band aid solutions that the Philippine government has been employing, which could have long been resolved if only it seriously addressed landlessness and the much-needed support for its farmers and agricultural workers.

Bills promoting women’s rights

Apart from these bills that will promote food security and economic relief to Filipinos, Gabriela has also refiled bills that seek to amend the current anti-rape law, electronic violence against women and children, and the controversial divorce bill.

It has also filed before the 18th Congress of the House of Representatives bills such as the Magna Carta for Day Care Workers, the amendments to Solo Parents Act, the repeal of Human Security Act and the value added tax on oil, and the resolution on water concession agreement. (https://www.bulatlat.com)

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