By JOHN AARON MARK MACARAEG
MANILA — Amid the bankruptcy of rice farmers caused by the Republic Act 11023 or the liberalization of rice industry, legislators of the Makabayan bloc filed a resolution opposing the full liberalization of the country’s sugar industry.
Filed on World Food Day, Oct. 16, House Resolution 439 shun economic managers’ plan to liberalize the importation, saying this would hurt the farm workers the most. The Makabayan bloc said the plan “reeks of insensitivity.”
“It will condemn to economic bankruptcy the sugar industry’s 80,000 planters and the employment and livelihood loss of its 700,000 agricultural workers, 26,000 mill workers and some 2 million downstream dependents,” the legislators of Bayan Muna, ACT Teachers, Gabriela Women’s Party and Kabataan Partylist said.
They cited the impact of the liberalization of the rice industry on the livelihood of farmers. “They are effects so vicious that these should have made any sane official of this land to pause and take a serious look at what he had done,” the legislators said.
Makabayan added that the farm workers in the sugar industry are among the lowest paid, earning only an average of P115-125 per day for men and P110-115 perday for women and children. “They suffer these starvation wages because most sugar-producing provinces are monoculture economies and have very narrow employment opportunities,” they said.