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No to RCEP! No to sellout of PH economy! – GABRIELA

Press Release
February 17, 2023

QUEZON CITY – The national alliance of Filipino women GABRIELA denounced Marcos Jr.’s push for Congress to immediately ratify the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement, citing that the move will have ‘dire consequences’ to food security and to the agriculture industry in the Philippines. The women’s group called on legislators to exercise its autonomy as an independent branch of the government and ‘refuse to be complicit in further jeopardizing farmers’ livelihoods and in the sellout of our patrimony.”

“Words obviously mean nothing to pathological liars like the Marcoses. From supposedly having ‘reservations’ about the RCEP, Marcos Jr. has since completely backpedaled by leading the push for its ratification – to the detriment of the already suffering agricultural sector. Naturingang DA Secretary pero puro peste sa magsasaka ang dala ni Marcos, mula sa Rice Liberalization Law, importasyon ng mga produktong pang-agrikultura, at ngayon ito namang RCEP,” hit GABRIELA Secretary General Clarice Palce.

GABRIELA cited how farmers – millions of whom are women – are struggling to compete with imported products due to government’s neglect of agriculture. Many are drowning in debt because of sky-high production costs and depressed farmgate prices. Agri groups have been calling for subsidy and aid, as well as for an end to Marcos Jr.’s import-driven response to soaring prices of farm products.

“Departamento ng Angkat ang pinatatakbo ni Pangulong Marcos. Kung dati’y nagkakanda-kuba lang ang magsasaka habang nananatiling hikahos, ngayon nagsisimatayan na ang marami sa amin. Nito lamang Enero, limang magsasaka ang nagpakamatay sa Bayambang, Pangasinan. Ayon mismo sa misis ng isa sa kanila, pagkabaon sa utang ang nagtulak sa asawa niyang gawin ito dahil hindi umano nito mabawi ang milyong utang para sa produksyon dahil sa importasyon. Nasaan ang kalinga ng gobyerno sa nagpapakain sa taumbayan?” raised Amihan National Chairperson Zen Soriano.

With women’s month just around the corner, women agricultural workers are among the sectors that GABRIELA aims to highlight on March 8, the International Working Women’s Day, as they are among the most underpaid and undervalued workers In the Philippines and across the globe.

GABRIELA and Amihan both urged the government to prioritize the interests of Filipino farmers and the country. The groups emphasized that Congress must oppose RCEP and instead pass measures to strengthen the agricultural sector of the country, which in recent years had historically the lowest share in GDP despite the Philippines being an agricultural country. GABRIELA urged, “give Filipino farmers a fighting chance.”

“Malaking pagtatraydor sa bansa ang pagsasaalang-alang sa sektor ng agrikultura, laluna habang kumakaharap ng malalang kagutuman ang mamamayan. Kaya hinahamon namin ang mga mambababatas na wag magsilbing ‘rubberstamp’ lang ni Marcos Jr., at sa halip ay tindigan ang mamamayang nagluklok sa kanila sa puwesto. Pilipinas naman,” Palce called.