by Allan Yves Briones
“Tama na. Sobra na. Wakasan na!”
The Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) decried the “bleak future” awaiting Filipino agricultural workers after President Rodrigo Duterte’s 4th State of the Nation Address.
“The current state of agriworkers is already dismal what with the lack of a genuine agrarian reform program, slave wages, continuing contractualization, and lack of benefits,” said UMA Chairperson Antonio Flores.
According to a statement released by UMA, agriworkers in Mindanao get earn sums below the minimum wage. Plantation workers for DOLE, Del Monte and Sumifru reportedly get a measly P234 to P335 per day, which is further reduced for those hired through fake labor cooperatives.
Bong Lacson (R) hopes that the 18th Congress would take steps to ensure that agricultural land is protected, securing the livelihood of farmers nationwide.
For Bong Lacson, a farmer from Pampanga, Senator Cynthia Villar, wife of real estate tycoon Manny Villar, being in the senate is a slap in the face of his fellow farmers, for she allegedly empowered efforts to convert agricultural lands to subdivisions.
He urged passersby to take more than a momentary gaze and actually empathize with the plight of the marginalized communities in the country.
“They should listen. Listen well. They should also ask so that they can learn the truth of is really happening with the farmers in the provinces,” he said in the vernacular.
This, according to Flores, is why they’re marching in protest:
“If we love our country, the farmers who feed us and the workers who fuel our economy, we will not allow Duterte, a traitor and a fascist, to remain in power for 3 more years,” the statement reads.
Duterte is set to address the 18th Congress later today.