Budget for fascism, neoliberalism and corruption must be allocated for agriculture!

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This article is available in Pilipino

US-Marcos Jr regime’s EO 39 that puts price caps on rice prices warrants the ire of the entire peasantry. Surely because of it, their palay will be bought at grossly lower prices, more of them will be debt-ridden, be forced to stop farming and sell the lands that they cultivate. If the regime sincerely wants to lower rice prices and solve the food crisis, instead of price caps, what the nation needs are boosts in local production, decrease in palay production costs, increase in consumers’ purchasing powers and the repudiation of frenzied importation and full-blown liberalization of agriculture.

But with how this government sets its priorities through its budget allocation, its conscious lack of desire to resolve the problems—not only of the peasanty but of the whole nation, is very apparent. Budget for agriculture remains the runt of the pack. Funds that the government earmarked for fascism, neoliberalism and corruption is very much steeper compared to what it allocates for the welfare of the impoverished farmers.

For every peso for agriculture, there is P40 apportioned for neoliberal infrastructure projects under the regime’s Build, Better, More. Big capitalists are the only ones to gain from these. Through these projects, oligarchs profit in acquiring project contracts and making these serve the expansion of their businesses. An example is the MRT-7 that flattened the cultivated lands of farmers in Bulacan. Ramon Ang’s San Miguel Corporation holds this project. Through this, the Villars, Ayalas and Sys are able to expand their real estate businesses within the said province.

In the name of supposed `tradition’ and courtesy to Sara Duterte, lawmakers hastily approved the P650 million confidential and intelligence funds for the OVP and DepEd despite anomalous transactions of said offices such as the so-dubbed `grandest pasaload’ wherein the OVP’s P125 million confidential funds in 2022 came from Marcos Jr.’s presidential pork. Even according to some senators, there is no item earmarked for the said amount hence the incident can be deemed as a ghost transfer. But despite these, in just over 20 minutes, Duterte’s proposed budget was still approved while the agriculture budget, from the initial propose P396 billion was slashed to P167 billion. This is a mere 2.9% of the P5.768 trillion budget for 2024.

Although Marcos Jr. says that Kadiwa stores play an important role in stabilizing the price of rice, the Kadiwa program has been given a meager P492.7 million for next year. Meanwhile, the budget for his junkets abroad is at a staggering amount of P1.4 billion. So for every peso there is for Marcos’ trips, there is only 35 cents for the Kadiwa program.

The farmers and the entire nation have had enough of hearing this reactionary state’s blusters. It has no empathy for the masses. The people may drop dead of hunger for all they care. They will just go on glutting themselves with the public’s hard-earned funds. This reactionary state is no different from the parasites and pests that farmers are so familiar with in their lands. To defend and secure the lives and sources of living of ordinary Filipinos, the peasantry and entire nation must fully expunge them.

Budget for fascism, neoliberalism and corruption must be allocated for agriculture!