LA TRINIDAD RURAL PEOPLES'
We, the participants in the Cordillera Peasant Summit, representing a broad range of peasant and peoples’ organizations and alliances in Benguet, Baguio City, Abra, Apayao, Mountain Province, Kalinga and Ifugao, and joined by allied organizations and individuals from national level and from the other regions, as well as representatives from the church, international organizations and local government units, declare:
1. We strongly denounce the sale of Philippine agriculture by the government through its insistent adherence to the policy of agricultural liberalization brought about by its membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO) and other multi-lateral and bilateral agreements such as the RP-China Early Harvest Agreement. The policy already wrought unwarranted damages to the livelihood of millions of rural households in the country contrary to earlier promises that it will improve the livelihood of the rural people.
In the Cordillera alone, the livelihood of more than 100,000 farming families were affected with the dumping of cheap imported agricultural products.
Despite the negative impacts of the previous agreements and the widespread and massive protests, the government and Japan secretly signed unequal free trade agreements such as the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) and the 19 agricultural agreements with China. And still on the pipeline that are apt for negotiations are other bilateral free trade agreement such as the RP-Korea, RP-India, RP-Australia and RP-USA. This will add further miseries to the rural people.
The above agreements further facilitated the entry of Transnational Agribusiness Corporations (TNC’s) whose only motives are to extract large profit to the detriment of our agriculture and thus our very own livelihood despite their pronouncement that the technology is the solution to the widespread hunger and improving the living conditions especially the rural poor.
2. We affirm our stand that policy of liberalizing agriculture is oppressive, immoral, anti-farmer and anti-rural people. It is a sell-out of our sovereignty and patrimony.
We likewise affirm that the Philippines should pursue agricultural policies and programs guided by the principles of social justice, equity, health and environmentally sound and genuine agrarian reform.
THEREFORE, WE COMMIT:
- That we shall expand, consolidate and build greater unity among ourselves in our campaign against the liberalization of agriculture;
- That we will wage a campaign against the ratification of JPEPA in the Philippine Senate and continue working for a legislation for the review and eventual recission of the Philippine membership in the WTO and the unequal bilateral agreements.
- That we will continue to participate in the process of developing an agricultural system that is responsive to our needs and aspirations and one that is not destructive to the environment;
- We shall work with other groups and individuals who subscribe to the same principles and ideals;
- That we shall assert our individual and collective rights;
- That we shall continue to prevent the destruction of our lands by large destructive projects;
- That we shall expand our solidarity relations with other anti-agri liberalization groups and individuals here and abroad.
- That we shall support progressive party lists and the candidacies of national and local candidates with proven records of supporting and upholding the rural peoples’ agenda.
Done this 25th day of April 2007 at La Trinidad, Benguet.