Sunday Essays: A Letter to Filipino Farmers

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Saturday, August 16, 2014

THE so-called backbone of the nation produces the fruits, vegetables, and rice that are served on Filipino tables. They are the farmers. It is because of the farmers’ ceaseless efforts that we have something to eat to fill our stomach and nourish our body.

With that, I am writing this to thank and salute you for all the selfless things you do, and to express how important you are to me.

The sad thing is that most of the people you feed do not appreciate and give importance of your existence and contribution. What’s more heart-breaking is that you work harder, but earn less.

You earn less not just because of the small amount of income you gain, but because of the little value given to you. You earn less because most of Filipinos do not deeply appreciate your important role in the society as food producers.

In our dining table, we never forget to thank God for providing the food we eat. But, we don’t realize you are God’s instruments who make it possible for us to have the fruits, vegetables, and rice served on our tables.

I often reflect about your life.

You wake up before the sun rises, then sip a cup of coffee and eat four to six pieces of pandesal.

I find it heart-rending that you wake up early every morning to take care of the crops that are later cooked and served on our table, while we stay at peace on our bed, wake up late, and eat what you have produced for us.

While we’re lying with our back on a comfortable mattress, you’re working so hard with your sweat dripping and back under the torturing heat of the sun. But, you never complain. You never stop.

We don’t even think of the farmers’ hard work and hardship while we chew our food. What we have in mind is to eat to our heart’s content and start our day in a way that’s far different from theirs.

Rain or shine, you go to the fields to check on the crops, and do everything to have a good harvest to gain bigger income. You spend almost half of your day under various difficult situations, but you do not earn what you deserve.

You put in a big percentage to our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and along with the fishery sector, you contribute almost 20 percent of the total GDP.

But, you receive less of government’s assistance. Your income is not enough for your basic needs and can’t even support your family. You don’t deserve to get this in return from your huge contribution in the society and economy.

It upsets me that even if you fulfill your role in the society in the best way you can, together with the fishermen, you are still the ‘poorest sectors’ and ‘most vulnerable to hunger and poverty’ according to a report by Oxfam International Philippines.

As one of the pillars of Philippine economy, you are worthy to be commended. You deserve to live in abundance. You deserve more.

I thank you because you are the reason why my mother is able to buy fresh fruits and vegetables at the market, which she cooks into a delicious and healthy meal for us.

I thank you for if it isn’t because of your undying efforts, my father won’t be able to purchase a sack of rice to sustain us for a month.

I thank you because we’re able to survive everyday, through the staple crops you produce, which we buy, cook, and eat.

You might not know how important you are to me and to my family that’s why I’m writing this and I hope you’ll be able to read this.

I am certain that one day will come when, like the seeds you plant, you will rise from the ground and grow abundantly. Yes, you will.

-o0o-

Sunday Essays are articles written by Ateneo de Davao University students for their journalism subject.

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