A TOTAL of 158 farmer organizations and food advocate groups has endorsed the presidential bid of Vice President Leni Robredo.
In their declaration of support, the groups also declared their support to the candidacy of Senator Kiko Pangilinan for vice president.
“We feel the sincerity of their programs to uplift the lives of the Filipino poor, especially the plight of poor peasants. We can see their clear plan and platforms for boosting agricultural production in the country along with recognizing the important role of farmers in society,” part of the statement read.
The endorsement comes 10 days before the national elections on May 9.
The signatory-organizations cited among their demands the advancement of genuine land reform, opposition to foreign domination in agriculture, uplifting the lives of farmers and the rural population, strengthening of the local agriculture, and upholding justice and peace and rights of farmers.
The organizations have also listed 18 reasons why they are supporting the Leni-Kiko tandem.
Danilo Ramos of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas led the press conference announcing the endorsement.
“We have seen various personalities and groups express support for various candidates, it is high time for small farmers’ voices to be heard,” Ramos said.
Most of the statement’s signatories are municipal and provincial farmer organizations from various regions all over the country.
The farmers shared their “Letters for Leni-Kiko,” reading from hand-written notes.
Among them, Cecil Rapiz of Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Bulacan-San Jose del Monte (AMB-SJDM) expressed confidence in the tandem’s record on pursuing food self-sufficiency.
“For us, deeds done are more important than any grandiose promise. We are witness to Leni-Kiko’s efforts at addressing rural poverty, especially Senator Kiko who has engaged with us farmers groups, election time or not.”
The signatories also cited the Leni-Kiko tandem’s clean record and lack of any corruption issue as among the reasons for their support.
Jerry Luna of Katipunan ng mga Lehitimong Magsasaka at Mamamayan sa Lupang Ramos (Kasama-LR) from Cavite acknowledged the tandem’s stance on human rights.
“We thank Vice President Leni Robredo for standing against extrajudicial killings. We remember how she joined us in demanding justice for the Bloody Sunday Massacre victims where fellow farmers and activists were killed by state forces,” he said.
“Their rivals deride Leni-Kiko for supposedly being elitist, yet theirs is a pro-poor platform and track record,” said Lucia Capaducio of the Paghugpong sang mga Mangunguma sa Panay kag Guimaras.
Also signatories to the statement also included some farmer’s rights advocacy groups such as the Philippine Network of Food Security Programmes, Sibol ng Agham at Teknolohiya (Sibat) Inc., and Agroecology X.
“We are expecting to gather more signatories to the declaration of support,” Ramos said.