Saturday, October 15, 2011

NCCP Joins Churches’ of Action on Food: A Solidarity Invitation

Note: This post is a bit has been hectic in the office of late.  Also this will be my last post as the NCCP Library Staff since I am ending my almost 20-year of serving the Council this day, October 15, 2011.  Thank you to all those who followed the blog on my watch.  Thank you to all who supported and is continuously supporting the ministries of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines.
- Ian Michael Ileto

On October 10, 2011, the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) joins peoples of the world in a global action on food. To start the Churches Week of Action on Food, the National Secretariat of the NCCP joined by the National Office Staff of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines, youth from KAIROS Philippines, Peace for Life staff, and CONTAK Philippines held a liturgical celebration which affirmed churches’ call– food security for the people, equitable and just distribution of the world’s food production and denouncing practices that deprive people of the right to food and calling for all to advocate for those who produce the world’s food and yet go hungry, themselves.

Mr. Danilo Ramos of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (Peasant Movement in the Philippines) provided what is called the NOW Testament.  He discussed the current situation of the peasants in the Philippines and averred that the issues and struggle of the peasants and the development of agriculture is everyone’s concern.

The Philippines is an agricultural country with 75% of its population being peasants and farm workers.  However, land they till do not belong to them but to landlords and large corporations both local and foreign.  A lot of the peasants currently face eviction from the lands they currently till because of land grabbing of the same.

Mr. Ramos cited examples of large tracts of land in different parts of the country as being controlled by families or corporations, or being converted into something else that clearly does not benefit the farmers.  On top of this, because farmers do not have capital, they are subject to usurers whose interest rates range from 30-150%.  On the macro level, there are systems in place that continually oppress them like liberalization of the country’s agriculture and control of transnational corporations of chemical inputs.

The farmers call and so must the churches’ is to have genuine land reform – give land to the tillers and stop liberalization of agriculture.

Thus, the church is not only called to prayer but also to action toward social justice.
Forms of commitment and action
  1. Offering gathered during the service was given to the KMP as a support to the upcoming Peasants’ March on October 17, 2011.
  2. Liturgical celebration will also be held with local churches
  3. Church people enjoined to the Peasants’ March on October 17 to 21
  4. “World Rural Women’s Day
Oct. 14 -Peasant Women’s Assembly and Forum on Land Grabbing and its Impact to Food Security
Oct. 15-  peasant women’s march to Department of Agrarian Reform
October 16- world foodless Day- picket sa Department of Agriculture
  1. Oct. 14-21 Peasant and Agricultural Worker’s Luzon-Wide March (Lakbayan-Sakbayan) to Manila while Visayas and Mindanao will also do their region-wide March.  Theme:  “Tunay na Reporma sa Lupa” at Pagsabatas ng House Bill 374 o Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB).
  2. October 17 – “Salubungan sa Monumento and Alabang”
  3. October 17 – Vigil & Solidarity Night in front of Department of Agriculture (DAR) National Office in Quezon City
  4. October 18-21 “Pagkilos  sa Supreme Court” at sa October 21 march from Supreme court to Mendiola
  5. Oct 21 (9:00am)– AMIHAN and SAMMARO (Samahan ng mgag Magsasaka sa Mascap Rodriguez) will seed audience with CBCP regarding the issue of Land Grabbing through cancellation of EP at CLT.
  6. October 10- Dialogue with National Food Authority Council ng AMIHAN at  BANTAY BIGAS (Rice Monitor) (Alyansa ng Mamamayan para sa Sapat Ligtas at Abot kayang Presyo ng Bigas) regarding the issue of support services and subsidy for the farmers to be able to achieve rice self sufficiency and food security.

credits: text from NCCP website, photo by imileto