Monthly Archives: April 2019

New Regional Coordinator for Luzon

MASIPAG Luzon welcomes its new Regional Coordinator, Maria Rowena Buena!

Rowena or Weng, started in MASIPAG as Technical Staff at the National Secretariat in year 2000. She has since taken several roles in the network to promote and implement its programs and advocacies including the promotion of Participatory Guarantee System or PGS.

She is representing MASIPAG as Secretary for Asia at the Intercontinental Network of Organic Farmers Organization (INOFO), a self-organized structure of small farmer organizations within IFOAM. She is also a member of the IFOAM PGS Committee.

Weng earned both her Bachelor’s degree in Agriculture and Master’s degree in Management at the University of the Philippines, Los Baños.#

Misereor Leaders Visit MASIPAG

From April 6-8, Misereor CEO Pirmin Spiegel and Archbishop of Freiburg Stephan Burger spent time with the farmers of MASIPAG and joined in celebration of the Holy Mass during the 10th General Assembly. With the objective to get to know more about the MASIPAG farmers, they travelled to Quezon province where they held field visits and community dialogues on MASIPAG’s programs, and the issue of climate change.

“When asked what their membership in MASIPAG meant to them, the representatives of the farmers’ groups did not need to think twice. And the aspects they cite go far beyond what we would expect and testify to a holistic and deep reflection on life, development and the future.”

To learn more about their visit, read Mr. Spiegel’s blogpost here.

Protect Farmers’ Rights, End Rice Crisis Now!

The BIGAS Conference is a historical event where farmers gather to look for solutions to address agricultural crises. The first BIGAS Conference in 1985 gave birth to the MASIPAG network.

Quezon City – Around 150 farmers, scientists and NGOs from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao gathered together for a week-long series of activities that raised the call to address the current rice crisis and stop the attacks on farmers and development workers that are vital in the realization of food security in the country.

From April 2 to April 6, MASIPAG members, along with partners and friends exposed the various challenges that farmers and food producers all over the country are facing, including persistent landlessness and the vicious attacks to peasants and farmers. MASIPAG likewise condemned the Rice Tariffication Law, believing that it will cause the downfall of the local agriculture sector, particularly the rice producers, from the onslaught of cheap, imported rice. It is expected also that that this deluge of imported products might include possibly unsafe genetically modified rice that will be made available to the consumers.

MASIPAG along with its allies likewise hit the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and its relevance to the Filipino small-scale farmers. IRRI was established in the 1960s to supposedly bring development to the agricultural production in the Philippines and Asia. Yet, from the high-yielding varieties to the genetically modified Golden Rice, their technologies still fail to address the most basic problems of the poor farmers.

Farmers are also currently facing worsening drought, a manifestation of climate change that will also kill off the farmers and the industry. Already, more than Php 4 Billion pesos worth of damages were reportedly incurred with the onset of drought in many agricultural areas.

Hope in the Hands of the Farmers

Despite this bleak reality, a farmers-scientists network remain committed to promoting alternatives that will improve the agricultural productivity of resource-poor farmers and protect the peoples’ rights to safe food and balanced environment.

The week-long series of activities showcased not only these programs and practices on sustainable agriculture, farmer-led research, climate change resiliency and farmer empowerment, but also to express their solidarity to farmers, human rights defenders and development workers who work tirelessly to achieve food security and protect the country’s food sovereignty.

The following activities were held to much success:

APRIL 2: Book launching of Stories of Struggle: Experiences of Land Reform in Negros Island
Written by researchers and academician from Australia and the Philippines, the book features the experience of farmers assisted by theorganization of Atty Ben Ramos, the slain human rights defender.

APRIL 3: 3rd Bigas Conference (Bahanggunian ng mga Isyu Hinggil sa Bigas)
Response of farmers, scientists and NGOs on the ongoing rice crisis and ways forward.

 

 

APRIL 4: Mass Action against IRRI and the rice crisis
Farmers trooped to protest against the rice crisis and IRRI (International Rice Research Institute), which was celebrating their 59th anniversary.

APRIL 5-6: MASIPAG 10th General Assembly
An organizational activity to celebrate MASIPAG’s more than 30 years of service to Filipino farmers through its sustainable agriculture programs.

Rep. Ariel Casilao served as the Keynote Speaker during the opening program of the 10th General Assembly.

Community dance during the solidarity night

During the GA, a new set of Board of Trustees (BOT) was elected with the following results:

BOT Chair: Elpidio Paglumotan (Farmer from Negros)
Secretary: Karen Faith Villaprudente (NGO rep)
Treasurer: Marion Tan (Scientist)
Members: Pepito Babasa (Farmer from Camarines Sur)
Joffrey Frinal (Farmer from South Cotabato)
Casilda Galagala (NGO)
Ramile Jagodilla, (Farmer from Capiz)
Virginia Nazareno (Farmer from Quezon)
Dr. Rose Sambo (Scientist)

MASIPAG pays tribute to the farmers and leaders who recently passed away.

Archbishop Stephan Burger blesses the seeds that were shared and exchanged among the farmers.

Among the highlights of the GA included the tribute to MASIPAG leaders and farmers who passed away, including Atty Ben Ramos and BOT member Marcelino Dela Rosa. A solemn seed exchange was also held, which was made more meaningful with the blessing officiated by Misereor Chairman Archbishop Stephan Burger. #