Magsasaka at Siyentipiko para sa Pag-unlad ng Agrikultura (MASIPAG) vehemently condemns the state agents’ harassment of its MASIPAG farmer-leader and farmer trainer Lucia Capaducio
According to the released press statement of Panay Alliance Karapatan, last September 3, three men introducing themselves as Department of Environmental and Natural Resources (DENR) personnels went to the resident of Nay Lucia in Leon asking about her whereabouts. With only her husband, Tay Felix, 72 years of age, being present at that time, the three men immediately interrogated and blatantly red-tagged Nay Lucia’s husband and other family members accusing Nay Lucia as a leader of the New People’s Army (NPA) and their family being supporters of the rebel group.
Hailing from Paghugpong sang mga Mangunguma sa Panay kag Guimaras (PAMANGGAS), a long time MASIPAG member people’s organization, Nay Lucia is a staunch advocate of farmer-led sustainable and organic agriculture and people-led rural development. For decades, Nay Lucia has been sharing her wide array of skills in sustainable organic farming by training farmers across the country both in the technical and advocacy and lobbying aspect of sustainable organic agriculture.
In November of last year, Nay Lucia was also one of the recipients of the prestigious Gawad Ben Ramos Award due to her decades long effort in forwarding a pro-farmer and pro-people agriculture and food system.
One of PAMANGGAS’s yearly campaign, where Nay Lucia stands as the overall oversee of it, is the Kampanya Kontra Gutom where member farmers conduct an education drive and series of farmer-to-farmer consultations in many of the municipalities and provinces in the Visayas region to address about the standing and immediate issues being faced by their fellow farmers especially the resource poor ones. One of the many successes of these yearly campaigns is the capacitation of local farmers in order to conduct and triumph their own lobbying work in their respective local government units in continuously forwarding meaningful and pro-farmer policies.
When super typhoon Yolanda hit the Visayas region back in 2013, PAMANGGAS played a huge role in conducting local relief and recovery efforts in many of the communities in Panay. In 2016, three years after supertyphoon Yolanda, it was Nay Lucia who convened the communities’ campaign in demanding to finally release the long-delayed Php 5,000 Presidential Financial Assistance.
During the height of the COVID-19 lockdown, Nay Lucia spearheaded the local health and nutrition campaign in the province of Iloilo where they conducted feeding programs and education drives on COVID-19. Due to this campaign, Nay Lucia and MASIPAG farmers managed to establish health teams in every barrios to monitor and circulate updates and information with regards to the ongoing pandemic.
MASIPAG stands with the assertion that red tagging has no place, and will never have a place in a functioning democratic country. The state persecution and red tagging of Nay Lucia is a blatant move by the government to deny the rights and rightsful demands of all the farmers being heavily burdened by the on-going agriculture crisis that the government itself continuously fails to address. Attacks against farmers are steps backwards in pushing for genuine rural development.
MASIPAG urges the government to honor their mandated duty of supporting our local farmers and not to abuse their powers as duty bearers in forwarding their own exclusive agenda in agriculture.
We in MASIPAG enjoins everyone in condemning this recent attack on Nay Lucia and to all the farmers experiencing structural harassment and persecution. MASIPAG rally behind in full solidarity and support to Nay Lucia and others who have exemplified that in times of hardship, it is our duty to help.