‘Millions of Filipinos still go hungry’ | Inquirer News

‘Millions of Filipinos still go hungry’

/ 03:26 AM July 11, 2011

A militant organization has shrugged off a recent Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey that showed that fewer Filipinos experienced involuntary hunger in the past quarter, blaming “land-grabbing families” for the continued prevalence of hungry mouths to feed.

In a statement, a copy of which was obtained by the Inquirer, the Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay) said “millions of Filipinos” continue to experience hunger despite the administration’s policies that aim to eradicate it.

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The SWS survey, conducted on June 3-6, showed that 15.1 percent of Filipino families went hungry in the past three months, a drastic decline from the 20.5 percent recorded in March.

Based on the latest survey, the hunger rate was the lowest since June 2007, when the number of the hungry was recorded at 14.7 percent.

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“Aquino is helpless in (eradicating hunger) because he continues to deprive the farmers of the land that they need to eat,” said Kadamay, referring to the President.

The group cited the longstanding Hacienda Luisita dispute, which has seen the Cojuangco family, the President’s relatives, embroiled in a legal battle with 5,000 farmers over ownership of more than 6,000 hectares of the sugar estate in Tarlac.

Recently, the Supreme Court ruled the farmers would have to put to a vote again the issue of whether they preferred land or shares of stock in the hacienda corporation.

“It is land and not the conditional cash transfer program that is the solution to the worsening hunger situation in the country. It is in the rural areas where the poor farmers and farm workers experience the worst attacks of landlords,” Kadamay said.

The group said the only way out of the farmers’ “dire situation” was for President Aquino to implement genuine agrarian reform, which would in turn serve as the “basis for national industrialization.”

“If Aquino is serious about curbing the hunger experienced by millions of Filipinos, he should begin by distributing the land his family forcibly took to the farmers and farm workers of Hacienda Luisita,” the group said.

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TAGS: Hacienda Luisita dispute, Hunger, Inquirer, Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay), land-grabbing families, Poverty, Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey
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