Greenpeace challenges PH Presidential bets to champion food security

Launching its #IAmHampasLupa campaign in Bacolod City, Greenpeace laid down a challenge to the nation’s Presidential bets today, urging them to take on food security and ecological agriculture in their 2016 election platforms.

The campaign – which follows the successful launch of the #IAmHampasLupa campaign in Baguio City last month – was kicked off in partnership with local groups at the University of St. La Salle. The launch was followed by a photo-pledge session at Bacolod City Capitol during the annual celebration of Negros Day.

Hampaslupa, for a majority of Filipinos, is a derogatory term, which connotes poverty and a “good-for-nothing” person. But there is actually nothing wrong with the term hampaslupa, which literally means “hit the land” or “till the soil” – something that farmers do.

Most Filipinos fail to realize that in the act of eating, we actually participate in farming or ‘hitting or tilling’ the soil. Collectively and individually therefore, we are hampaslupa. We contribute to farming by the food choices we make or the kinds of food we eat.

Capitalizing on the use of social media and the ‘selfie’ phenomenon, Greenpeace is bringing the #IAmHampasLupa campaign to Bacolod City to mobilize Negrense youth to make food, nutrition and agriculture the key issues that should be tackled in the upcoming national elections.

The campaign seeks to change the perception of many Filipinos about farming and acknowledge the important roles of farmers in our daily lives. The youth, through their photo and online pledges challenged the presidential bets to prioritize food and agriculture in their election platforms.

“Currently, three of the country’s Presidential candidates are from the Hiligaynon-speaking provinces or have their roots from these provinces - Grace Poe, Mar Roxas and Miriam Santiago. But do these presidential candidates care enough for the future of food and agriculture in the country? Will they work to transition Filipino farmers and farming to a more ecological and climate resilient system that can withstand the shocks of typhoons and droughts? Will they put in place quick response mechanisms for farmers to be able to recover quickly? Will they advance a national food policy that addresses obesity, malnutrition, price and supply of healthy food, even in times of crisis?” said Leonora Lava, Senior Ecological Agriculture Campaigner of Greenpeace Philippines.

“The youth of Bacolod, Negros Occidental and other neighboring provinces are urging the presidential candidates to prioritize food and agriculture in their agenda. We are challenging the presidential candidates to care for food and nutrition security as a way to show that they care for the future of the next generation!”

The next president will not start from scratch as Bacolod City and the Province of Negros Occidental have an organic agriculture ordinance which lays down government support to transition farmers towards ecological farming. Greenpeace believes the youth can act to ensure that these gains are translated into concrete actions and scaled up nationally. The youth comprise 40% of the 52 million registered voters and therefore a key player in shaping the future of food and farming.

“Kami nga mga kabataan, nagalantaw sa isa ka isla nga malinong, may seguridad sa pagkaon, kag may pinadayunon nga kauswagan.” (We, as young men and women of Negros envision a peaceful, food secured and sustainable island), quoted by Ted Villanueva, the Chairperson of Youth Empowering Youth Initiative (YEY!).

Greenpeace is working with Akbayan -Negros Youth & Students, Alter Trade Corporation (ATC), BALAYAN-University of St. La Salle (USLS), Farm Youth Development Program (FYDP)-4H Club, Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC)-Negros, Initiative Negros Institute for Rural Development (NIRD), NYC Volunteers, Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA), Organik na Negros! Organic Producers & Retailers Association (ONOPRA), People’s Agriculture Plan for 21st Century, Inc. (PAP21), Philippine Rural Reconstruction Youth Association (PRRYA)-Negros, Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM)-Negros Chapter, Social Action Center (SAC) –Diocese of Bacolod, Youth Empowering Youth Initiative (YEY!), and Workers Development Center (WDC).

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