Cha-cha harmful to farmers, fishermen?

MARGINALIZED sectors of workers, farmers and fishermen recently warned against the threats of charter change on social justice provisions stipulated in the 1987 Constitution.

They  called for the rejection of Duterte’s Cha-Cha, as this directly threatens the agricultural lands protected under the 1987 Constitution, including provisions on agrarian reform, food security, and environmental protection.

Cha-Cha will open up complete foreign ownership of agricultural lands and other natural resources forcing farmers to lose their lands to big corporations, they added.

It was recalled that the protection of rice farmers has been lost as  corporations and traders have been favored with the liberalization of rice importation, instead of supporting the local rice industry.

The Rice Tarrification Law recently signed by Pres. Duterte also came under fire since it repealed import restrictions on agricultural products and allowed for more liberal importation of rice, to the detriment of Filipino rice farmers.

Earlier, they warned that the agricultural industry in the Philippines will be affected by liberalized importation of rice. As almost 50% of the budget for this law was allotted to “mechanization”, it will displace the small, independent and local farmers. In addition, the National Food Authority has lost its mandate in controlling the importation of rice throughout the country.

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This is very timely.

Applications for the enhanced scholarship program of the Government Service Insurance System  for Academic Year  2019-2020 are now being accepted by the state-run agency until June 24, 2019.

The agency understands the financial challenges of sending a child to college. Thus, It has made available 400 scholarship slots for children or dependents of low-income GSIS members and permanent total disability (PTD) pensioners below 60 years of age.

“The pension fund will shoulder the tuition and miscellaneous fees up to P40,000 per academic year and P3,000 allowance per month of each scholar,” GSIS President and General Manager Jesus Clint Aranas said

Active GSIS members who are permanent employees; have at least three years in government service; have a salary grade of 24 or below (or its equivalent job level); and have paid premium contributions for the last six months may nominate their child or dependent.

Single or married active members who are childless may nominate...

....one of their dependents who rely on them for support.  PTD pensioners below 60 years old may nominate their child only.

Nominees (the children or dependents) must be incoming freshmen who have been accepted in any four- or five-year course or in priority courses in Commission on Higher Education (CHED)-recognized schools with its own charter or a school qualified by the CHED as Levels IV and III, Autonomous or Deregulated.

Aranas said  of the 400 slots, 40 will be allotted to dependents of persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples, and solo or single parents.

“We have put this in place because we want to be more inclusive and add meaning to our assistance efforts,” he added.

Since 1998, GSIS has been granting scholarships to deserving children or dependents of members and pensioners as part of the pension fund’s corporate social responsibility program. A total of 3,682scholarship grants have been awarded to date.

Monetary incentives in the amount of P20,000, P30,000, and P50,000 await scholars who will graduate cum laude, magna cum laude, and summa cum laude, respectively.

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