August 30, 2006
“Altertrade, a multi-million, anti-peasant enterprise!”- KMP
The militant Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) pointed out that Altertrade Corporation is not a small corporation as Rep. Etta Rosales would like us to believe. According to Danilo “Ka Daning” Ramos, secretary general of KMP, “Altertrade was once a people’s enterprise and grew into a multi-million business but was grabbed by non-government organization (NGO) bureaucrats. They are now cashing in on people’s organizations, peasants and sugar workers in Negros,”
“We would just like to make it clear that Altertrade is a large corporation and is not like what it used to be. In fact many farmers have been complaining of the abuse and exploitation they have suffered from this pseudo-people’ s enterprise. Altertrade buys farmers’ produce at very low prices because the farmers are already heavily indebted to the corporation so they cannot sell to other buyers. In essence Altertrade has a monopoly of the farmers produce. It also has exorbitant interest rates on its loans, which is otherwise known as usury. Now if the New People’s Army (NPA) is collecting revolutionary taxes from this enterprise, that is their business, what we want to point out is that Altertrade is not an enterprise by farmers or that we are benefiting from it. Rep. Rosales should stop trying to portray it as being a small business and that it still run for the interest of the poor,” added Ramos.
“In fact Edwin Lopez, the executive director of Altertrade Foundation has close links with Sanlakas and other pseudo-progressive organizations. This was formed so that they can say to their foreign partners that the money is being given back to the small peasants, but in reality this is not happening. The foundation is also being used by Altertrade as a tax shelter from the government. Actually this is the reason why Etta brought the issue out, because their money is involved here,” added the peasant leader.
“Now all we want is for everything to be clear and for the facts to be straight. Demagoguery, truth-twisting and pretending to be the underdog is not fit for a so-called representative,” ended Ramos. ###