Migrante Partylist Northern California to the Philippine Government: FEED YOUR PEOPLE WHO FEED OUR NATION!
The Philippine government has blood on its hands. President B.S. Aquino is indeed the “Massacre King.”
Starting March 30, over 5,000 farmers barricaded the national highway of Davao-Cotabato to demand immediate relief, such as the release of 15,000 sacks of promised rice subsidies and calamity funds from the Philippine government due to a 7-month drought in the province. North Cotabato had been declared to be in a state of calamity due to climate conditions brought about by El Niño. How did the government respond? Not with rice, but with bullets. The Philippine National Police (PNP) shot indiscriminately at the crowd, leading to 5 farmers confirmed dead, 87 reported missing, and 100 injured, including women, elderly and 6 minors.
The government’s outrageous corruption and incompetence did not end there: (1) The police blocked the entrance to the church where the protesters sought refuge, so ambulances and medical attention were delayed. (2) Kidapawan Mayor Joseph Evangelista issued a letter to the church, warning to have its permit revoked for making the compound a “HEADQUARTER billeting and harboring leaders and members of illegal rallyists …. Unlawfully barricading or blocking public roads.” (3) The Department of Interior and Local Government awarded medals to some of the policemen involved in the terror. (4) Cotabato Gov. Emmylou Talino-Mendoza even said she would block rice donations to the farmers.
Police were granted a warrant to search the facility but did not find any evidence of wrongdoing, yet they are continuing to illegally detain the farmers suffering from lack of food and electricity.
Philippine government officials, in a perverted twisting of the facts, are attempting to misinform the public and pin the blame for their violence on the protesting farmers and progressive organizations. Claiming that it was the farmers who shot first, the government is highlighting a farmer whose body conveniently had gun powder on it; it doesn’t mention that the PNP took custody of that farmer’s cadaver and cordoned off the scene, allowing them to do whatever they want to it. The government justifies its actions by dubbing the leaders “leftists” who deceived the protesters. Is it so unbelievable that starving farmers who are forced to till land owned by elite landlord families like that of B.S. Aquino himself, whose areas are being militarized for corporate interests, would organize themselves to seek food and aid that the government promised them?
Do not be fooled. This is not the first massacre under the Aquino regime, nor the first one bloodying the hands of his landlord-class Cojuanco-Aquino family. Despite media manipulation and misinformation to avoid accountability, the Filipino people will not forget the Mendiola Massacre, the Hacienda Luisita Massacre, the massacres of Lumad peoples, and the Mamasapano Carnage.
“The killings and barbaric attacks of policemen at Kidapawan against farmers whose only demand was to get access of basic needs for their own survival are nothing more but an act of inhumanity,” stated Karen Sacdalan, member of Migrante Partylist Northern California via the Pilipino Association of Workers and Im/migrants (PAWIS).
“We call on the Aquino government to immediately order the disarmament of those involved in the shooting, to take action for the release of aid to the farmers, and to investigate with full force all elective leaders of the city and province for allowing this tragedy to reach such extent. We condemn the needless sacrifice and hegemonic political moves of politicians at the expense of farmers. Woe to this pathetic self-interest and interminable corrupt system. Filipino farmers and indigenous communities equally deserve humane treatment, the right for justice, and most of all, experience a quality of life.”
“Migrante Partylist Northern California condemns this massacre in strongest terms. Like the 6,000+ Filipino migrant workers a day who are forced by economic and political conditions in the Philippines to work abroad just to feed their families, these farmers who feed our nation have asked for the most basic of services from the government that is meant to serve us,” says Michael Tayag, Migrante Partylist Northern California Coordinator. “Filipinos in the Bay Area stand by the farmers and urge the Philippine government to grant the rice subsidies and the calamity funds immediately. We will not stop until appropriate aid is provided and the Philippine government is held accountable.”
JOIN US, TAKE ACTION!
1. Attend the Indignation Protest for Kidapawan Farmers on Tuesday, April 5 from 5-7pm at the Philippine Consulate (447 Sutter St, San Francisco, CA 94108). Click HERE for Facebook page.
2. Please consider donating HERE to help purchase immediate medical supplies & cost, food supplies and relief to the impacted.
Migrante Partylist Northern California is a chapter of Migrante Partylist, a sectoral party of overseas Filipinos, transcending professions, sectors, cultures and countries around the world. We affirm our task to rebuild the Philippines in pursuit of government integrity, justice, genuine service, and a new brand of Philippine politics to usher in a society where families will not be torn apart by the urgent need to survive.
For more information, visit our Facebook page, call us at 415-890-4256, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.