By BicolToday.com News Team
KIDAPAWAN CITY, North Cotabato, 1April2016 – State security forces opened fire at hungry protesting farmers in a violent dispersal,wounding about 30 farmers, at least 1 was confirmed dead.
The shooting happened 11 o’clock morning of Friday, April 1, at a standoff on the Davao-North Cotabato highway in Kidapawan City.
Policemen had used M16 assault rifles at mowing down the protesting farmers and peasants who had been pressuring the government to release aid assistance to farmers who have been affected by El Niño drought, and their farms had dried up and food crops already destroyed.
Kilab Multimedia, a media group in Mindanao, on Friday noon gave this online news, BicolToday.com partial report of those 10 confirmed injured by the police carnage:
1. Roger Imuy 48 years old, hit in right arm, from Antipas, North Cotabato
2. Leo Deyong, 28, hit in the knee, from Magpet
3. Darwin Madiao, 18, hit in the right leg,from Magpet
4. Roland Jampas, 26, wounded in the mouth, from Arakan,
5. Mario Ansabo—47, from Arakan
6. Alce Awi, 35, wounded in the leg.
7. Ejay Salaber, 54, wounded in the head, Cabalantian, Arakan
8. Ricky Maat—23, hit by a stone in the head, from Bagumbayan, Magpet
9. Rodolfo Tanyo, 61,from Arakan
10. Sheena Duazo, wounded on the head, Bayan Southern Mindanao spokesperson
According to reports, farmers and Lumad indigenous people have been asking for food aid for several months in North Cotabato.
“We are barricading the provincial government to demand the release of the calamity fund and rice in no time. It has been 7 months of El Nino in our land and we have nothing to plant and eat anymore. What we need now is food for our families and our community not bullets and harassment from state forces,” lamented Mercy Balad, a leader of women’s group among the barricading farmers.
PNP personnel tried to disperse the barricading unarmed farmers by firing at them with Armalite rifles, said initial reports from the site.
As of presstime, medical teams were picking up the wounded and rushed to hospitals.
Bayan leader Sheena Duazo was rescued bleeding on the head, reportedly struck by police, Kilab Multimedia said in its initial report.
Meanwhile Makabayan senatorial bet Neri Colmenares condemned, in the strongest terms, the shooting of farmers by policemen in Kidapawan City who are only demanding food, relief and land from the government.
Colmenares likened the Kidapawan incident to the infamous Mendiola and Luisita massacres which happened many years ago.
Renato Reyes, Jr. of BAYAN national office in Manila reacted angrily : ”We condemn in the strongest terms the dispersal of protesting farmers in Kidapawan. Shots were fired by the PNP according to the participants. At least 30 were reported injured, including Bayan Southern Mindanao’s Sheena Duazo. The national and provincial governments should have heeded the just demands of the farmers for sufficient rice support. They have been suffering from severe drought. Firing on unarmed protesters is deplorable and is not the answer to the farmers’ demands. The Aquino regime and North Cotabato Governor Lala Mendoza should be made accountable for the bloody dispersal. We call on our friends to stand with the farmers of Kidawapan during this most difficult time in their struggle. Let us add our voices in condemning this latest atrocity.”
Many wounded farmers and children are now crammed inside the Methodist Church compound out of fear of state follow-up reprisal.
The national peasant movement also reacted angrily over the merciless Kidapawan carnage by policemen.
“This violence against farmers and Lumad people will be the mark of BS Aquino administration. Farmers are demanding for food and land but the haciendero government responded with bullets,” said peasant leader Rafael Mariano, chair of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP, Peasant Movement of the Philippines). [BicolToday.com]