To The Aquino Government and Its Cohorts:
Bayan Canada and Migrante Canada denounce the brazen and brutal dispersal of the farmers of North Cotabato. The recent massacre of protesting farmers, killing 3 and injuring some 116 people, is once again proof of the cowardly way of this government in dealing with the grave economic and social problems which are, in fact, this government’s own creations!
On April 1, military and police forces of the Philippine government opened fire at protesting farmers in Kidapawan, North Cotabato in Mindanao. More than 6,000 peasants had barricaded the provincial road since March 30 to call for the release of the 15,000 sacks of rice promised as assistance for El Nino-stricken farmers, and for the immediate pull-out of military troops from peasant communities. The farmers’ main demand for disaster relief due to the long drought remained overdue for seven months, while their related demands for changes in local agrarian policies, and demilitarization of their communities, are both urgent and essential changes in their severely oppressed lives. The Philippine National Police (PNP) and the local government through its governor replied with violence.
The government troops are now harassing and encircling the encamped peasants in Kidapawan, along with the harassment of the church people of the Spottswood United Methodist Church that have been assisting the farmers from the beginning. Why is it so difficult for a government to give the people what they urgently need? What is so dangerous in granting them rice when they are hungry, free rice seedlings for their farms, or authorizing an increase in the farm gateprices of agricultural crops so that farmers can have a little profit for their survival?
It is abundantly clear that the government arrogantly moved to “resolve” the criminal neglect of its citizens by shamelessly launching a criminal fascist attack upon its victims! It is abundantly clear that, like the first Aquino administration, which also massacred farmers in 1987, this government’s policy is one of “total war” against its people.
We therefore in the strongest possible terms state the same position as other people’s organization have regarding the the Kidapawan crisis and massacre. We hold President Benigno Aquino III principally responsible for these heinous crimes, and with him, the following are also accountable: The Department of Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, Liberal Party member and North Cotabato Governor Emmylou “Lala” Taliño-Mendoza and PNP Col. Alex Tagum. We also condemn the Liberal Party standard bearer Mar Roxas for, according to reports, triggering the dispersal because he thought the farmers would cause disturbance in his presidential campaign.
We join our compatriots in demanding that the calamity fund be immediately released and the perpetrators of these crimes be brought to justice!
Justice for the victims of the Kidapawan massacre! Rice, not bullets!
Chandu Claver, Bayan Canada – firstname.lastname@example.org
Tess Agustin, Migrante Canada – email@example.com