Philippines: Justice for the Kidapawan rally victims!
With the Philippines now experiencing the El Niño phenomenon or the dry season, farmlands suffer from drought resulting to low to zero agricultural production.
This scenario has been occurring in five provinces affected by dry spell and in 18 provinces (mostly in the Mindanao Region) experiencing dry conditions since February 2016 – the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Center (NDRRMC) confirms.
The National Government has been aware of the calamity. As early as December 2015, President Aquino III approved a Php19-Billion budget to combat the effects of El Niño which may last until May 2016. North Cotabato in Mindanao was already identified as one of the nine provinces experiencing dry spell as early as December. The farmers in Kidapawan, North Cotabato have not yet been receiving any.
On 30 March 2016, around 3,000 protesters started to block the Davao-Cotabato Highway to demand for government assistance (including calamity funds and food relief) in the wake of the adverse effects of the already 3-month long severe drought in the area.
After four days of peaceful protest in front of the provincial office of the National Food Authority, the police forces started an open fire to the unarmed farmers leaving three shot dead and more than 40 wounded.
Until now, the government assistance has not been distributed to the farmers.
ANGOC, together with the many CSOs having concern on this issue, supports the statement on expressing utmost condemnation on the killing of unarmed farmers.