ILOILO City – Bayan Western Visayas strongly condemns in highest possible terms the violent and brutal dispersal by Kidapawan police against Lumad and farmers in North Cotabato early morning today, April 1.
Shots were fired around 11 this morning according to Kilab Multimedia Facebook page. As of 2PM, three (3) farmers are confirmed dead, about 90 are wounded and several others were arrested. Farmers were hit by bullets on their neck, legs and stomach, others were hit with truncheons and stones in their head, and mouth.
“We are now experiencing another killing, just like in Hacienda Luisita and Mendiola massacres all carried out by the Aquinos. This massacre is no different during former Pres. Cory Aquino’s Mendiola massacre killing 11 farmers and Hacienda Luisita massacre killing 7 farmworkers which was also perpetrated by the Aquino’s to stop the distribution of lands to the farmers,” Bayan deputy secretary general Reylan Vergara said.
The 6000-strong Lumad and farmers have been barricading since March 30 to demand for the release of food subsidy equivalent to 15,000 sacks of rice. They have been suffering from hunger for three (3) months because of El Niño.
“Instead of rice and food, bullets were peppered to our poor and hungry farmers. This act has always been a legacy of the Aquino clan,” Vergara added.
“We must condemn this act and respond with all might to seek justice for our fallen farmers. The Aquino administration should be held accountable for this bloody massacre,” said Vergara.
Roxas presence triggered the shooting
In an indignation protest held outside the Department of Agriculture, Quezon City, Cristina Palabay, secretary general of human rights group Karapatan said they received reports that Mar Roxas was in Kidapawan when the massacre happened.
“Ginawa ang marahas na dispersal na ito dahil ayaw mapahiya na local government sa Liberal Party, dahil pupunta roon at nandoon na si Mar Roxas… Kaya pinatay ang isang magsasaka? Kaya dinahas at pinaulanan ng bala ang mga magsasaka na napakalehitimo ang demanda sa gobyernog ito?” Palabay asked.
“Ito ay nagpapakita na ang matuwid na daan na ito ay digip ng dugo ng mga mamamayan na pinapaslang ng gobyerno ito sa ngalan ng tuwid na daan,” Palabay added.
“It should have been the best time for Mar Roxas to hear the voices and plight of our farmers. It should have been the best time for Mar Roxas to prove that he is one with the people, but we are wrong. Roxas proved himself to be like the Aquinos, whose hands are now drenched in farmers bloods,” Vergara said.
“If he was scared to face the farmers, he should now be running scared as the farmers’ and the peoples’ voices will haunt his candidacy,” Vergara added.
“Aquino, Roxas, the liberal party and Governor Lala Mendoza should be held accountable for this bloody massacre. We call on our people to stand with our farmers. Let us continue to demand justice for the victims and their families,” Vergara ended./PT