DONATION. This box is one of the donations from Davao City for the farmers in North Cotabato. The first batch of donations arrived in Kidapawan City on Saturday evening, April 2. (Earl O. Condeza/davaotoday.com)

DAVAO CITY — The call to donate rice for the drought-stricken farmers in North Cotabato province gained sympathy from the public after the barricade of the farmers in Kidapawan City were dispersed Friday morning, April 1.

As early as Thursday, March 31 a local radio station covering the barricade of farmers in Kidapawan City, North Cotabato has turned its coverage into a donation drive calling for rice aids from its listeners.

Vice President for News of Radyo ni Juan Network Trisha Aligato said that as of 9:00 pm, Saturday, April 2 the network already received 17 sacks of rice and other goods from listeners who sympathized with the farmers.

The Radyo ni Juan Network, which has a local affiliate in Kidapawan City, has been holding a special coverage of the protest for three straight days since early morning, Wednesday, March 30.

Radio broadcaster Dodong Solis on Thursday night announced on air that to help the farmers, the public should act and start donating rice so the farmers could return to their communities.

“Let us convert our coverage to a donation drive. The government in North Cotabato is selfish and is not heeding the farmers’ call,” Solis said in vernacular.

“Gahi man ning gubyerno ni Lala Taliño, kita na lang ang mohatag (The government of Gov. Lala Taliño-Mendoza is cold-hearted. Let’s help the farmers by ourselves),” said Solis.

The coverage was simultaneously aired over 783 AM Radyo ni Juan and 94.7 FM in Davao, 100.7 One Radio FM in Tagum City, 99.1 FM in Digos and 107.9 FM in Kidapawan City.

The campaign was called “Bugas Para sa Mag-uuma” (Rice for Farmers).

A few minutes after Solis’ announcement, some listeners started to send their support saying they are willing to help.

Solis clarified that they will not accept monetary donations since they do not have a system to trace the donations.

He said the rice donations may be coursed through their radio stations in Balindog, Kidapawan City; Mankilam in Tagum City; Davao City; Digos City and Alae in Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon.

Meanwhile, the supporters of presidential candidate Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte also called for rice and food donations in social media. Initial donors are the media volunteers of the Duterte group.

On Saturday afternoon, April 2 a truckload of around 160 sacks rice left Davao City Hall at 5:00 pm. The truck also carried some grocery items including canned goods, noodles and water bottles. The sacks of rice were coursed through Radyo ni Juan in Kidapawan City.

The camp of Duterte said he monitored the situation in North Cotabato and on Friday night “committed to give food as humanitarian assistance to alleviate suffering and save lives.”

One of the City Hall personnel interviewed by Davao Today said that they will resume the loading of donations tomorrow, April 3 at 8:00  in front of the City Hall.

The Duterte Media Group has started accepting rice and other food stuff for the farmers. Rice and food stuff donations can be dropped off at Room 10 Pelayo Bldg., Camus St. Ext., Davao City (fronting Midori Inn). It added that rice donations can also be dropped off at the Davao City Hall.

Actor Robin Padilla also bought 200 sacks of rice for the farmers.

Four days after the protest of the farmers along Quezon Boulevard in Kidapawan City the negotiations with the provincial government failed, resulting in the violent dispersal on Friday, April 1. (With a report from Maria Patricia C. Borromeo/davaotoday.com)

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