DAVAO CITY – Farmers protests have escalated in different areas in Mindanao to demand the release of rice subsidy in the middle of the El Nino dry spell.
Earlier today, more than 3,000 farmers from South Cotabato protested at the Department of Agriculture Region 12 Office, 2,000 farmers from Cagayan de Oro and 5,000 from Bukidnon joined the protest action in Northern Mindanao.
Since yesterday up to Friday, April 22farmers from Southern Mindanao camped out at the Region XI office of the Department of Agriculture office here calling for food and justice for the farmer victims of drought and to the victims of Kidapawan incident.
In a statement, farmers group, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas hailed the Mindanao farmers for “its island-wide protes against hunger”.
According to KMP, the hungry farmers who are now protesting suffered from famine, which does not only happening in Mindanao but also to farmers in Luzon.
“Anti-drought and hunger peasants protests are also happening today in Calamaniugan in Cagayan province, Cordon in Isabela, and Bayombong in Nueva Vizcaya,” Mariano said.
Bayan Muna Partylist Representative Carlos Zarate said that last December, President Aquino approved P19 billion to implement the Roadmap to Address the Impact of El Niño, or RAIN.
“Yet, vast tracts of farmland are now arid or scorched-dry from the drought. Where is that billions now?” Rep. Zarate asked.
On November 2014, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa), has already released dry condition advisory.
“The RAIN fund is on top of other funds to mitigate the effects of climate change, but it is generally known to be another source of corruption,” Zarate said.
Zarate added that the climate crisis has gone so bad that farmers have gone hungry, protesting and demanding for rice aid and gunned down.
“It is outrageous, because there are billions of taxpayer money set aside to prevent such a catastrophe. The Aquino government has a lot to answer for what happened in Kidapawan, its aftermath and the still ongoing hunger in other parts of the country,” Zarate said.
According to Ibon Foundation, an independent think tank, there are P39 billion funds allocated to the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Fund (NDRRMF) for 2016. (davaotoday.com)