TAGUM CITY — The Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) has expressed sympathy to the drought-stricken farmers in Kidapawan who experienced police brutality after the provincial government of North Cotabato did not heed their demand of rice subsidy.
“They should not shoot the civilian farmers whether they are a Christian, a Muslim or a Lumad. They only demand food because their farms have been severely affected by the dry spell. The police should’ve protected the civilians instead of killing them,” Abu Misry Mama, spokesperson of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, told DavaoToday in a phone interview on Tuesday, April 5.
Mama blamed the government’s apparent “neglect” for the farmer’s uprising. He branded the move of the authorities as “injustice” which he described as the potent force to drive the farmers on the streets to express their grievances against the government.
“They’ve done an injustice to the farmers. The government’s neglect and injustice are the reasons why farmers went to the street to demand food,” Mama said.
NDF: no excuse to use brute force upon farmers
Meanwhile, the National Democratic Front in Southern Mindanao condemned both the Aquino government and North Cotabato Gov. Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza for using “brute force” to violently disperse the protesting farmers in Kidapawan City.
“There is no acceptable ground for the local reactionary government to exercise brute force against a peaceful barricade of hungry peasants and their families,” said Rubi del Mundo, NDF-SMR spokesperson, in its April 5 statement.
Del Mundo claims that the Aquino government and Mendoza were guilty of serious violations of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) and other international laws and convention.
“The provincial government’s later assessment that clearly alludes to pointing the finger of blame to the farmers and Lumads and support groups is both ludicrous and criminal. The farmers and Lumads were unarmed and were only forced to defend themselves against the attacking fully-armed fascist state forces. The civilian victims were clearly felled down by bullets of the PNP and SWAT forces,” Del Mundo added. (davaotoday.com)