TAGUM CITY — A peasant group lauded on Friday the Mindanao farmers for staging an island-wide protests
against hunger ”because of the government’s apathy and ineptitude”.
“We reiterate our calls on farmers across the country to intensify protests against hunger. The worsening hunger that farmers are experiencing in the face of drought clearly demonstrate the haciendero Aquino administration’s apathy against farmers and total ineptitude,” said Rafael Mariano, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) Chair, in its April 22 statement.
KMP said drought-stricken farmers across Mindanao staged a protest rally at the office of Department of Agriculture to demand rice, food aid, water and livelihood assistance.
In Region 12, more than 3,000 farmers joined the protest rally in the region’s DA sub-office in Koronadal City in South Cotabato, while more than 2,000 farmers are in Cagayan De Oro, and 5,000 more are joining mass actions in Bukidnon in Northern Mindanao.
Mariano stressed that the hunger felt by the farmers especially in Mindanao ”betrays the irony that the landless tillers themselves have nothing to eat while Aquino and Department of Agriculture secretary Proceso Alacala feasts over billions of pesos of El Niño funds”.
“Worse, it reveals the day-to-day exploitation and oppression suffered by landless tillers. It is a testament to the reality of forced exaction of agricultural surpluses from the people behind the plow.”
“Until now, Aquino and agriculture secretary Alcala shamelessly reject starving farmers demand for food aid and direct release of calamity funds to victims. Instead of addressing farmers demand, Aquino and Alcala are busy obscuring and covering up the issues of prolonged drought, hunger, and the government’s criminal negligence,” Mariano said.
KMP warned the Aquino administration that there will be similar protest action in Luzon should the government failed to heed the farmers’ demand for food aid in the wake of long dry spell brought upon by El Nino.
“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. “Farmers across the country should not rely on the current electoral circus and should instead assert and challenge Aquino and candidates on their just and legitimate demand for land, food, and justice.”
“Intensified protest actions nationwide should be the Filipino peasantry’s response to Aquino’s continuing rejection of our demands and all presidential aspirants’ obvious political posturing and lack of concrete answers to our demand,” he pointed out. (davaotoday.com)