The government already knew about El Niño as early as last year, which they predicted to be the longest in the past 65 years. In fact, the government declared some provinces of Mindanao under the state of calamity.
I maintain my previous assertion that the worst drought in Philippine society is not El Niño, but the corrupt system of bureaucrat capitalism. You may read my previous article here.
El Niño phenomenon is a climatic cycle along the Pacific that causes longer dry season or drought, which occurs every 2 to 7 years. However, El Niño, along with the changing climate, amplifies its adverse effects.
Around 6,000 poor farmers of North Cotabato left their desecrated farmlands to demand what is rightfully theirs through a people’s barricade along the Davao-Cotabato Highway in Kidapawan City.
Their demands were clear and simple: release the 15,000 sacks of rice intended for them and allow them to access the calamity funds. Again, it was intended for them.
Since day one, North Cotabato governor Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza consistently denied to face the protesters. Reportedly, she was “afraid to be booed” by the farmers.
Since day one the protesters endured the scorching heat of the sun with limited resources, but with full determination to assert their rights.
As the negotiations collapsed due to the refusal of the government to provide rice to the hungry farmers, a five-minute ultimatum was given by the police before they dispersed the protesting farmers with water cannons, truncheons and guns loaded with live ammunitions.
The police open-fired against the hungry protesters, claiming at least three lives, injuring more than a hundred.
Few hours after the bloodbath Gov. Mendoza called for a press conference, her first public appearance since the farmers put-up a barricade. With poor rhetoric and insensitive remarks Gov. Mendoza blamed the victims, blaming the progressive groups who supported the legitimate demands of the farmers.
Assuming, but not conceding, that these farmers were backed by the left or even backed by aswang and tikbalang, the fact remains they are unarmed. And for that, Gov. Mendoza do not have the right to kill them. You cannot fill their empty stomachs with bullets.
It is of simple understanding and basic humanist ideals that we lead us to question, why is it so hard for the government to distribute the rice subsidies intended for the people? Is it because they intend those sacks of rice to be used as campaign giveaways this election season?
Are they waiting for those sacks of rice to rot in the warehouse of the National Food Authority (NFA) like what they always do?
What the government did in Kidapawan is a serious crime against humanity.