#Eleksyon2016: Rage

16

Walang paglagyan ang aking galit. At lungkot. At galit.

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To my mind, there is no reason for farmers to have been killed on April 1. No reason for farmers to have been gunned down. No reason for the violent dispersal. Not today, not on any day.

On radio, some military official said soon after the news broke about the violent dispersal of farmers in Kidapawan: the rallyists started it. They are not real farmers. They are professional rallyists. They have done this before. They threw rocks at policemen, he said. And the police are the ones who are injured.

That the spin didn’t surprise me is telling of what we’ve had to deal with the past six years with matuwid-na-daan.

Tiempo Muerto
The farmers had been barricading the main highway of Kidapawan since 5:30am Wednesday, March 30. Their demand was simple: “release the 15,000 sacks of rice from the provincial government’s calamity fund intended for the farmers affected by El Niño.” (DavaoToday, March 31) They also demanded for a dialogue with the local government, at the barricades, in front of all the farmers.

At 8:30 pm that same day, they were told that Governor Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza wanted to speak to the three leaders of the picketline, at the city hall. The farmers refused. They were 6,000–strong; three people hearing what the governor had to say just wouldn’t be fair. But the farmers were told by Provincial PNP Director Superintendent Alexander Tagum that “Gov. Mendoza will not show up at the barricade for she is afraid to be booed by the protesters.” (DavaoToday, March 31)

The governor wouldn’t have had reason to be afraid, if she just agreed to release the 15,000 sacks of rice to the farmers. This is 15,000 sacks of rice already approved for distribution by the LGU.

And because Malacañang has been asking that people be balanced in their views, I searched for any sense at all of why this governor refused to release this rice to the farmers and the Lumad there. In one Manila Standard article, it was reported that the reason why the Governor refused to release the rice subsidy is because it wanted to do so through a food-for-work program with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). (April 1)

Apparently, these farmers from the towns of Makilala, Mlang, Tulunan, Magpet, Roxas, Antipas, Arakan and Kidapawan City (Manila Standard, April 1), farmers who had already suffered months of drought, farmers whose families must be hungry, farmers who have lost crops and livelihood, and are living through a calamity, they must first work to get their food.

Matuwid-na-Daan’s trapo moves
This is again no surprise given the fact of matuwid-na-daan. This is a government that decided to refuse to give relief goods to hungry and thirsty survivors of Typhoon Haiyan, because they wanted these people who had walked for miles to be checked off a voters’ list in their barangays. These were survivors of the worst typhoon to make landfall, and Mar Roxas made them go back to wherever it was they came from, just to get food. Yes, Roxas was in Tacloban in the midst of Typhoon Haiyan, but this was his policy of relief distribution. He might as well not have been there.

This same kind of belief – that farmers have to work for rice after suffering through drought since late last year – it is classic matuwid-na-daan. And the spin of government now – saying these were not all farmers, saying that the farmers were misled by militants to go on this rally, saying that there needs to be assurance before distribution of subsidy that these are the farmers in need – we’ve heard all of that before, too.

Another classic matuwid-na-daan move? Pretension. If I were the farmers, I would’ve been so angry, not just because I was going hungry by the day, but because Gov. Mendoza had the gall, just two weeks ago, to take “pride in the province surviving the drought.”

Two weeks ago, the governor declared: “Ako ay naniniwalang ito ay breakthrough year ng ating lalawigan. Sa pangkalahatan, naging maagap tayo sa pagtugon sa hamon ng kawalan ng katiyakan – the challenge of uncertainty. After being hit, we bounced back.” She promised farmers that “despite the continuous dry spell due to El Niño, farmers and fishermen will still harvest and have some food on their tables.” (SunstarDavao, March 15)

A week after, on March 21, Agriculture Secretary Proseso Alcala assured farmers that “the government is addressing their needs to cushion the impact of drought.” Alcala also said that the government “had anticipated this drought and mitigating measures have been in place, ‘pag kulang pa, kikilos ang pamahalaan at di kayo pababayaan.” (Manila Bulletin, March 21)

El Niño was declared to have started in August of last year. Eight months after, the Agriculture Secretary says if efforts are still lacking, they will do something. Eight months after.

Poverty and denial
Any person brought to the point of hunger, any person whose family is going hungry, would take to the streets. Because what better way to prove the governor wrong, to prove spin wrong, to point out the lies that government feeds the public and media (that does not ask questions), then to go out to the streets in a show of formidable force?

This is after all the sector that matuwid-na-daan is saying it has lifted up from poverty. These are the poor, whose lives have supposedly been changed by government programs like 4Ps and Bottom-Up-Budgeting (BUB). These are the poor who we are made to believe remain poor, because of corruption.

But it is matuwid-na-daan’s mantra that also teaches us that corruption is not all. In fact, it might be the least of our problems. Because they have told us time and again, corruption is not part of what went wrong in the relief operations and rebuilding efforts in Haiyan-stricken provinces; and they will tell us with this one, that corruption has nothing to do with the case of these farmers.

And yet farmer and Lumad communities are suffering through a drought, and are not getting enough assistance from government. They are suffering from hunger, despite matuwid-na-daan’s billions in savings.

And they were killed and wounded on April 1, by the police who are supposed to protect them. They were gunned down so that they could be dispersed. We’re told: but the rallyists threw the rocks first!

So: kapag binato ka ng bato, barilin mo?

That might not be corrupt. But it sure is evil.

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16 Comments

  1. I think this is more of a case of “FOOD for VOTE” program hence the delayed release. These LP minions are making sure that those that will be given rice vote for their candidates only!

  2. Like Mother like Son. On January 22, 1987, the Mother surprised us with her courage when we lost 13 farmers in the infamous MENDIOLA MASSACRE. On April 1, 2016, the Son played an April fool’s joke on us and we lost 3 farmers in the Kidapawan City Massacre. Let’s veer away from the Daang Matuwid. Better SAFE than SORRY.

  3. Whatever politics this government have , Nothing can stop the Hunger and Desperation of the farmers that took to the streets.
    They must be given the basic necessity of life. They farm and feed us too. They will even die for it …..
    This government has turned a blind eye on the Reality of the problem that has plagued our country.
    Come election day , we must all rise and completely overthrow this heartless leaders who never in their lifetime experience how to be hungry and poor.

  4. Daniel Carlos on

    Our government officials are heartless and utterly without conscience. Sa halip na bigas, bala ang ibinigay sa mga nagugutom na magsasaka. Ito ba ang matuwid na daan?

  5. Dear Katrina,

    Thank you for continuously writing about the truth. God bless you! Galit din po ako. Naiyak ako noong Abril 1 pagkagising ko sa umaga nang mabasa ko ang tungkol sa Kidapawan. NA NAMAN! Is there no end to the atrocities of the LP governance?

    And yes, Francis Dizon, Katrina’s color is revealed. It’s been revealed a long time ago. Hers is the color for the truth, for the poor, for the agrieved. And yes, the yellow media has long ago lost its credibility.

    Katrina, may your tribe increase.

    Cecil

    • Francis Dizon on

      Another one bites the dust. Please read my reply to Banong. I’m sorry I missed your comments earlier.
      The media must NOT allow itself to be prostituted by any one, especially the rich and politicians. They must and should remain independent and write on the basis of truth and evidences. The Filipino brand of journalism is the exact opposite. Kanya kanyang MANOK.
      One must always be sensitive to subliminal messages and learn how to properly recognize them.

  6. Dedma Lang si Pnoy Kasi ipokritong asyendero Yan. Minasaker na mga nila ang mga magsasaka Sa Mendiola at Luisita, di ba?

  7. Amnata Pundit on

    I thought these things were not supposed to happen anymore after the country was liberated from the monster that was Marcos, especially now that the only begotten son of the Democracy and Human Rights demi-gods Ninoy and Cory is at the helm. What happened?

  8. Hungry farmers had been begging for food for 3 days. No food was given but instead they were rained with bullets to die mercilessly. The killers were instantly awarded medals….. the evil mind of BS Aquino is as evil as the mind of thieving rich Haciendero Oligarch. Roxas promised to do as what merciless murderous Aquino is doing.

  9. Francis Dizon on

    Slowly but surely, your true color is being revealed. I sincerely hope that your conclusions were based on independent footages of the event and certainly not from your papers’ photo journalist team.
    Journalism has lost all its credibility. However, you are still one heck of a writer…that no one can take away from you.

    • We’ll your yellow color is also obviously exposed right now and your dumb zombie-brain is at work e.g…make sure you get your pay right…

    • Francis Dizon on

      Banong….Fair is fair. Knowing both sides is a prequisites to a sound conclusion. I have not in any form taken any side. My concern was the hastiness of judgment without analysis and authentication of available reports.
      The loss of lives is very sad indeed not to mention the number of injured. Bear in mind that this is an election year. Please do not allow this event to throw you off track.
      The polls is where you bend you frustrations. Good luck,

  10. Walter P. Komarnicki on

    at first reading, it sounded like a cruel april fool’s joke, but it’s not a joke when a crowd gets dispersed with real live ammunition because there is no one around who can give the aggrieved farmers a hearing, simply to listen to their complaints and do something about it instead of responding with overwhelming force and firepower.

    are there no professional conflict resolution persons anywhere in the land?
    or even hostage crisis negotiators?

    • This is just a simple case of long overdue and delayed distribution of rice and gov’t support to the farmers. The local gov’t. Is just making sure that they could get all the propaganda mileage of timing the release just before election time….