The Kidapawan massacre and Aquino’s blindness to farmers’ plight

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Why does it take a tragedy or a massacre to awaken outrage, conscience and awareness in this country?

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Under President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, our principal wake-up nightmares were the Maguindanao massacre (which took place in the same province where the Mamasapano massacre would later take place) and the Hacienda Luisita massacre, which took place in the family hacienda of the Aquino family clan, which can boast of contributing two Filipino presidents in the span of a mere 30 years (1986-2016).

Under President Benigno BS Aquino 3rd, in only six years, the Luneta hostage-taking tragedy, the Yolanda disaster, the Mamasapano massacre, the Zambonga city siege, and now the Kidapawan massacre have cascaded one after the other to tell a tale of unremitting grief and tragedy, that is without parallel in any previous administration (not even the 20-year rule of Ferdinand Marcos).

The bitter truth of Aquino’s governance
All this time, during the past almost six years, most Filipinos were largely unaware of how mistaken they were in installing a candidate with zero achievements and no executive skills in the presidency.

Many appeared willing to live with the lie underneath President Aquino’s Tuwid na Daan (straight path) program, and his patently false and hypocritical slogans: (1) Kung walang korap, walang mahirap (if there’s no corruption, there will be no poor people), and (2) Kayo ang Boss Ko (you the people are my boss).

But crisis, disaster and tragedy have rubbed our noses and our faces on the cold hard truth: President Aquino does not have the capability, the empathy, and the moral imagination to lead this country of 100 million people.

Now, with the ugly and heartbreaking events in Kidapawan, we come face to face with the bitter truth: President Aquino and his government do not care one whit about our poor countrymen.

They are perfectly capable of using the state’s monopoly of force in killing poor and helpless citizens when they protest too loudly and aggressively. The authorities would rather settle an issue by force than listen seriously to the petition and demands of citizens with a grievance against the government.

A tragedy set off by stupidity and agitation
The Kidapawan tragedy arouses indignation and frustration because the cause of the farmers’ protest – the allocation of 5,000 sacks of rice and other budget items for relief for the farmers — was already approved, and was ready for distribution.

What should have been routinary was spoiled by sheer officiousness on the part of the provincial governor and by the infiltration of the ranks of the protesters by some agitators and the carrying of some weapons.

How could a relatively simple transfer of relief transmogrify into violence and tragedy?

No one should dismiss offhand the role played by leftist agitators in the spiral into violence, as some police officials claimed that the New People’s Army and left wing organizations fanned the protest and the barricading of the highway. Some wanted the clash to happen.

No one should also discount the likely possibility that there were very nervous fingers on the trigger on the side of the police forces. And that police procedures in such protests, which on paper are quite sensible and effective, did not work this time.

Nobody has gained from this incident. The nation is the biggest loser in this tragedy. We have another serious tragedy to mourn and learn from.

The administration issued its typical statement in such tragedies, saying that the matter will be investigated. The commission on Human Rights is poised for the inquiry. But this has been predictably met with skepticism. Nobody holds out much hope that the investigation will produce any significant findings.

As is his wont whenever a major crisis strikes, President Aquino has gone into hiding. He has not uttered a single word on Kidapawan. His disasppearnce is the only indicator that he knows something bad has happened.

Despite some frenzied statements from Malacañang spokesmen and communicators, there’s no indication that the President will surface soon and acknowledge that something awful and tragic has happened in this country and among his constituents.

Not insensitivity, but blindness
Aquino’s obliviousness mirrors the obliviousness of the ongoing election campaign to the all-important issue of poverty and income inequality in the country.

With only one month to go before the balloting, none of the candidates, and none of the debates have dealt in a substantive way with the challenge of poverty and poverty reduction, and the causal role of income inequality in deepening poverty.

The candidates are dimly aware of the fact that mass poverty is umbilically linked to agricultural productivity and growth. Rural poverty is the real challenge.

It’s doubly saddening and ironic that South Cotabato is one of the biggest agricutural producers in the country. And many of the victims are net producers for the nation’s economy.

To put the best face on this tragedy, Kidapawan will hopefully and forcefully put agriculture and the plight and poverty of the nation’s farmers on the center stage of the national debate.

The candidates will finally start to see the bigger picture of agriculture’s role in the economy, and why it is so critical for the creation of jobs and the reduction of mass poverty, especially in the rural areas.

Kidapawan is merely the offshoot of a long period of neglect of agriculture by the Aquino administration.

Many often ascribe to lack of empathy and insensitivity Aquino’s failure to respond effectively to the distress of people and communities.

I have reached a different conclusion: he is blind to their distress.

When threaded together, the massacres in Mendiola, Hacienda Luisita and Kidapawan collectively testify to the Aquino family’s total blindness to the plight of farmers and their total absorption in their interests as landowners.

When President Aquino finally comes out of his foxhole, the Kidapawan farmers will doubtless be more visible than ever. But BS still won’t be able to see them.

yenmakabenta@yahoo.com

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23 Comments

  1. The Kidapawan incident is a clear picture of incompetence of the present Administration Mr. President hangan ba sa huling araw mo ay manatile kang walang ngipen sa mga sumisira ng ating bansa kong totoong BOSS mo kaming mahirap ngayon ipakita mo sa kidapawan ibigay mo ang hinihinge ng mga magsasaka ng diretso sa kamay nila. Matagal nang issue ang ElNinio sa Cotabato pero walang ginawa ang gobiyerno..ang hinihinge ng tao ay 15,000 sacks of rice plus binhe at fertilizer e meron naman talagang budget diyan ang bakit pag sa mahirap ay nawawala ang budget pero kong sa mga senador at congressman ay andiyan agad sa NFA ay nabubulok ang bigas sa bodega nila gaya ng DSWD natatandaan kong sinabi mo ito nuong panahon ni GMA ay ganyan din ang nangyari sa NFA paulit ulit lang . Sa pangkasukuyan ang tuwid na daan ay lumalabas na hinde para sa mahirap kongdi puro sa mga mayaman at may pera Mr. President paki bukas mo ang iyong mga mata ng makita mo ang mga nasa palibot mo.Halos lahat ng ahensiya ng gobiyerno mo ay failure NAIA brown out,MRT/LRT,MAMASAPANO,DRUGS,RAPE, at iba pang mga heneous crime wala ng natira sa utak ng mga nilulok mo kongdi ang magsinungaling,at ang MAGNAKAW..

  2. paolo merced on

    Has it ever occurred to those who are now condemning the reaction of the LGU and the policemen that the rallyists were engaged in economic sabotage punishable by law, and unduly penalizing the public for a perceived government neglect which they have absolutely nothing to do about. Have they realized how many thousands of people were stranded on the highway, both ways. People wanting to visit relatives with just enough money for bus fare and had no extra money to buy food to make them survive the many hours that they have to waste on that highway; sick people who could not be brought to the hospital; perishable food stuff like fish and vegetables that could not be delivered to the market; important flights that were missed because people could not reach the airports anymore; parents who missed their children’s graduation or school recognition activities because they could not get through the blocked national highway; and many more tales of despair. Why are these people being punished by these rallyists? Is it because they were instructed to do so by their handlers – the CPP NPA NDF, Duterte, Pinol, Gabriela, Anakpawis, KMP, leftist lawyers, leftists in congress, etc? Is it forbidden to pass through the Cotabato-Davao highway whenever they feel like everybody must be punished? Is this the kind of selective justice that you want, that is why you are rooting for the Duterte-CPP NPA NDF ascendance to power? God help this country.

    • well said… well said to cover up the administrations asses. Has it ever occurred to you as well that this could all have been avoided if the farmer were given their due aid? If you are one of the fathers of a hungry farmer family, knowing that the rice and financial assistance that was promised to you was already approved and yet seemed like it’s being held back by incompetence, wouldn’t you do the same? would you just sit there and relax and wait for the when the rice and financial aid comes knocking on your door while your family starves to death? You LP people always put politics first even in tragedy that Duterte’s rice donation was blocked because you are too threatened of him. What a shame.

  3. paolo merced on

    Has it ever occurred to those who are now condemning the reaction of the LGU and the policemen that the rallyists were engaged in economic sabotage punishable by law, and unduly penalizing the public for a perceived government neglect which they have absolutely nothing to do about. Have they realized how many thousands of people were stranded on the highway, both ways. People wanting to visit relatives with just enough money for bus fare and had no extra money to buy food to make them survive the many hours that they have to waste on that highway; sick people who could not be brought to the hospital; perishable food stuff like fish and vegetables that could not be delivered to the market; important flights that were missed because people could not reach the airports anymore; parents who missed their children’s graduation or school recognition activities because they could not get through the blocked national highway; and many more tales of despair. Why are these people being punished by these rallyists? Is it because they were instructed to do so by their handlers – the CPP NPA NDF, Duterte, Pinol, Gabriela, Anakpawis, KMP, communist lawyers, communists in congress, etc? Is it forbidden to pass through the Cotabato-Davao highway whenever they feel like everybody must be punished? Is this the kind of selective justice that you want, that is why you are rooting for the Duterte-CPP NPA NDF ascendance to power? God help this country.

  4. paolo merced on

    Correction please. Its North Cotabato, not South Cotabato. The author has over simplified the situation. If he has visited North Cotabato, he will notice that the effects of El NIno has been so devastating that almost no crops can be grown anymore on the parched lands.His comments about Ninoy’s incompetence is valid. But to say the same to the LGUs in North Cotabato who have exerted significant efforts to the address the plight of farmers following the government’s standard operating procedures is totally inaccurate and is tantamount to deliberately misleading the public.
    If the poor, hungry farmers were left on their own and had their say, they would opt to have a peaceful dialogue with the provincial LGU to get what they want, which was very likely to happen as the provincial LGU was already in the process of distributing the rice starting from the barangays going up to the municipal levels. The problem is there were a lot of communists and politicians pulling the strings from behind; People who wanted a violent ending for maximum, dramatic propaganda effect. But has it ever occurred to those who are now condemning the reaction of the LGU and the policemen that the rallyists were engaged in economic sabotage punishable by law, and unduly penalizing the public for a perceived government neglect which they have absolutely nothing to do about. Have they realized how many thousands of people were stranded on the highway, both ways. People wanting to visit relatives with just enough money for bus fare and had no extra money to buy food to make them survive the many hours that they have to waste on that highway; sick people who could not be brought to the hospital; perishable food stuff like fish and vegetables that could not be delivered to the market; important flights that were missed because people could not reach the airports anymore; parents who missed their children’s graduation or school recognition activities because they could not get through the blocked national highway; and many more tales of despair. Why are these people being punished by these rallyists? Is it because they were instructed to do so by their handlers – the CPP NPA NDF, Duterte, Pinol, Gabriela, Anakpawis, KMP, communist lawyers, communists in congress, etc? Is it forbidden to pass through the Cotabato-Davao highway whenever they feel like everybody must be punished? Is this the kind of selective justice that you want, that is why you are rooting for the Duterte-CPP NPA NDF ascendance to power? God help this country.

  5. paolo merced on

    Correction please. Its North Cotabato, not South Cotabato. The author has over simplified the situation. If he has visited North Cotabato, he will notice that the effects of El NIno has been so devastating that almost no crops can be grown anymore on the parched lands.His comments about Ninoy’s incompetence is valid. But to say the same to the LGUs in North Cotabato who have exerted significant efforts to the address the plight of farmers following the government’s standard operating procedures is totally inaccurate and is tantamount to deliberately misleading the public.
    If the poor, hungry farmers were left on their own and had their say, they would opt to have a peaceful dialogue with the provincial LGU to get what they want, which was very likely to happen as the provincial LGU was already in the process of distributing the rice starting from the barangays going up to the municipal levels. The problem is there were a lot of communists and politicians pulling the strings from behind; People who wanted a violent ending for maximum, dramatic propaganda effect. But has it ever occurred to those who are now condemning the reaction of the LGU and the policemen that the rallyists were engaged in economic sabotage punishable by law, and unduly penalizing the public for a perceived government neglect which they have absolutely nothing to do about. Have they realized how many thousands of people were stranded on the highway, both ways. People wanting to visit relatives with just enough money for bus fare and had no extra money to buy food to make them survive the many hours that they have to waste on that highway; sick people who could not be brought to the hospital; perishable food stuff like fish and vegetables that could not be delivered to the market; important flights that were missed because people could not reach the airports anymore; parents who missed their children’s graduation or school recognition activities because they could not get through the blocked national highway; and many more tales of despair. BAKIT PINAPARUSAHAN NG MGA RALIYISTANG SUPPORTADO NG CPP NPA NDF, DUTERTE, PINOL, GABRIELA, ANAKPAWIS, KMP, MGA KOUMUNISTANG ABOGADO, MGA KOMUNISTANG KONGRESISTA, AT MGA KA ALYADO NILA ANG MGA SIMPLENG TAONG ITO??? ANO ANG NAGING KASALANAN NILA? KASALANAN NA PALA ANG DUMAAN SA NORTH COTABATO HIGHWAY?

  6. It’s not even blindness.. It’s plain and simple apathy, indifference; unconcerned, unmoved, uninvolved, disinterested, unemotional, dispassionate attitude.

  7. We have to blame Aquino also, the big fire in Cebu, the car accident in Cubao, the non functioning traffic lights in Dasmarenas, the EL Ninio now in the Philippines and Binay graft and corruption.

    • I’ll put your sarcasm into a more serious note:
      *It is not a direct fault of Noynoy for the Cebu fire. BUT, if only he prevented corruption in military, we should have more C-150’s or choppers that can drop fire retardants
      *It is not a direct fault of Noynoy for car accidents, BUT, he let our traffic management in chaos and indicipline, as well as negligence in our transports to rot
      *El Niño is not a fault of Noynoy, BUT his lack of preparation and excessive politicking were killing our people from hunger
      *Binay’s corruption is not Noynoy’s fault, but it was HIS MOTHER Cory that installed Binay in Makati.

  8. Grundy Constantino on

    Peak of arrogance, stoned heart and insensitiveness… Usual behavior of landlords. To think the wealth of the Cojuangcos belongs to revolutionary patriots. Makapal pa sa adobe ang mga pagmumukha!

  9. Ernesto Aquino on

    “Under President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, our principal wake-up nightmares were the Maguindanao massacre (which took place in the same province where the Mamasapano massacre would later take place) and the Hacienda Luisita massacre, which took place in the family hacienda of the Aquino family clan, which can boast of contributing two Filipino presidents in the span of a mere 30 years (1986-2016).
    Under President Benigno BS Aquino 3rd, in only six years, the Luneta hostage-taking tragedy, the Yolanda disaster, the Mamasapano massacre, the Zambonga city siege, and now the Kidapawan massacre have cascaded one after the other to tell a tale of unremitting grief and tragedy, that is without parallel in any previous administration (not even the 20-year rule of Ferdinand Marcos).”

    Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo regime’s massacre was under control of civilians or political lord while Aquinos’ regimes were under control of military/police.

  10. renato irlanda on

    i’ll bet my last bottom peso that the spin guys of malacanang will again come out with a spin on Penoy Aquinos god forsaken, non existing, imaginary love life to take the concentration of the telenovela loving populace off the Kidapawan massacre and devote their fanatical bordering on the hysterical attention to the malacanang’s fable of the lovelorn
    this is the pattern- kapag may kapalpakan, mawawala si Penoy, lalabas ang balita na may napupusuan ang nawawalang abnoy, ang publiko palibhasa isip telenovela ibabaling nalang ang attention sa bolang lovelife at unti unti nalang makakalimutan ang kapalpakan, pag lamig ng kapalpakan lalabas na ang nawawalang abnoy.
    sinong namang malas na babae ang gagawin nilang ka love team ngayon ni abnoy? nakupo, kumita na yan mga spinners!!!!!

  11. “When threaded together, the massacres in Mendiola, Hacienda Luisita and Kidapawan collectively testify to the Aquino family’s total blindness to the plight of farmers and their total absorption in their interests as landowners” – says it all.

  12. Amnata Pundit on

    If the American-backed leftists wanted Mindanao to burn, they couldn’t have thought of a better way to start it.

  13. you forgot to mention that this is the only president in our history to have lost territory (panatag shoals) during peace times.

  14. the man-boy in the palace reminds me when i was a child, i go into hiding when i broke a plate, i misplaced the hammer or i got into a fight with my kalaro…. i had always that looming feeling of guilt when i failed to take responsibility…. i wonder if the man-boy does feel the guilt too?

  15. Crisis will always be there to deal with in every President’s term. The way each of them deals with it is what will define them.
    I wouldn’t be so hard with Pnoy, he did try to live the role, but i am definitely not pleased.
    VP Binay has a strong platform against poverty & has a track record to back it up, no matter what allegations were drawn & thrown with it.
    What the candidates and the local news as well have been unusually silent about in particular is this issue at N. Cotabato…
    “Why does it take a tragedy or a massacre to awaken outrage, conscience and awareness in this country?” is one legitimate question i also have.

  16. This is the problem in electing incompetent, and chosen only because of his parents name (popularity) not accomplishments ( tongressman zero, sinator nada)! And not to forget, Penoy B.S.Aquino don’t have empathy whatsoever because he was born with big silver spoon in his mouth. Alam naman natin na ang mayayaman sa atin ay mga matapobre lalo na non, kaya wala pakiramdam at awa sa mahihirap!

    • I agree with you. Trouble is, that the minds of the masang Pilipino is constantly conditioned by conscript media and survey outfits with misinformation that trick them into believing that it is okay to chose candidates with no proven track record in governance ‘hoping’ that things will turn out for the better. Going back to the topic at hand – while the poor farmers and the ‘masa’ are grieving the oligarchs are having a party.

    • And now the country is about to elect another incompetent dreamer and foreigner who was disqualified by the Comelec. The country needs to wake up from deep sleep. Until then we will suffer the consequence.

  17. Ostrich-like behavior best exemplified by our noynoying president every time a major crises occurs.