“What kind of government do we have?”
By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
MANILA –Government forces opened fire on protesting farmers, killing at least one and injuring some 30 at 11 a.m. today, April 1 in Kidapawan City in Cotabato province, a farmers group said.
In a statement, the Asian Peasant Coalition said the three-day barricade of farmers were violently dispersed by the combined forces of the North Cotabato police and soldiers from the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
Bulatlat is still verifying the name of the protester who died.
Renato Reyes Jr., secretary general of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), said in a Facebook post that among those injured is Sheena Duazo of Bayan-Southern Mindanao.
The protest at the National Food Authority in Kidapawan City was led by the Kilusang Magbubukid sa Kotabato, a local chapter of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas. The APC said the protesters were local farmers who have been severely affected by drought and are demanding the release of 15,000 sacks of rice as subsidy. The barricade had closed off traffic along the Davao-Cotabato highway.
Makabayan senatorial bet Neri Colmenares assailed the brutal response to farmers who were only “demanding food, relief and land from the government.”
“This is like the Mendiola and Luisita massacres all over again. They would say that they are pro-farmers and that they would help farmers. But instead of giving them rice and food, they were shot. What kind of government do we have?” Colmenares said.