“What they needed is rice and not the spin of the Liberal Party or the administration.”
By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
MANILA — Makabayan senatorial candidate Rep. Neri Colmenares hit Liberal Party presidential aspirant Mar Roxas and the Aquino administration for blaming drought-stricken farmers for the violent dispersal in Kidapawan City on April 1.
Colmenares said Roxas and the Aquino administration have been “moving heaven and earth to divert from the real issue and the root cause of the Kidapawan bloodbath.”
Roxas and other Aquino Cabinet members have claimed that the violent dispersal of the farmers’ barricade has to do with politics.
Colmenares also slammed the police for trying to clear their ranks of any responsibility.
“As expected, the Philippine National Police (PNP) is blaming the farmers, and is now saying that the police are the ‘victims’ in the bloodbath. They are following the lead of Malacanang by skirting the main issue, which is that the local government and the Aquino administration criminally neglected the El Niño-hit starving farmers,” said Colmenares in a statement.
The legislator reacted to the statement of the police in today’s hearing conducted by the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights headed by Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III at the University of Southeastern Philippines in Davao City.
Colmenares, who flew to Kidapawan the day after the massacre and asserted that all of those wounded and killed are residents of Cotabato. “The administration should stop lying that those who rallied and demanded rice were from elsewhere or that the farmers were used or instigated to go there,” said Colmenares.
Colmenares added that it is only natural and just for organizations from other places to join the farmers in Kidapawan, because they also are affected by El Niño, poverty and hunger.
“What they needed is rice and not the spin of the Liberal Party or the administration,” he added.
He said the claim that the farmers were prodded by outsiders, is tantamount to saying that the hunger being suffered by farmers is not true and were all made up.
“Kung busog ang mga magsasaka, kahit anong sulsol mo hindi nila iiwanan ang lupa nila para pumunta sa kapitolyo (If the farmers were contented, they will not leave their land and go to the capitol),” said Colmenares.
He added that the problem with the Aquino administration is that they easily blame the others and not themselves. (kapag may mali sila ay ibinabaling nila ang sisi sa iba maliban sa sarili nila.
“Instead of blaming the farmers the least Mar can do is to make sure that the local and national governments deliver the needed assistance for the farmers,” Colmenares said.
Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) chairperson Carol Araullo also hit the cover-up of the government, in a solidarity gathering in support of Kidapawan farmers held on April 6. She said local officials also parrot the national government’s accusation that the barricade was pushed by the Leftists.
“Regarding the accusations that there were New People’s Army members in the barricade and that the Left were in connivance with former local politicians– that was why the violence took place, If one would believe these stories of Malacañang, this massacre, from the very beginning, had been ‘orchestrated’ by the Left,” Araullo said during the gathering.
“Kulang na lang sabihin nila yung El Niño ay gawa ng mga Kaliwa (They might as well say the Left caused the El Niño weather phenomenon.),” she said.
She said the government cover-up will not answer the farmers demand for aid, food and rice in time of drought, let alone genuine agrarian reform, the problem of irrigation and other farmers’ needs for their crops, she added.