MANILA — Superstar Nora Aunor and theater actress Monique Wilson joined today’s protest action demanding justice for farmers who were violently dispersed by police forces last week.
Straight from a shooting for an indie film in Camarines Sur, Aunor marched side by side the leaders of different sectors from Plaza Miranda to the foot of Chino Roces (formerly Mendiola) bridge.
During the program, Aunor said, “Para sa lahat ng mga biktima sa Kidapawan, hustisya!” (For the victims of Kidapawan, justice!) “Narito ako ngayon para makiisa sa inyong pighati at galit sa mga nangyari.” (I am here today to share with your grief and rage over what happened.)
The award-winning actress said that when she first heard of the news about the Kidapawan shooting, she became restless. She asked her colleagues from Migrante International what she could do to help and decided to join the Global Day of Action today. Even without sleep, she travelled for 15 hours to join the protest this morning.
Aunor said national leaders should resign. “Bumaba na sila dahil wala naman slang nagagawang kabutihan para sa mamamayan lalo na sa mga mahihirap na tao… Nagmasaker sila ng mga taong walang ibang kahilingan kundi bigas.” (They should step down because they are not doing anything good for the people, especially the poor…They massacred those who were only asking for rice.)
Also at the protest action was theater actress Monique Wilson who criticized President Benigno Aquino III for his silence on the issue. Wilson lamented that Aquino chose to host the Prince of Monaco instead of attending to the needs of farmers. “Anong pakialam natin sa Prince of Monaco na ‘yan? Bakit diyan niya binibigay ang kanyang attention at energy sa halip na sa kapwa Pilipino.” (What do we have to with the Prince of Monaco? Why does he have to spend his attention and energy to him instead of his fellow Filipinos?)
‘Farmers are not dumb’
Wilson lambasted efforts by the government to muddle the issue. She scored those who are saying that the farmers were just influenced by the Left. “Matatalino po ang mga magsasaka…Hindi po tanga ang mga magsasaka. Nandun sila sa protest sapagkat sila ay gutom.” (Farmers are intelligent people…Farmers are not dumb. They were there at the protest because they are hungry.)
Wilson said hunger is the worst form of violence against the farmers.
Wilson called on the public to look at government policies that led to what happened in Kidapawan. She said the Kidapawan massacre reflects the land problem. She further stated that neoliberal policies cause the poverty and misery of Filipinos.
Wilson, also the global director of One Billion Rising Campaign to end violence against women and girls, criticised North Cotabato Gov. Emmylou Talino-Mendoza for being a pretender.
Wilson said that in 2014, Mendoza joined her and her colleagues in Gabriela in the One Billion Rising event in Kidapawan City. “Matindi ang nagpapanggap na ally. Iyon pala sa loob-loob niya, hindi pala siya makatao,” (She pretended to be an ally. Deep inside, she is not humane.) Wilson said.
Mendoza refused to heed any of the demands of the farmers and only offered three kilos of rice per family per quarter.
On April 1, police forces opened fire at the farmers’ barricade demanding rice subsidy and much needed assistance from the local government. Two were confirmed dead and at least ten sustained gunshot wounds. More than 70 farmers were also arrested and detained, including three elderly, three pregnant and six minor.