Miriam, Bongbong deplore ‘inhuman’ shooting of Kidapawan farmers
Presidential candidate Sen. Miriam Santiago and her running mate Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. condemned the violent dispersal of protesting farmers in Kidapawan City, North Cotabato on Friday.
In separate statements, the tandem scored the use of bullets by the police on the farmers demanding for relief and subsidy, leaving one dead and 13 wounded.
Santiago said it was “inhuman” and that the government should be held accountable for the incident, citing a part of the Constitution that guarantees the freedom of speech, expression and the press, “the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances.”
“It is vile enough that this administration has failed to support the farmers and lumads of Kidapawan during the prolonged drought in Mindanao. But it is downright inhuman for them to shoot at the same people begging for help,” she said.
The senator called for an immediate investigation of the incident and those involved be swiftly brought to justice.
“This government cannot claim to be pro-poor when it answers pleas for help with bursts of gunshot,” she said.
Santiago also urged the government to improve support for the agriculture sector by ensuring sufficient food supply.
The senator lamented the death of her proposed Senate Bill. No. 2317 or the right to Adequate Food Framework, “which could have helped put in place mechanisms to ensure food supply despite dry spells and other phenomena.”
The bill also seeks to impose the penalty of imprisonment of six years and one day to 12 years against any public or private person who deliberately starves or denies access to food to any individual or group.
Marcos, meanwhile, said that the violent dispersal was “completely unnecessary.”
“I deplore the use of bullets to answer legitimate demands of our farmers and their families in North Cotabato. They are hungry and they are just asking for food so they can feed their families. The violent dispersal was completely unnecessary,” he said.
Marcos proposed the creation of an inter-agency committee to address the situation and start a dialogue. “Cooler heads must take the lead so we can come up with a win-win solution to their plight. The farmers are just asking for food to feed their children and it is lamentable that the government has answered them with bullets,” he said.
The vice presidential candidate said that the farmers’ resort to protest and block the highway to demand government assistance was a manifestation that the government has not enough to address their conditions.
“It is an act of desperation and I could not blame them. They are hungry for months, their crops are gone, damaged by El Niño. This should be a wake-up call to our government, our DA officials especially to double their efforts to help them,” he said. IDL
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