Duterte vows to aid Kidapawan farmers
Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday vowed to extend humanitarian aid to the drought-hit farmers in Kidapawan City affected by a violent dispersal by police authorities.
Duterte said he would extend food assistance to the protesting peasants “to help them tide over the crisis.”
“I was willing to go there, not for anything else, but to ask if I can help on the humanitarian side of the problem—that is to give the farmers food assistance,” the presidential aspirant said.
As a lawyer, he said he knew that he does not have the authority to intervene in the affairs of another local government unit.
“I don’t want to tinker with the ongoing dispute there. I am only the mayor of Davao City. I will not go there to ask for anything because that is not my territory,” he said.
“We will assist them just to help them tide over the crisis,” he added.
He said that giving food allowance is the only thing that he can do for now as a local chief executive.
The tough talking mayor said that helping the farmers would require the passage of a City Council resolution allowing the office of the city mayor to give food assistance to an area affected by calamity.
Duterte said Davao City “did this before when it extended assistance to areas affected by typhoon Yolanda and other calamities.”
He said he was sad over the bloody dispersal that killed at least two farmers and injured dozens more after a violent clash between police and protesting farmers.
Duterte said helping the hungry farmers “is part of the city government of Davao’s social commitment.”
Amid the tension between the provincial government and protesters, Duterte urged the leaders of the farmers and North Cotabato Gov. Emmylou Mendoza to dialogue, saying it is the best way to solve the problem.
“I am calling for sobriety. We need to keep calm,” he said. “The leaders of the farmers and Governor Mendoza should talk about this,” he said. IDL
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