Ex-CBCP head likens Kidapawan violence to Mendiola massacre
A FORMER president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has decried the bloody police dispersal of protesting farmers in Kidapawan City, North Cotabato.
Archbishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz said the violent dispersal, which killed at least three farmers and injured dozens more, was no different from the “Mendiola Massacre.”
“Yung Mendiola massacre ay kagagawan ‘yun ng mga landlord at ang presidente noon ay ‘yung nanay niya (Benigno Aquino III). Para bang walang Diyos! At ang tao nagugutom hindi basta nakikinig, sabi nga ni Kristo, ‘Mock has no ears.’ Kapag nagugutom, ang kailangan niyan pagkain. Pero ’ka ko imbes na bigas, imbes na pagkain, pinagbabaril pa. Para bang panahon ng hapon, nakakahiya! Cruz was quoted as saying in a Radyo Veritas report.
In January 1987, 13 farmers were killed when security forces opened fire as thousands of protesting farmers and land reform advocates marched to Mendiola Bridge.
Cruz described the incident as shameful, stressing that the drought-hit farmers were just demanding food assistance from the government due to the effects of El Niño.
The CBCP said it was also saddened by the bloody dispersal.
“We pray for our farmers in Kidapawan. May those who died find peace and happiness in heaven,” Archbishop Socrates Villegas, CBCP President said in statement.
Villegas urged protesters and farmers to avoid vengeance as he prayed that the incident would be resolved immediately.
“May their families not give in to the cycle of vengeance but instead seek ways to restore peace,” he said.
“May the police and military return to their mandate to preserve peace, protect the weak and serve justice,” he added.
On April 1, thousands of farmers protested along the Kidapawan Highway but police authorities stormed the protesters’ barricade and opened fire.
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