Farmers stage protest in Koronadal, decry lack of gov’t aid
DAVAO CITY – Anti-riot policemen tried to disperse about 2,000 drought-stricken farmers who staged a picket outside the regional office of the Department of Agriculture in Koronadal City on Friday to demand immediate aid to get them through the calamity.
Speaking as part of one of the support groups of the farmers, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan leader Ryan Lariba said the march protest is both a condemnation for the alleged failure of the government to mitigate the effects of El Niño and for its failure to meet the urgent needs of the hungry farmers.
“About 30 cops tried to disperse the farmers by pushing and hitting them but they stood their ground and eventually where able to overpower the police. The farmers were able to push the anti-riot cops inside the office of the Department of Agriculture,” Lariba said.
Lariba said the farmers then locked the doors of the government office from the outside.
“The farmers padlocked the regional office of DA. Basically, the cops are locked inside the building,” Lariba said.
The police, however, were able to get out of the building using the backdoor exit.
Lariba said the farmers came from the rural communities of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, General Santos City and Sarangani Province.
“The government already sent negotiators including church leaders and people from the DILG but no one from the DA came to talk to the farmers,” Lariba said.
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