Duterte urged to pursue justice for Kidapawan farmers
Almost two months after the bloody Kidapawan clash, a peasant group on Tuesday urged President-elect Rodrigo Duterte to give justice to the farmers who were violently dispersed in a protest in North Cotabato.
“Up until today, not a single perpetrator of the Kidapawan Massacre was brought to justice. We urge President-elect Duterte to pursue justice for farmers oppressed by the haciendero Aquino administration,” Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) secretary-general Antonio Flores said in a statement.
A protest of drought-stricken farmers ended up in a violent dispersal by authorities last April 1. The peasants were demanding rice subsidy and assistance for their communities affected by El Niño.
READ: Duterte camp on Kidapawan dispersal: Blood on Aquino’s hands
Flores challenged Duterte to solve landlessness and rural poverty, which he said has worsened under the six-year term of outgoing President Benigno Aquino III.
“Nine out of ten farmers have no land to till. Vast lands are still under the control of haciendas and landlords. It is up to Duterte to live up to the challenge of reversing this situation,” he said.
Flores added that a “genuine land reform program,” including free land distribution to farmers, and “dismantling of land monopolies,” would be “significant” in achieving the change that Duterte has promised.
“Duterte’s policy on land reform will also be crucial in giving justice to farmers,” he said. CDG/rga
READ: Bloodshed in Kidapawan: Climate change, conflict, politics of famine
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