Kindly see below the statement of KATRIBU to the shooting in Kidapawan, Cotabato, Philippines.
IPMSDL strongly condemns the shooting of the Philippine National Police (PNP) to the farmers and indigenous peoples protesters asking for aid to the Philippine Government in Kidapawan, Cotabato, Philippines.
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Justice for all the victims!
No to land grabbing!
Defend our land, life and resources!
April 1, 2016
KATRIBU: Hold Gov. Mendoza and the Aquino Administration Accountable! Justice for the Victims of the Kidapawan Shooting!
The Katribu Kalipunan ng Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas (KATRIBU) staunchly condemns the mass shooting of farmers and Lumad who were demanding the immediate release of calamity relief in Kidapawan, North Cotabato.
Almost 3 days ago, 5,000 farmers and indigenous people from lumad communities staged a barricade in Kidapawan City to call for an immediate response and relief to the devastation of El Niño in the region. It was estimated that the region experienced PhP 1 billion worth of damage in agriculture and 27 areas were placed under state of calamity. More than 28,000 hectares of rice were destroyed since November last year.
Farmers were demanding the release of 15,000 sacks of rice as an immediate relief to the widespread hunger they were experiencing. They were also calling for long term solutions to the dwindling price of agricultural products and the immediate pull out of military forces ravaging the Lumad communities.
In response, the Philippine National Police fired on the protesters, leading to 30 being wounded and 1 killed. Numerous people including children were also unaccounted for during the shooting.
Gov. Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza was quoted saying that they can’t give in to the farmers’ demands, after the latter refused the insulting “3 kilos of rice per quarter” relief offered by the local government. And with one fell swoop, a few hours after the failed negotiations, guns were blazing against hungry and poor farmers.
With brazen lies, the PNP was quick to point out that the gunshots came from the farmers, reminiscent of the same fabricated stories state forces have been spreading during the Hacienda Luisita and Mendiola massacres.
This is not the first time that both farmers and Lumad experienced state terror. They have been living with poverty and murder during and after the fall of the Marcos dictatorship. Long they have tilled their lands without tasting the fruits of their hard work due to unfair rent cost and loans with high interest rates imposed by landlords. Their products are also being bought cheaply, in an attempt to cash in on their desperation to sell their goods.
Indigenous people are also victims of massive land grabbing and development aggression aimed at their ancestral lands. And whenever they attempt to speak up, they are met with gunfire. Instead of getting food, their stomachs were being filled by bullets.
The lack of preparation and immediate relief for the El Niño devastation is just one of the many facets of the land monopoly problem in the countryside. As long as the government is protecting the landlords and warlords who are benefiting from the arduous work done by farmers, hunger and murder will be an everyday ordeal for the people.
We therefore call on the Filipino people to hold Gov. Mendoza accountable for the Kidapawan Shooting. Above that, we must also have BS Aquino answer for his culpability in perpetuating the culture of impunity in the entire period of his violent regime marred with human rights violations and killings.
We support the farmers and Lumad of North Cotabato in calling for an immediate relief to the hunger they are experiencing. We are also one with them in calling for justice for the terror they have experienced. We will never cower in the face of wanton violence.
FOOD, NOT BULLETS!
JUSTICE FOR THE VICTIMS OF THE KIDAPAWAN SHOOTING!
OPPOSE OPLAN BAYANIHAN! STOP MILITARIZATION OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLE COMMUNITIES!
FIGHT FOR GENUINE AGRARIAN REFORM!