QUEZON CITY, April 5, 2016—Manila Auxiliary Bishop and CBCP Public Affairs chief, Broderick Pabillo also condemned the violent dispersal of protesting farmers in Kidapawan City last April 1, saying state forces should not have reacted violently to the protesting peasants’ grievances.
“This is not the way to react to the grievances of the farmers that the government was not able to address in the first place. The El Niño is not like a typhoon that can make the government unprepared. It had already been forecasted two years ago. It has hit the country since September last year. The government has not done anything to address this problem,” said Pabillo in a statement published on the Radio Veritas website.
The bishop also said the Church had been calling the government’s attention to the matter for months to no avail.
“Even though the local governments had issued states of calamities in areas in Mindanao, still the government, both local, and national, has done nothing that the farmers could feel that they are cared for,” explained the prelate.
Pabillo also lamented that such cruelty were committed during the Jubilee of Mercy.
“It is very troubling that the police and the military are always being sent to harass, wound and kill the poor – whether they be farmers, lumads, urban poor, or workers who protest and rally because they suffer and their rights are not being addressed. They are blamed in the name of national security and are accused to be led by communists,” Pabillo furthered.
The prelate also assailed the alleged protection provided by the police and the military to rich corporations, particularly mining companies and corporate plantations as well as politicians—entities that oppress the poor and the marginalized.
He also criticized the callousness of the Aquino administration towards the plight of the poor, the farmers, and indigenous peoples, saying it should be held accountable for the Kidapawan city carnage. (Noel Sales Barcelona / CBCPNews)