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P-NOY INSENSITIVITY BLAMED AS KIDAPAWAN DEATH RISE
[The Palace called for calm. “This is a very, very heartbreaking tragedy. Our farmers deserved better than to have to suffer to receive assistance and aid,” Undersecretary Manuel Quezon III of the Presidential Communications  Development and Strategic Planning Office, said on radio.“There is no reason why people must die in order to be asking for assistance from their own government,” he said. At the same time, Quezon said, “there is no reason why a tragedy must be compounded by hotheaded statements or rushing to judgment,” he added.]


APRIL 3 -Palace spokesman on Kidapawan rally: No reason for deaths - The casualty in the violent dispersal of Kidapawan farmers crying for assistance as a result of the dry spell that hit farms in Mindanao rose to three dead yesterday as several rights advocacy groups and political groups pinned the blame on the tragedy to the Aquino administration. State security forces opened fire at thousands of farmers at around 10 a.m. last Friday on protesters in Kidapawan, North Cotabato after ordering them to disperse. Rotello Daelto, Victor Lumandang and Enrico Pabrica were killed, according to Ariel Casilao, Anakpawis partylist first nominee who has been in Kidapawan. At least 37 were wounded and 87 were reported missing. Since March 30, nearly 6,000 farmers hit by drought barricaded the streets of Kidapawan City to demand immediate relief from the local government.  In particular, they were asking for 5,000 sacks of rice from the local government. Anakpawis said in a statement that when police authorities ordered the farmers to leave, the protesters stood their ground. Shortly before 11 a.m., combined forces of the North Cotabato police and soldiers from the Armed Forces of the Philippines dispersed the barricade and fired shots at the protesting farmers. “Video reports by Kilab Multimedia show some members of the dispersal team in full battle gear; some were carrying long firearms,” the group said. Hundreds of farmers retreated to the Spottswood Methodist Center compound. Some 500 police and military personnel entered the church compound yesterday with a search warrant.  The warrant, issued by Kidapawan Regional Trial Court Branch 17 presiding judge Arvin Sadiri Balagot, states that there “is probable cause and good reasons to believe that there are firearms being kept inside the buildings…”After the search, no firearms were found.Forty-four have been arrested and taken to the Kidapawan Gym.READ MORE...

ALSO: Palace calls Kidapawan protesters, backers liars


APRIL 4 -COLOMA
The Palace has called the protesting farmer groups liars in claiming that farmers have not received government assistance in the wake of the violent dispersal Kidapawan City of some 5,000 tillers who are seeking the release of state support to tide them over the dry spell that devastated farmlands in Mindanao. The violent dispersal conducted by the police force along the Cotabato-Davao highway resulted in three deaths mostly from gunshot wounds among the protesters.  “We are getting very simplistic statements that claim what were asked were not given. Those are lies since a comprehensive and large-scale program was implemented by our government,”  Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said on radio. Coloma said the comprehensive program to cushion the impact of the El Niño phenomenon has been implemented by the national government since August 2015. Under the 2016 budget, the government has allotted P19 billion in El Niño mitigation funds. “At a Cabinet meeting, the President has directed the creation of a Cabinet task force to mitigate the damage that El Nino will bring,” Coloma added. Coloma said under the task force, a Food Security Council has been formed to assure that there will be enough food while the National Water Resources Board has been assigned to assure the supply of water in every affected barangay. ”The government has been closely monitoring at all times the affected areas by El Nino. If you have not heard of crisis or any calamity that took place, it’s because of the prompt action of the government,” he said. According to Coloma, the concerned government agencies have been implementing cloud seeding and have been distributing drought-resistant crops. In fact, Coloma said the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has been tasked to implement cash-for-work program in affected regions, particularly Region 12, including North Cotabato and Kidapawan City. “There are those engaged in deception who are saying that no action was taken by the government since starting August, 2015, the government had keenly monitored the El Niño situation so we have to bring out the truth about that,” he said. READ MORE...

ALSO:
PRESIDENTIAL BETS BLASTED NOY GOVT - Duterte
says blood of farmers killed in Kidapawan City is on Pres. Aquino’s hand


ALRIL 2 -Presidential candidates blasted the government for the tragic incident in Kidapawan City Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte called the dispersal of the protesting farmers’ picket lines “barbaric” Senator Miriam Santiago said the tragic incident was downright inhuman Presidential candidate Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte said the blood of the farmers killed in the violent dispersal of their picket lines in Kidapawan City on April 1 was on President Benigno Aquino III’s hands.
Duterte said the president cannot escape responsibility and blame for the “barbaric” incident. He accused the Aquino administration of being “impervious to the suffering of the people.”  “It all the more becomes more tragic and despicable that the same bloodline that benefited from the EDSA 1986 revolt have soiled their hands with the blood and tears of the Filipino people that allowed them into power,” CNN Philippines quoted the mayor as saying. The feisty mayor, however, called for sobriety on both sides to prevent fuelling more animosity between the protesters and the government. Those involved in the shooting should immediately be disarmed and investigated, the mayor said as he urged the Commission on Human Rights to help the victims. Another presidential candidate, Senator Miriam Santiago, also blamed the government for the tragic incident. She said the government should be held accountable for the violent dispersal which she called as “downright inhuman.” “It is vile enough that this administration has failed to support the farmers and lumads of Kidapawan during the prolonged drought in Mindanao. But it is downright inhuman for them to shoot at the same people begging for help,” Senator Santiago said. Presidential race front runner Senator Grace Poe said the tragedy should not have happened if only the concerned government agencies attended to the matter at the start. The farmers have been asking the government for food aid for several months now to mitigate the hunger besetting their communities as a result of the El Niño climate phenomenon that started since November last year. READ MORE...

ALSO: Poe camp - Naia-3 power outage a national embarrassment


APRIL 4 -The bag carousel area at the NAIA Terminal 3 is enveloped in darkness in this photo taken at 12 am, Sunday, April 3, 2016. Only one carousel is working. PHOTO BY ‪@sheenapedrieta THROUGH MIGUEL CAMUS / INQUIRER BUSINESS
The camp of leading presidential candidate Senator Grace Poe described the five-hour power outage at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) Terminal 3 from Saturday to early Sunday morning as “another embarrassment” for the country. Poe’s spokesperson Valenzuela City Mayor Rex Gatchalian said that the power outage at the said terminal highlights the supposed incompetence of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) led by Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya. “The five-hour power outage last night in NAIA 3 is once again another embarrassment for the country. The power outage clearly manifests the incompetence in the airport authority and DOTC, airport facilities management. Our people deserve better,” Gatchalian said in a statement on Sunday. He said that the power outage is another entry to the list of issues plaguing the country’s transportation sector such as flight delays due to runway congestion, bullet planting, and ill-maintained terminal infrastructure.
READ MORE...

ALSO: NOY WAS IN BASILAN INAUGURATING A BRIDGE - 'Basilan folk finally get their dream highway'


APRIL 3 -THREE FOR THE ROAD President Aquino motors to Basilan with PublicWorks Secretary Rogelio Singson (left) and ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman (second from left), for the inauguration of the Basilan Circumferential Road in Barangay Tumahubong, Sumisip, onMarch 21. MALACAÑANG PHOTO
IF Manilans complain about daily gridlock on Edsa, residents of Basilan, almost 1,500 kilometers to the south, are thankful for getting a simple, concrete road, something many people in the capital take for granted.
When the Basilan Circumferential Road was finally completed in December last year, the fear and insecurity the locals had endured for decades vanished. Its symbolism and significance are not lost on the people of the strife-torn province: the road stands for peace and development. It has cut travel time from the provincial capital, Isabela City, to Sumisip from eight hours to 45 minutes, allowed the transportation of goods and the establishment of businesses, and, most important, it serves as a deterrent to extremism and violence. The road starts from Isabela and traverses Lamitan City and the municipalities of Al-Barka, Tipo-Tipo, Ungkaya Pukan, Sumisip, Maluso, Lantawan, and ends back in the capital. Violent incidents These are areas that have become synonymous to unforgettable violence: the Lamitan siege in 2001 where Abu Sayyaf fighters held hostage hospital staff and American missionary couple Grace and Martin Burnham; the beheading in Al-Barka in July 2007 of Marine troops who clashed with Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) guerrillas while searching for kidnapped Italian priest Giancarlo Bossi; a nine-hour gun battle as government forces tried to take over an Abu Sayyaf camp in Ungkaya Pukan that left 19 Marines dead in August 2007; and the clash between the MILF and Army Special Forces in Al-Barka in 2011. Basilan is the hometown of Abu Sayyaf ideologues Isnilon Hapilon and Khadaffy Janjalani, and has long been a stronghold of the group that was once considered the most potent terrorist organization in the country. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Noy insensitivity blamed as Kidapawan deaths rise
[POVERTY, HUNGER TRIGGERED PROTEST — UNA]


Palace spokesman on Kidapawan rally: No reason for deaths

MANILA, APRIL 4, 2016 (TRIBUNE) Written by Charlie V. Manalo Sunday, 03 April 2016 00:00 - The casualty in the violent dispersal of Kidapawan farmers crying for assistance as a result of the dry spell that hit farms in Mindanao rose to three dead yesterday as several rights advocacy groups and political groups pinned the blame on the tragedy to the Aquino administration.

State security forces opened fire at thousands of farmers at around 10 a.m. last Friday on protesters in Kidapawan, North Cotabato after ordering them to disperse.

Rotello Daelto, Victor Lumandang and Enrico Pabrica were killed, according to Ariel Casilao, Anakpawis partylist first nominee who has been in Kidapawan. At least 37 were wounded and 87 were reported missing.

Since March 30, nearly 6,000 farmers hit by drought barricaded the streets of Kidapawan City to demand immediate relief from the local government.

In particular, they were asking for 5,000 sacks of rice from the local government.

Anakpawis said in a statement that when police authorities ordered the farmers to leave, the protesters stood their ground.

Shortly before 11 a.m., combined forces of the North Cotabato police and soldiers from the Armed Forces of the Philippines dispersed the barricade and fired shots at the protesting farmers.

“Video reports by Kilab Multimedia show some members of the dispersal team in full battle gear; some were carrying long firearms,” the group said.

Hundreds of farmers retreated to the Spottswood Methodist Center compound.

Some 500 police and military personnel entered the church compound yesterday with a search warrant.

The warrant, issued by Kidapawan Regional Trial Court Branch 17 presiding judge Arvin Sadiri Balagot, states that there “is probable cause and good reasons to believe that there are firearms being kept inside the buildings…”

After the search, no firearms were found.

Forty-four have been arrested and taken to the Kidapawan Gym.

READ MORE...

The Palace called for calm. “This is a very, very heartbreaking tragedy. Our farmers deserved better than to have to suffer to receive assistance and aid,” Undersecretary Manuel Quezon III of the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office, said on radio.

“All the more so because the assistance and aid is there, they have to go through the process... and this is really... this compounds the tragedy,” he said.

He said a fair, thorough, and impartial investigation must be carried out immediately to hold those accountable for the violence.

“There is no reason why people must die in order to be asking for assistance from their own government,” he said. At the same time, Quezon said, “there is no reason why a tragedy must be compounded by hotheaded statements or rushing to judgment,” he added.

READ MORE...

“It will not help anyone. There’s a tremendous number of wounded people on both sides. Lives have been lost and we owe it to ourselves as a society and to the farmers themselves and people in the affected areas to find out what exactly happened and why it did lead to this,” according to Quezon.

Gov’t failures blamed

The opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) blamed the administration of President Aquino for its failure to seriously address poverty and the growing food crisis which it claimed led the bloody and tragic outcome in the Kidapawan City protest.

“What happened in Kidapawan underlines the administration’s insensitivity and lack of compassion. The carnage is a result of government’s failure to seriously address poverty and hunger,” said UNA spokesman Mon Ilagan.

“But what is more revealing is that the bloody events that happened years ago in Mendiola, Hacienda Luisita and now Kidapawan highlight how prominent landowners in government treat farmers and farmworkers,” he said.

Ilagan added that it is pathetic that Malacanang only promised to punish the perpetrators of the violent dispersal and still managed to turn a blind eye towards the demands of the protesting farmers.

“Malacañang remains in denial over the crisis that beset our farmers in Mindanao. They failed to address the reality the poor farmers of Mindanao are facing on a daily basis. All they were asking for was the calamity assistance to be released in the midst of the drought and hunger they were experiencing — but all the government could give them was bullets,” he lamented.

Ilagan said that it is ironic that the government can afford to let several thousands sacks of rice rotting inside NFA warehouses every year, but is not willing to give 15,000 sacks of rice to farmers and lumads seeking for food assistance.
According to Ilagan, the administration has gone too far in responding to the legitimate needs of Filipinos in poverty.


ILAGAN

“The punitive approach and the excessive use of state power are totally unacceptable. The Aquino Administration cannot evade responsibility for the carnage. They have blood in their hands. The pain inflicted on our farmers and the many poor Filipino families suffering daily from poverty, hunger and government neglect should end,” Ilagan said.

In the 2016 national budget, P19 billion has been allotted to implement programs and projects to mitigate the impact of El Niño, among them are subsidies, alternative livelihood projects, irrigation and other assistance projects for farmers affected by drought.

However, Budget Secretary Butch Abad — a stalwart of the Liberal Party (LP) — refused to release in March the P900 million to the Department of Agriculture for projects intended to mitigate the effects of El Niño.

Ilagan said the Kidapawan tragedy will definitely leave a dark and bitter legacy in the Aquino Administration.

Meanwhile, vice presidential candidate Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said that had the government acted more decisively and earnestly in solving the problems of the farmers affected by El Niño, the Kidapawan City incident would not have happened.



He added the tragedy that befell the drought-hit farmers in North Cotabato should serve as a big lesson to the government to give priority to the agricultural sector.

Marcos has been repeatedly calling for swift and immediate government action on the areas affected by drought especially in Mindanao particularly giving them financial and technical support.

He said a thorough investigation should be conducted on the incident so shed light on why the police should respond to their grievances with bullets.

Marcos said the government should now start a comprehensive program to help the farmers.

Rafael Mariano, chairman of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) said Aquino’s unparalleled incompetence and gross negligence in addressing the prolonged drought is among the main culprit in the bloody carnage of farmers in Kidapawan.



Since January, the local government has declared a state of calamity due to El Niño but no direct assistance has been given to the farmers.

According to Agham or Science and Technology for the People, despite the early projections of PAGASA of an impending impact of “a mature and strong El Niño with an intensity comparable to the 1997-1998 El Niño event,” the national and local governments failed to prepare and execute contingency plans to mitigate the impacts of drought on agricultural production.

Moreover, the P19-billion mitigation fund approved on December 15, 2015 did not reach the affected communities.

Agricultural production in Central Mindanao suffered a staggering drop due to the drought, prompting declarations of a state of calamity not only in North Cotabato but also in the provinces of Maguindanao, South Cotabato, Cotabato City and Zamboanga City. Having lost almost 70 percent to 100 percent of food crops, Mindanao faced famine.

Environmental group Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment said the situation could have been averted if only the the national government worked on the ‘climate-proofing’ of irrigation systems, crop resiliency, and socio-economic aid to peasant communities even before the predicted start of El Niño in 2014. “This makes the criminal neglect all the worse,” Clemente Bautista, Kalikasan-PNE national coordinator, said.

Continuing trampling of rights

A left-leaning student organization accused the Aquino government and its LP allies in Kidapawan City of large-scale violations of human rights and transgressions of religious rights for insisting on trespassing the Spottswood United Methodist Center (UMC) in Kidapawan City and searching seven facilities for weapons.

UMC leaders have questioned the claim of the police and military that the 5,000 farmers seeking refuge at the church are armed and are keeping their weapons at the house of worship.

According to Charisse Bañez, national chair of League of Filipino Students (LFS), the persecution to the protesting farmers must immediately stop and the government, its local unit in Kidapawan City, the Philippine National Police (PNP), and the Armed Forces of the Philippines must back down and leave the farmers alone.



Barricading the church and preventing the farmers from leaving has sent shivers down the spine of the UMC, which had already lost Pastor Isaias Sta. Rosa in Bicol to military intelligence agents who snatched and killed him several years ago as well some church workers.

This led the UMC General Conference in New York to send a top-level delegation to Malacanang to demand an end to the persecution of United Methodist ministers, deaconesses and church workers.

Last year, a daughter in-law of a retired UMC Bishop Solito Toquero was also harassed by intelligence agents in Silang, Cavite.

The Kidapawan police have secured a search warrant from Executive Judge Arvin Sadiri B. Balagot of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Kidapawan City on the basis of the application for such a warrant by Superintendent Alexander Tagum, police director of North Cotabato, who believed the claim by Private First Class Nicky Boy S. Nazareno that the farmers had firearms stashed away at the convention hall, new building, dormitory, big cottage, canteen, an unnamed facility and the administration building of Spottswood Methodist Center.

This claim by the soldier was belied by the LFS and the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), both of which insisted the farmers were only armed with the conviction that their demand for food aid and production support was just and legitimate.

“This is beyond enraging, insulting even! The farmers were already abandoned by the government during the seven months of the El Niño drought. After asserting their right to get calamity funds, they were gunned down and brutally dispersed. And now, they are being treated as criminals and are being harassed. This is unacceptable,” said Bañez.

Bañez said the administration of Aquino is adding insult to injury since after their criminal negligence of the farmers’ welfare in Mindanao was exposed to the public, they are trying to cover up their accountability by justifying the shooting and bloody dispersal.

AQUINO CLIQUE TACTIC

Bañez noted that “this is a worn-out, rehashed tactic of the ruling Aquino clique — to conjure an imaginary member of the New People’s Army (NPA) among the protesters to justify massacre.

According to Bañez, it is the same tactic used in Hacienda Luisita in justifying the massacre and finding no one responsible for the sugar estate that President partly owns.”

She also slammed the search warrant “as the regime’s vicious way to plant evidence at the Spottswood Methodist Center.
The youth leader noted that trumped-up charges have become the usual scheme employed by the Aquino regime to pin down leaders of people’s organizations and justify their arrests.



Malacañang, meawnhile, was urged to send a “humanitarian army” to North Cotabato and other areas in the South hit by a dry spell which has parched lands and raised peasant protests against government inaction to a boiling point.

“Don’t rush troops. Send in a humanitarian army instead. Let it be an invasion of kindness, hope and assistance,” Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto said in the aftermath of a police dispersal Friday of a farmers’ highway barricade in Kidapawan City that left one dead and scores wounded.

Recto said Department of Social Welfare and Development (DWSD) and Department of Agriculture (DA) officials should lead the Malacañang contingent that “will address, with immediate aid, and not just Powerpoint presentations, the grievance of farmers.”

“For signalling purposes, that’s the best response. Two Cabinet heads holding office there, on the ground, to address the concerns. Dinky and Procy are excellent troubleshooters. Both have good rapport with the grassroots,” he said.

Recto was referring to DSWD Secretary Dinky Soliman and DA Secretary Proceso Alcala. “Sila ‘yung pwedeng umayos ng problema sa baba kasi hindi police or military solution ang kailangan, ngunit tulong at kalinga.”

Recto also called on Malacañang to release part of the P39 billion of this year’s Calamity Fund “for food assistance, cash-for-work projects, emergency employment, farm aid” for farms hit by El Niño.

“There is a calamity. The damage is obvious. Many local governments have placed their areas under an official state of calamity. These are enough to trigger the release of funds,” Recto said.

Condemnation grows

A high-ranking Church official is praying for the victims of the forceful dispersal of protesting farmers in Kidapawan, North Cotabato on Friday.


Archbishop Socrates Villegas.

“A death is always tragic, even more when violent death visits God’s poor. We pray for our farmers in Kidapawan. May those who died find peace and happiness in heaven,” said Archbishop Socrates Villegas, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).

With this, he is hoping that the families of the victims will not take the incident against the authorities but instead they should promote peace.

“May those who died find peace and happiness in heaven. May their families not give in to the cycle of vengeance but instead seek ways to restore peace. May the police and military return to their mandate to preserve peace, protect the weak and serve justice,” the Lingayen-Dagupan prelate added.

On the other hand, a church-based group criticized the action taken against the farmers, who blocked the Davao-Cotabato Highway demanding for government assistance to help confront the effects of drought in the area.

“We vehemently condemn the violent dispersal of peaceful assembly of farmers in Kidapawan by the government forces,” the Promotion of Church People’s Response (PCPR) said.



Liberal Party (LP) standard bearer Mar Roxas and running mate Leni Robredo condemned the violent incident.

Roxas, who is campaigning in General Santos City at the time of the incident, said the clash involving protesting farmers and police authorities is “alarming.”

“The first task of the day is to restore order to area and make sure that no clash happens again. The wounded on either side should be tended to,” he said.

“I call on the Philippine National Police (PNP) and other concerned agencies to investigate as to the true cause of the clash and, if warranted, punish those who may be accountable,” Roxas said.
Alvin Murcia


TRIBUNE

Palace calls Kidapawan protesters, backers liars Written by Gerry Baldo Monday, 04 April 2016 00:00


COLOMA

The Palace has called the protesting farmer groups liars in claiming that farmers have not received government assistance in the wake of the violent dispersal Kidapawan City of some 5,000 tillers who are seeking the release of state support to tide them over the dry spell that devastated farmlands in Mindanao.

The violent dispersal conducted by the police force along the Cotabato-Davao highway resulted in three deaths mostly from gunshot wounds among the protesters.

“We are getting very simplistic statements that claim what were asked were not given. Those are lies since a comprehensive and large-scale program was implemented by our government,” Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said on radio.

Coloma said the comprehensive program to cushion the impact of the El Niño phenomenon has been implemented by the national government since August 2015.

Under the 2016 budget, the government has allotted P19 billion in El Niño mitigation funds.

“At a Cabinet meeting, the President has directed the creation of a Cabinet task force to mitigate the damage that El Nino will bring,” Coloma added.

Coloma said under the task force, a Food Security Council has been formed to assure that there will be enough food while the National Water Resources Board has been assigned to assure the supply of water in every affected barangay.

”The government has been closely monitoring at all times the affected areas by El Nino. If you have not heard of crisis or any calamity that took place, it’s because of the prompt action of the government,” he said.

According to Coloma, the concerned government agencies have been implementing cloud seeding and have been distributing drought-resistant crops.

In fact, Coloma said the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has been tasked to implement cash-for-work program in affected regions, particularly Region 12, including North Cotabato and Kidapawan City.

“There are those engaged in deception who are saying that no action was taken by the government since starting August, 2015, the government had keenly monitored the El Niño situation so we have to bring out the truth about that,” he said.

READ MORE...

On the alleged violent dispersal of the protesters in Kidapawan City, Coloma said the government is already investigating the incident.

Despite appeals from the authorities to stop the mass action and discuss their demands, the protesters had been holding mass action for four days already before the incident happened on the Cotabato-Davao highway.

“We should understand the context of the incident. The local authorities led by the governor of North Cotabato have offered several times to hold a dialog but none of the invited showed up,” Coloma claimed.

Coloma said they received reports that somebody had mobilized the mass action.

He advised the public to be rational in giving their opinions on what happened in the Kidapawan mass action.

Disappearing president returns



The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) lashed back at the Palace citing the deafening silence of President Aquino on the Kidapawan massacre that occured last Friday.

KMP national chairman Rafael Mariano also lambasted Aquino’s mouthpiece, Manuel Quezon III’s ignorance on the direct relation between the government’s unparalleled incompetence and criminal negligence to address the prolonged drought and his counter-insurgency scheme Oplan Bayanihan (OPB.)

Mariano said “Aquino’s continuing silence and the lines mouthed by his numerous mouthpiece betrays the President’s official position both on the issue of drought and the Kidapawan massacre.”

“Aquino’s deafening silence shows that he is used to violent dispersals and massacres as a habitual practice of the landlord President in dismissing farmers’ just, legitimate, and moral demands,” Mariano said.


WIKIPEDIA PHOTO: NOYNOYING -A play on the term planking and Aquino's nickname, "Noynoy", Noynoying involves posing in a lazy manner, such as sitting idly while resting their heads on one hand and doing nothing. The Office of the President of the Philippines released a series of photographs, including this one, that showed President Benigno Aquino III at work. The Office denied these were published to counter the Noynoying protests. FROM WIKIPEDIA.

KMP also slammed North Cotabato Governor Emmylou Talino Mendoza for harassing the United Methodist Church (UMC) in Kidapawan City and accusing Rev. Ciriaco Francisco of harboring “illegal protesters.”

This charge has already raised a howl among UMC members as well as leaders of other Protestant denominations.

Worse, Mariano said, “Aquino and his bunch of spokesmen are now justifying and covering up the Kidapawan massacre through their blame-the-victim template and by spreading blatant lies that the protest is illegal and the protesters are infiltrated by outsiders and communists.”

This, he stressed, was also the standard line of the dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr., father and namesake of Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., who is running for vice president, to explain the brutal dispersals of demonstrations and pickets before and during martial law from 1972 to 1986.

KMP and other groups also dismissed as fairy tale the claim by the police that the fatalities were armed and fired at the heavily-armed policemen and soldiers.

This “massacre me” scenario is a direct throwback to the Marcos regime and proves that the police are fabricating evidence to suit their “blame the victim” ploy, the group added.

In a report, regional police spokesman Supt. Romeo Galgo claimed the policemen were just trying to “defend themselves” after some protesters threw rocks at them and some even fired shots.

Purportedly, they fired after Senior Police Officer 2 (SPO2) Ric Untalan of the M’lang municipal police station was shot.
A search conducted by the police at the Spottswood United Methodist Church (UMC), where 5,000 farmers sought sanctuary and where Mendoza and the PNP believe firearms were stashed, did not yield even a toy gun.

However, Makabayan senatorial candidate and Bayan Muna Rep. Neri J. Colmenares said the police could manufacture evidence to charge the victims themselves as well as Rev. Francisco of Spottswood UMC who played Good Samaritan to the bloodied and hunted farmers with a variety of criminal cases.

Mariano also blasted North Cotabato Governor Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza’s statement blaming KMP and other progressive groups for the barricade.

Mendoza also threatened to file criminal charges against the organizers of the barricade, insisting that what they did was economic sabotage.

However, it was Mendoza’s offer of three kilos every three months to the starving farmers that caused an uproar, which the provincial government tried to staunch by ordering that the barricade be dismantled.


HIGHWAY HUMAN BARRICADE

“We would like to remind Mendoza that it is her responsibility to address the increasing drought and intensifying hunger in North Cotabato,” the KMP leader explained.

“It was Taliño-Mendoza’s failure and Aquino’s criminal negligence that pushed farmers to collectively assert their right to food. The farmers’ action was not a simple airing of grievance, it was a just and legitimate people’s action seeking direct and concrete response from the government,” Mariano argued.

The KMP cited that since January 2016, at least 50,000 hectares of rice and corn farms in North Cotabato had been wasted by rising temperatures, with more than 25,000 farmers losing their only source of income.

Agricultural losses have reached P1-billion due to drought affecting the towns of Alamada, Pigcawayan, Kabacan, Matalam, Aleosan, Mlang, Magpet, Pikit, Tulunan, Carmen and Kidapawan.

“The drought did not only start in January 2016. It has been dragging on for more than a year now and both the national and the provincial governments are doing nothing to address the drought and hunger crisis in the province,” Mariano stressed.

“Aquino, Taliño-Mendoza, the corrupt DA secretary Alcala, the police and military are all in chorus in repeating the same old rotten line used by no less than then Tarlac Rep. Benigno Simeon Aquino III during the Hacienda Luisita Massacre,” Mariano said recalling that Aquino then called the 2004 Hacienda Luisita farm workers’ strike as illegal.

Communications Undersecretary Quezon in a news conference on Saturday said that the slogan written on the protesters’ shields were not even related to the plight of drought-stricken farmers asking for assistance.



“Harassment of farmers and militarization of communities under OPB are precisely the Aquino government’s response to the prolonged drought suffered by farmers. Instead of addressing the drought by extending support to farmers, the landlord government that Quezon serves responded with fascist measures to silence the farmers,” said Mariano.

“In fact, for Quezon’s education, the Kidapawan carnage is the culmination of OPB’s implementation against farmers suffering from drought,” the peasant leader noted.

The KMP will also mark April 8 as “Black Friday” and called on farmers nationwide to launch “sympathy barricades and protests nationwide” to condemn the brutal and shameless massacre in Kidapawan perpetrated by the Aquino government.

“The landlord President consciously denies farmers of their right and just demand for land, food, and justice. We call on the Filipino peasantry to rise up and intensify protest against the incompetent and callous Aquino government,” Mariano said.

Incompetence, callousness hit



The Promotion of Church People’s Response (PCPR) condemned the brutal dispersal of protesting farmers in Kidanawan City, saying that “when the hunger of the poor brings violent responses from those in leadership, these leaders are not fit to govern.”

“Rather than showing compassion and responding mercifully to their cry for help, ruthless elected officials and their state forces answered these poor citizens with callous disdain and brazen violence,” PCPR co-chairman Rev. Marie Sol Villalon said in a statement sent to CBCPNews.

Suffering from months of drought due to El Niño, poor farmers, who had been requesting government aid to no avail, had planned to journey together with lumad organizations to the city to make their cry for government assistance known.

Villalon said the nation faces a severe moral crisis as the “cries of the people for food have been answered with hurled stones and life-destroying bullets.”

According to him, the barricade at the Cotabato-Davao national highway “only punctuates the extreme need of the communities represented by 5,000 farmers, lumad, and supporters who had gathered.”

Villalon stressed the need for a government that responds to the needs of communities, respecting their efforts to make their “dire situations known.”

“The poor should be encouraged to advocate for their communities and to organize for the betterment of their lives. As they have lived for decades with inadequate access to basic needs and services, drought conditions are literally unbearable,” he stressed.
Pat C. Santos


NETIZENSPH.COM

Duterte says blood of farmers killed in Kidapawan City is on Pres. Aquino’s hand shaina / April 2, 2016 / Local News, Trending Stories 2 Share Tweet Share Pin Mail Share


Presidential candidates blasted the government for the tragic incident in Kidapawan City Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte called the dispersal of the protesting farmers’ picket lines “barbaric” Senator Miriam Santiago said the tragic incident was downright inhuman Presidential candidate Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte said the blood of the farmers killed in the violent dispersal of their picket lines in Kidapawan City on April 1 was on President Benigno Aquino III’s hands.

Duterte said the president cannot escape responsibility and blame for the “barbaric” incident. He accused the Aquino administration of being “impervious to the suffering of the people.”

“It all the more becomes more tragic and despicable that the same bloodline that benefited from the EDSA 1986 revolt have soiled their hands with the blood and tears of the Filipino people that allowed them into power,” CNN Philippines quoted the mayor as saying.

The feisty mayor, however, called for sobriety on both sides to prevent fuelling more animosity between the protesters and the government.

Those involved in the shooting should immediately be disarmed and investigated, the mayor said as he urged the Commission on Human Rights to help the victims.

Another presidential candidate, Senator Miriam Santiago, also blamed the government for the tragic incident.

She said the government should be held accountable for the violent dispersal which she called as “downright inhuman.”

“It is vile enough that this administration has failed to support the farmers and lumads of Kidapawan during the prolonged drought in Mindanao. But it is downright inhuman for them to shoot at the same people begging for help,” Senator Santiago said.

Presidential race front runner Senator Grace Poe said the tragedy should not have happened if only the concerned government agencies attended to the matter at the start.

The farmers have been asking the government for food aid for several months now to mitigate the hunger besetting their communities as a result of the El Niño climate phenomenon that started since November last year.


INQUIRER

Poe camp: Naia-3 power outage a national embarrassment By: Aries Joseph Hegina @AHeginaINQ INQUIRER.net 04:04 PM April 3rd, 2016


The bag carousel area at the NAIA Terminal 3 is enveloped in darkness in this photo taken at 12 am, Sunday, April 3, 2016. Only one carousel is working. PHOTO BY ‪@sheenapedrieta THROUGH MIGUEL CAMUS / INQUIRER BUSINESS

The camp of leading presidential candidate Senator Grace Poe described the five-hour power outage at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) Terminal 3 from Saturday to early Sunday morning as “another embarrassment” for the country.

Poe’s spokesperson Valenzuela City Mayor Rex Gatchalian said that the power outage at the said terminal highlights the supposed incompetence of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) led by Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya.

“The five-hour power outage last night in NAIA 3 is once again another embarrassment for the country. The power outage clearly manifests the incompetence in the airport authority and DOTC, airport facilities management. Our people deserve better,” Gatchalian said in a statement on Sunday.

He said that the power outage is another entry to the list of issues plaguing the country’s transportation sector such as flight delays due to runway congestion, bullet planting, and ill-maintained terminal infrastructure.

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Gatchalian said that their camp is asking the transportation department and airport officials to “shape up.”

READ: Power restored at Naia-3 after 5-hour outage

“The Filipino flying public’s taxes and airport fees must be put to good use to avoid such incidents from happening again. Sen. Poe is calling on DOTC and airport officials to shape up and deliver the services our people deserve,” he said.

According to the Manila International Airport Authority (Miaa), a Meralco substation tripped and caused the power outage which began at 8:45 p.m. on Saturday. Full power was supposedly restored at 2:00 a.m.

Cebu Pacific has cancelled 80 flights during and after the power outage. JE

READ: Cebu Pacific: 80 flights cancelled due to Naia3 power outage


INQUIRER

NOY WAS IN BASILAN LAUNCHING BRIDGE - Basilan folk finally get their dream highway By: Nikko Dizon @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 03:26 AM April 3rd, 2016


THREE FOR THE ROAD President Aquino motors to Basilan with PublicWorks Secretary Rogelio Singson (left) and ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman (second from left), for the inauguration of the Basilan Circumferential Road in Barangay Tumahubong, Sumisip, onMarch 21. MALACAÑANG PHOTO

IF Manilans complain about daily gridlock on Edsa, residents of Basilan, almost 1,500 kilometers to the south, are thankful for getting a simple, concrete road, something many people in the capital take for granted.

When the Basilan Circumferential Road was finally completed in December last year, the fear and insecurity the locals had endured for decades vanished.

Its symbolism and significance are not lost on the people of the strife-torn province: the road stands for peace and development.

It has cut travel time from the provincial capital, Isabela City, to Sumisip from eight hours to 45 minutes, allowed the transportation of goods and the establishment of businesses, and, most important, it serves as a deterrent to extremism and violence.

The road starts from Isabela and traverses Lamitan City and the municipalities of Al-Barka, Tipo-Tipo, Ungkaya Pukan, Sumisip, Maluso, Lantawan, and ends back in the capital.

Violent incidents

These are areas that have become synonymous to unforgettable violence: the Lamitan siege in 2001 where Abu Sayyaf fighters held hostage hospital staff and American missionary couple Grace and Martin Burnham; the beheading in Al-Barka in July 2007 of Marine troops who clashed with Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) guerrillas while searching for kidnapped Italian priest Giancarlo Bossi; a nine-hour gun battle as government forces tried to take over an Abu Sayyaf camp in Ungkaya Pukan that left 19 Marines dead in August 2007; and the clash between the MILF and Army Special Forces in Al-Barka in 2011.

Basilan is the hometown of Abu Sayyaf ideologues Isnilon Hapilon and Khadaffy Janjalani, and has long been a stronghold of the group that was once considered the most potent terrorist organization in the country.

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With such a background, it is easy to see why it took 16 years to complete the 138-km circumferential road.

The project had to be guarded 24/7 that the withdrawal of the military for combat operations meant a halt in construction, leaving the road muddy, bumpy and unsafe, as workers and their equipment became vulnerable to harassment by lawless elements.

Changes

To hear the people of Basilan speak with excitement about what to city folk is an ordinary thing is perhaps the most significant change the road has brought to the island since the project was completed.

Ibrahim Hadji Sali Ballaho, the 35-year-old head of Barangay Balas in Lamitan, proudly spoke about 30 tricycles now going around his village when the place used to have only two jeepneys.

“We now also have nice facilities such as a barangay hall, a covered court, children’s playground, a public market, a fish port, and many others,” Ballaho said.

Fruits from Isabela are now available in markets in Sumisip because of the faster and easier travel, said Isnira Mannan of Buli-Buli, Sumisip.

It was a far cry from the six to eight hours she used to spend in traveling from Sumisip to Isabela, where she went to college.

“Now with the Basilan Circumferential Road, it only takes 45 minutes whether on a jeepney, a van or a motorcycle,” she said.

Mannan is relieved that since the completion of the road, more armed men have left her hometown—armed men who used to kidnap teachers like her.

Rubber-tree farmer Aslan Dansalan, 50, said after the road had been completed, he and his colleagues from the Tipo-Tipo Agrarian Reform Beneficiary Agricultural Development Cooperative (Tarbadeco) could now easily and regularly deliver their products.

Now, too, they no longer waste time repairing their trucks, which in the past broke down due to the rough ride on the rutted road, especially during the rainy season.

The new road also allowed farmers and traders to take the bigger vessels going to Zamboanga City instead of making do with the rickety pump boats called timpil, because they can now reach the port in Isabela faster, Dansalan said.

In the past, it took residents of Tipo-Tipo, Dansalan’s hometown, two hours to go to Isabela. Now it takes them only 30 to 50 minutes.

Dansalan said his town now had an ambulance and it could actually run emergencies on the new road.

“It used to be difficult to transfer emergency cases, like mothers giving birth, because of the long travel (from Tipo-Tipo to Isabela City where there is a hospital),” he said.

P-Noy at inauguration

Ballaho, Manna and Dansalan spoke about the road on its inauguration on March 21, with President Aquino joining the event held in Barangay Tumahubong in Sumisip.

READ: Aquino inaugurates 138-km road in Basilan despite 2 blasts

Mr. Aquino was the first President to visit Tumahubong, one of the most dangerous villages in Basilan.

The night before the President’s visit, two blasts rocked Sumisip, and a homemade bomb was detonated on a roadside.

Despite the incidents, Mr. Aquino insisted on going to the inauguration of the road, which had to be held under heavy security.

“I would be there for only a few hours while the people who live there have been facing (uncertainty) all their lives,” the President explained.

The new road “could spell the difference in those people’s lives,” he said.

The difficulty posed by the absence of a passable road made it easy for terrorists and other criminals to thrive and play cat and mouse with security forces.

“Because we did not have a decent road, we were consumed by fear,” Ballaho said.

Frequent firefights kept people inside their homes. Starting a business, a normal activity in other parts of the country, was unimaginable in Basilan.

“Life was difficult … and people felt forgotten by the government. No one else wanted to care for us. We didn’t feel real service from the government,” Ballaho said.

This was the reason, he said, why many residents felt hopeless. Disheartened and dejected, they joined rebel groups.

But with a functional road, trade and commerce are now possible and people can actually move around, busy going about their daily activities.

The military hopes the road will be instrumental in keeping the guns silent in Basilan.

Ranking military officials credit the completion of the road to the tenacity of Mujiv Hataman, governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), who is a native of Sumisip.

They said Hataman worked well with the military and worked hard at negotiating with armed groups whenever they tried to harass the road project.

Return to Basilan

One officer said the completion of the circumferential road could encourage Basilan residents who had migrated to other places to return to their province and “contribute” to its growth.

According to a Malacañang brief, only a 61.77-km stretch, or 47 percent, of the road was concrete and in good condition when the Aquino administration began to work on it in January 2012.

“Traversing the road was inconvenient, time consuming and prone to accidents, as some sections were rocky, muddy and slippery and impassable during the rainy season. Some [portions of the road] were also dangerous to take, as lawless elements engage in highway robbery, ambush and [vehicle theft]. Transport service was also scarce and expensive,” the brief said.

The Aquino administration spent P1.83 billion for the concreting of 51.56 km of the road’s unpaved sections. Some old parts of the road were also rehabilitated.

Basilan’s 450,000 residents now benefit from the road—residents like Ballaho who said that with the completion of the road, “there’s no more fear in our hearts.” TVJ

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FLASHBACK FROM THE INQUIRER (DECEMBER 2015)

Aquino vows fruitful last months of term By: Nikko Dizon @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer
05:10 AM December 30th, 2015


President Benigno Aquino lll. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO/JOAN BONDOC

President Benigno Aquino III on Tuesday vowed to continue working “faithfully” for the nation in his last six months in office, as he joined fellow Filipinos in bidding farewell to a “historic 2015.”

In his New Year message, the President said the possibility the “daang matuwid” (straight path) roadmap would “catapult us to First World status and make us a $1-trillion economy by the year 2030… encourages me and the rest of government to faithfully pursue our tasks in the last six months of my administration.”

“The same thought should guide us as we choose our leaders this coming election: to maintain the upward trajectory of our growth and keep our nation on the daang matuwid,” he said.

“As long as we bear in our hearts and minds the welfare of our people, we will realize our inherent greatness and usher in a Philippines that we can proudly bequeath to the coming generations,” the President added.

Mr. Aquino described 2015 as “historic” for the country’s “soaring economy, robust democracy and magnified presence on the global stage.”

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He said all these “not only promise a great start to the coming year but also highlight the Philippines’ ongoing narrative of resurgence under the daang matuwid.”

“As I reflect on the developments of our country this past year and those that came before it, I am filled with pride by how far we have come since we began our journey in 2010. Just a little more than five years ago, we faced a future full of despair and uncertainty; reports of plunder, mismanagement and corruption dominated our headlines. Today, progress, opportunity and growth fill the news about the Philippines both here and abroad,” he said.

“All these we achieved because of our collective resolve to follow the straight and righteous path—a path that transformed damaged public agencies into stronger, more transparent and responsive institutions; turned a demoralized government workforce into dedicated civil servants; galvanized an apathetic populace into active, empowered nation-builders, and reinvigorated a sluggish business sector into a major driver of economic growth,” the President said.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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