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NETIZENS: AQUINO MUM ON VIOLENT KIDAPAWAN DISPERSAL


APRIL 4 -A Palace official said President Aquino will not make any statements about the violent dispersal of farmers in Kidapawan City until the ongoing probe is concluded. President Aquino is mum on the bloody Kidapawan dispersal of farmers Presidential Communications Undersecretary Manuel Quezon III says the president will issue statements after the ongoing probe is concluded.
Sanlakas, a multi-sectoral group, blamed the Aquino administration for what transpired in Kidapawan The public has condemned the violent dispersal of farmers in Kidapawan City that resulted to several deaths, but President Benigno Aquino III is still silent regarding the incident. A Palace official said President Aquino will not make any statements about the violent dispersal of farmers in Kidapawan City until the ongoing probe is concluded. Presidential Communications Undersecretary Manuel Quezon III said the president will likely speak after he gets the result of the investigation. Quezon told Manila Times that President Aquino will make statements once he fully studied the matter. “What he has never done is rush to judgment and to speak imprudently, particularly in an instance when lives are lost. I do believe the president will refrain from making any statements until he has fully studied the matter and is given and is satisfied with all the answers that he has received as a result of demanding an impartial and thorough investigation,” Quezon said. READ MORE...RELATED, UPDATE, Aquino unaware of Kidapawan killings...

ALSO: Legarda - Why doesn’t gov’t ‘awash with cash’ give funds to farmers?


APRIL 5 -Sen. Loren Legarda. File photo from Office of Sen. Loren Legarda
If they have a government “awash with cash,” why do farmers have to go hungry and get killed while demanding help?
An infuriated Senator Loren Legarda on Thursday reprimanded government agencies in charge of El Niño mitigation efforts for dragging their feet on bringing critical help to farmers enduring the dry spell in North Cotabato, frustrated that it took the Kidapawan City deaths to bring attention to the destabilizing impact of climate change. Legarda, chair of the Senate committees on finance and climate change, gave several officials a dressing down for failing to bring timely interventions to farmers while several billions in funds were available to help mitigate the effects of the long-anticipated dry spell. “Here is a clear example of how climate change negatively impacts on agriculture and actually causes loss of lives. [This is] what we’ve been saying 20 years ago. It is so graphic and unfortunate that it took the Kidapawan clash for people to talk about climate justice,” said Legarda. READ: Cops, farmers clash in Kidapawan; 2 dead “You are awash with cash. Why don’t you give it to the people who need it the most? Why is it not being spent?,” an incensed Legarda told the panel of officials across from her. “Ang bagal bagal ng gobyerno… ‘Di pwedeng mabagal tayong lahat (The government is so slow. We can’t all be that slow),” said Legarda in an imploring tone. The senator estimated that nearly P50 billion in funds were available to address the disastrous effects of El Niño, combining available savings and quick response funds (QRF) of the Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) from last year to the current budget. This includes government’s DRR fund of P43 billion for 2016 and P5 billion in savings from 2015; DA’s P496.6 million in QRF for 2016 and a balance of P11.9 million from 2015, and the DSWD’s P1.6 billion QRF for this year and the remaining P703.6 million in savings from last year. READ: 6,000 North Cotabato farmers block highway, demand food, farm aid; cops blame activists “You have not rolled out (projects), and meanwhile, people are getting killed. Where are these billions from 2015 and 2016?,” said Legarda, at one point tapping the table to get her point across. Breaking the Senate recess, Legarda called for the urgent finance committee meeting among agency officials present on Thursday in the wake of the violent dispersal of protesting farmers in Kidapawan City last April 1, where three people died and scores of others were wounded. READ MORE...RELATED, ​​One week after: Gov’t full blast in making lies on Kidapawan deaths...

ALSO: Malacañang official claims misinformation led to Kidapawan rally


APRIL 3 -A palace official on Sunday said that several groups from outside Kidapawan City could have been involved in the rally there and that some of the farmers at the rally may have attended base don wrong information. Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said that the paraphernalia of protesters showed that they are from other areas and represent various organizations. He added that their placards bore issues irrelevant to El Niño. “Ang isa pang mahalagang napag-alaman natin hinggil dito, ay iyong pagkasangkot ng maraming pangkat – maraming mga lumahok diyan – na hindi naman galing mismo doon sa lugar na iyon. Ibig sabihin ay mayroong nagmobilisa sa kanila galing pa sa mga malalayong lugar; at nakita naman doon sa kanilang mga paraphernalia, iyong mga placards, iyong mga kagamitan nila, kung anu-anong mga organisasyon ang kanilang kinakatawan. At makikita din doon sa kanilang mga slogan na binabandila doon sa pagkilos nila na napakalayo sa El Niño iyong mga isinisigaw nilang mga adbokasiya at wala namang kinalaman doon sa usaping dapat ay tinatalakay doon,” Coloma reported. “ Kaya hindi lang iilan ang nagtatanong na kung bakit ganiyan ang napansin diyan at baka maaaring ginagamit ng mga nais magsamantala sa sitwasyon ang okasyong ito upang lumikha lamang ng propaganda at upang linlangin ang ating mga mamamayan. Tamang-tamang naganap din ito sa kasagsagan ng kampanyang pang-eleksiyon,” he added. Coloma also claimed that misinformation may also have led to the rally. He said that Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala informed them that there is a possibility that the farmers were made to believe that rice would be distributed at the rally. He said the Department of Social Welfare and Development also conducted a stress debriefing and asked parties involved for their firsthand account of the Kidapawan incident. READ MORE...RELATED, Press Release April 8, 2016 Legarda: Utilize Funds for El Niño Now...

ALSO: We spent P3.65B to help farmers battle drought, says DA


APRIL 5 -Emerson U. Palad Undersecretary & National Project Director Department ...THE DEPARTMENT of Agriculture (DA) has done its part in mitigating the effects of a strong El Niño on Mindanao’s farmers, which was basically supporting food production rather than distribution. Undersecretary Emerson U. Palad said in a briefing on Monday the DA has poured some P3.65 billion to help farmers who are battling dry conditions across the nation. Palad was reacting to questions about whether the DA could have done all for El Niño-affected farmers, especially following a bloody dispersal of a protest in North Cotabato province which left three dead. “These (support for farmers) include production support (inputs), irrigation augmentation, cloud-seeding operations, shallow-tube wells, etc.” said Palad, who is agriculture undersecretary for operations. As for North Cotabato, he said Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala himself was in the province in February and March, personally seeing to the distribution of DA’s support. Palad said the DA mandate was limited to production interventions and not the distribution of food. “We support the production of rice; but we do not give away milled rice,” he said. Palad fell short of saying that closer assistance to farmers was expected of local governments since such functions have been devolved, but he said he “refrains from commenting” on details related to the farmers barricade and the violent dispersal. Alcala was in Carmen town last March 16 to lead P5.8 million worth of farm goods including P3.7 million worth of certified rice seeds for members of 16 irrigators associations in the Malitubog-Maridagao area of North Cotabato. Other aid packages included corn seeds, urea fertilizer, garden tools with vegetable seeds, fruit tree seedlings, livestock and poultry, knapsack sprayers, among others. FULL REPORT. RELATED, Cayetano: Gov't lying on Kidapawan and El Niño...

ALSO: ON NAIA OUTAGE - Noy tells Abaya - "No more NAIA blackouts"


APRIL 5 -NAIA BLACKOUT---GMA NEWS PHOTO The five-hour power outage at the NAIA Terminal 3 forced the cancellation of 82 domestic flights and delays in four international flights. There should be no repeat of the power outage that crippled the country’s premier international airport for five hours over the weekend, President Aquino told the airport manager and the transport chief yesterday. “The President has directed Secretary Abaya and airport general manager Honrado to adopt contingency measures to prevent the recurrence of the power outage that disrupted operations at NAIA-3 over the weekend,” Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said. He was referring to Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya and Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) general manager Angel Honrado. At the same time, airport authorities were also “instructed to maintain vigilance so that the safety of travelers will be assured continuously,” Coloma said. Abaya and Honrado were summoned to a meeting at Malacañang yesterday afternoon. The MIAA said a Manila Electric Co (Meralco) substation tripped, causing the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 to lose power. READ MORE...RELATED,

ALSO: EDITORIAL - 'WAY TO GO'


APRIL 5 -THE PRESIDENT IS BUSY...A portion of the country’s highest mountain is on fire, there is a blackout at the airport, and the President is conspicuously silent about human rights atrocities by policemen who fired on hapless farmers in North Cotabato. These just about sum up, not the last few weeks of the administration, but the entire past six years under President Benigno Aquino III.
The fire on the Davao del Sur side of Mt. Apo has engulfed more than 300 hectares of forest and grassland starting March 26. The Palace said national agencies and local governments are working in tandem to put out the fire, but it rages, still. Over the weekend, at least 78 flights were canceled after a power outage at Terminal 3 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Saturday night to Sunday morning, causing thousands to be stranded. If we go by Mr. Aquino’s record in protecting and even defending his criminally incompetent Transportation secretary and his equally bumbling relative, the airport manager, it would be safe to assume nobody will be made to account for the losses and other inconveniences suffered by the public as a result of these cancellations. And now we learn that the police had used inordinate violence in dispersing a legitimate protest—farmers, ironically, asking that they be given rice because their families had been starving as a result of the drought. No less than the regional human rights commission official said that the farmers had been on their knees, begging for their life, and yet the cops shot anyway. Three died; many were injured. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

President Aquino mum on violent Kidapawan dispersal


AQUINO SPOKESMAN NONONG QUEZON

MaMANILA, APRIL 11, 2016 (NETIZENSPH.COM) Pshaina / April 4, 2016 - President Aquino is mum on the bloody Kidapawan dispersal of farmers Presidential Communications Undersecretary Manuel Quezon III says the president will issue statements after the ongoing probe is concluded.

Sanlakas, a multi-sectoral group, blamed the Aquino administration for what transpired in Kidapawan The public has condemned the violent dispersal of farmers in Kidapawan City that resulted to several deaths, but President Benigno Aquino III is still silent regarding the incident.

A Palace official said President Aquino will not make any statements about the violent dispersal of farmers in Kidapawan City until the ongoing probe is concluded.

Presidential Communications Undersecretary Manuel Quezon III said the president will likely speak after he gets the result of the investigation.

Quezon told Manila Times that President Aquino will make statements once he fully studied the matter.

“What he has never done is rush to judgment and to speak imprudently, particularly in an instance when lives are lost. I do believe the president will refrain from making any statements until he has fully studied the matter and is given and is satisfied with all the answers that he has received as a result of demanding an impartial and thorough investigation,” Quezon said.

READ MORE...

Quezon said the president ordered a thorough and impartial probe.

“He has never been one to back down from demanding and insisting, requiring a thorough, impartial investigation.. What he has never done is rush to judgment and speak imprudently, particularly in an instance when lives are lost,” the presidential communications undersecretary said.

Meanwhile, multi-sectoral coalition Sanlakas blamed the Aquino administration for what happened in Kidapawan City.

“The President and national government officials are washing their hands and pinning the blame on the local government. It is the responsibility of government at all levels – but the national government especially – to address the impacts of El Nino and the state of climate-induced calamity,” Lidy Nacpil, Sanlakas chairperson, said.

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RELATEDE FROM THE MANILA TIMES

Aquino unaware of Kidapawan killings April 9, 2016 10:11 pm by CATHERINE S. VALENTE, REPORTER

President Benigno Aquino 3rd finally broke his silence on the violent dispersal of protesting farmers in Kidapawan City, admitting that he was unaware of the events that transpired on April 1.

In his speech during an administration campaign rally in Makati City Friday night, Aquino said he was not immediately informed about the tragedy. He said he learned of the incident in the afternoon of April 1.

Aquino was in Cavite for the turnover of a newly-built school building and a Liberal Party campaign rally.

“Pauwi kami pabalik ng Maynila, nabanggit ni DILG Secretary Mel Sarmiento na kinabukasan tutungo siya sa Kidapawan at ako naman po’y nagtanong: anong gagawin mo sa Kidapawan? [We were on our way back to Manila, DILG Secretary Mel Sarmieno mentioned that he is going to Kidapawan and I asked: what will you do in Kidapawan?],” Aquino said.

“Sa totoo lang po, doon ko lang narinig sa unang pagkakataon na mayroon palang nangharang ng highway sa Kidapawan at nagkaroon ng isang violent dispersal [In truth, that was the first time I heard that some people have blocked the highway in Kidapawan and that a violent dispersal occurred],” he added.

The President explained that he wanted to resolve the issues surrounding the Kidapawan incident and immediately sought a meeting with concerned officials on the weekend immediately following April 1.

However, that meeting was pushed back to Monday, April 4, since officials were not yet ready to give their briefing.

Three farmers were killed during the clashes and about 200 people were injured.

The protesters, mostly farmers, demanded relief and subsidy for communities that are suffering the brunt of a persisting dry spell in North Cotabato.

Responding to the clamor to address the plight of farmers in drought-hit provinces, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has released some P1.2 billion in aid almost a week after the Kidapawan incident.

In a statement, the DSWD field office in Region XII said that it has released food packs, hygiene kits, and funds to implement the cash-for-work program under the Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation (CCAM) and quick response funds of the department, amounting to P1.2 billion.

The DSWD noted that aid package was not only released to the local government units (LGU) in some parts of Mindanao, but also to the LGUs in Metro Manila, Regions I, II, III, IV-A, IV-B, VI, VII, X, XI, XII, and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao that have been affected by the El Nino phenomenon.

In the case of North Cotabato, the DSWD said its field office Regional Director Bai ZorahaydaTaha has met with Gov. Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza and Kidapawan City Mayor Joseph Evangelista “to identify areas of collaboration.”

Taha, Mendoza, and Evangelista agreed to extend food assistance to 150,000 families in the province by releasing 15,000 bags of rice from the National Food Authority.

Each family will receive five kilos of rice for the month of April, according to the department.

4 Responses to Aquino unaware of Kidapawan killings
Guadalupe says:
April 10, 2016 at 3:03 am
Wow! The Chief Executive of a country does not know what is happening inside his country and learns it only from a subordinate who obviously knows more. So he is not on top of everything happening! Something is definitely wrong with his intelligence dept. What kind of a president do we have? Oooops, I know I should not have asked.
Reply
Abnoyski says:
April 9, 2016 at 11:40 pm
Look at this idiot president, look at this…can you guys believe that? Can you believe this president’s inaction and unawareness, grabeeeeeeee! Tatanga-tanga! O sinungaling! Siya lang ang tanging tao na walang alam during that time, na may nangyayari sa Kidapwan. Of all people sa Pinas, siya lang ang isolated ang pag-iisip, manang-mana sa ina, asusssss!
Yan ba ang dapat ituloy na daan? Ano kayo suwerte o sinusuwerte?
Reply
Gem says:
April 9, 2016 at 11:36 pm
Tulad din yan sa SAF 44. Lumang tugtugin na yan. Style Bulok! Marami ng pangyayari sa atin mga mangingisda sa Scarborough Shoal pero wala kang marinig sa kanya. Very poor Leadership! No sense of Responsibility!
Reply
Mark Torres says:
April 9, 2016 at 10:30 pm
Grabe! Talagang bobong presidente si BS Aquino.
Reply


INQUIRER

Legarda: Why doesn’t gov’t ‘awash with cash’ give funds to farmers? By: Tarra Quismundo
@TarraINQ Philippine Daily Inquirer 05:49 PM April 8th, 2016


Sen. Loren Legarda. File photo from Office of Sen. Loren Legarda

If they have a government “awash with cash,” why do farmers have to go hungry and get killed while demanding help?

An infuriated Senator Loren Legarda on Thursday reprimanded government agencies in charge of El Niño mitigation efforts for dragging their feet on bringing critical help to farmers enduring the dry spell in North Cotabato, frustrated that it took the Kidapawan City deaths to bring attention to the destabilizing impact of climate change.

Legarda, chair of the Senate committees on finance and climate change, gave several officials a dressing down for failing to bring timely interventions to farmers while several billions in funds were available to help mitigate the effects of the long-anticipated dry spell.

“Here is a clear example of how climate change negatively impacts on agriculture and actually causes loss of lives. [This is] what we’ve been saying 20 years ago. It is so graphic and unfortunate that it took the Kidapawan clash for people to talk about climate justice,” said Legarda.

READ: Cops, farmers clash in Kidapawan; 2 dead

“You are awash with cash. Why don’t you give it to the people who need it the most? Why is it not being spent?,” an incensed Legarda told the panel of officials across from her.

“Ang bagal bagal ng gobyerno… ‘Di pwedeng mabagal tayong lahat (The government is so slow. We can’t all be that slow),” said Legarda in an imploring tone.

The senator estimated that nearly P50 billion in funds were available to address the disastrous effects of El Niño, combining available savings and quick response funds (QRF) of the Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) from last year to the current budget.

This includes government’s DRR fund of P43 billion for 2016 and P5 billion in savings from 2015; DA’s P496.6 million in QRF for 2016 and a balance of P11.9 million from 2015, and the DSWD’s P1.6 billion QRF for this year and the remaining P703.6 million in savings from last year.

READ: 6,000 North Cotabato farmers block highway, demand food, farm aid; cops blame activists

“You have not rolled out (projects), and meanwhile, people are getting killed. Where are these billions from 2015 and 2016?,” said Legarda, at one point tapping the table to get her point across.

Breaking the Senate recess, Legarda called for the urgent finance committee meeting among agency officials present on Thursday in the wake of the violent dispersal of protesting farmers in Kidapawan City last April 1, where three people died and scores of others were wounded.

READ MORE...

Those in attendance were officials of the DA, DSWD, the Department of Budget and Management, the Department of Interior and Local Government, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the Climate Change Commission, the National Food Authority, the NDRRMC and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

It was “not a hearing,” she clarified, but a meeting that sought to find out why North Cotabato farmers had to take to the streets for government help when funds have long been available.

“That’s really deplorable. Only in this country do you shoot the hungry,” said Legarda, a longtime advocate of climate action.

She scored the myopic leadership stance of “imperial Manila, the imperial central government” for failing to bring help to farmers in far-flung communities when discussions about and preparations for the dry spell began as early as 2014.

“Bakit kayo tipid ng tipid eh ang laki ng pondong hiningi sa amin (Why do you keep on saving up when you asked us for huge funds)? I don’t see the point unless you did not know they needed it, which is impossible because we’ve been talking about it since 2014,” said Legarda.

NEDA Director General Emmanuel Esguerra, among those invited to Thursday’s meeting, said government’s assessment of its El Niño interventions was positive, given that there has been no shortage in food supply, food prices have remained stable and that there has been no outbreak of diseases despite limited water supply in certain areas.

“Government has been able to successfully mitigate the impact of El Niño…But despite these encouraging numbers, we recognize there could be areas feeling the heavier impact of El Niño,” said Esguerra.

“We are certainly bothered by reports that people go hungry when evidence dictates there is no food shortage. This could mean there are areas not reached by government intervention,” he conceded.

In response, Legarda said there is “a seeming maldistribution” of funds, a “clear disconnect” and wrong prioritization in government’s disbursement vis-a-vis the needs of those worst affected.

“We’re supposed to reach out, anticipate, teach them how to access [the funds], instead of waiting for people to go hungry and waiting for them to ask for help. That’s why there’s planning,” she said.

At the close of the hearing, Legarda got officials to make several commitments, including DA’s immediate release of its P11.9-million savings to help farmers amid the drought.

She also requested the agencies to work together to come up with a list of alternative sources of income that could be made available to farmers during times of drought.

“The government can offer climate-sensitive cash-for-work programs such as desilting of rivers, building of barangay (village) nurseries, building water catchment facilities, waste segregation, among others,” Legarda said.

She also asked the agencies to draw up a map showing the “underserved and unserved communities” to enable a more targeted delivery of funding.

Legarda also instructed the DA to draft an easy-to-understand memorandum on how farmers could access available QRF, for distribution to local offices across the country.

“We in government, we’re all about froufrou. We have to operationalize,” said Legarda, challenging the officials to step up.

“We have to roll [these projects] out. It can’t be all just promises,” she said. RAM

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RELATED FROM KMU PRESS RELEASE

Press Statement 08 April 2016

​​One week after: Gov’t full blast in making lies on Kidapawan deaths

One week after the shooting and killing of protesting farmers in Kidapawan City, North Cotabato, the Aquino government is going full blast in trying to pin the blame for the violence on the farmers themselves and their alleged leftist-communist-New People’s Army instigators.

Pres. Noynoy Aquino’s spokespersons Edwin Lacierda and Manuel L. Quezon III, presidentiable Mar Roxas’ spokesperson Ibarra Gutierrez, North Cotabato Gov. Emmylou Talino-Mendoza, officials of the Department of Interior and Local Government and of the Philippine National Police, and their allies from Akbayan are all mouthing the same line.

We are revolted by the lies being spread by the Aquino government regarding what happened in Kidapawan. The Aquino government is creating a mountain of lies in an attempt to cover up its accountability for the monumental crime of shooting, killing, wounding, and illegally arresting farmers who held a protest to ask for for rice to eat amidst the drought caused by El Niño.

The Aquino government is fabricating lies to try to justify the late sacking of chief of PNP-North Cotabato, the illegal detention of some 71 protestors, the refusal to distribute even a single sack of rice to the farmers, and the president’s continued silence on the issue. It is fabricating lies to try to absolve any government official from wrongdoing over the shooting and killing of protesting farmers.

We are calling on all Filipinos to reject the lies being ​​spread by the Aquino government. Let us not join the Aquino government in spitting on the grave of the dead and on the face of the survivors and all farmers and Filipinos. Hungry farmers ignored by the government for too long do not need instigators to hold protests. There is simply no reason to shoot and kill protesting farmers.

One week after the shooting and killing of farmers in Kidapawan, we reiterate our calls: Rice for farmers suffering from drought caused by El Niño! Release all illegally-detained protestors! Justice for the families, friends and relatives of the dead farmers! Hold Aquino, Mendoza, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala and others responsible for this crime! Struggle for enuine land reform!

One week after the shooting and killing of protesting farmers in Kidapawan City, the Filipino workers, farmers and people are blaming the Aquino government for what transpired. We are not buying the lies being peddled by a government that is so arrogant it thinks it can distort the truth with regard to this crime.

Reference: Elmer “Ka Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson, 0908-1636597​


PHILSTAR

Malacañang claims misinformation led to Kidapawan rally By Rosette Adel (philstar.com) | Updated April 3, 2016 - 6:41pm 32 1500 googleplus0 1


COLOMA

MANILA, Philippines – A palace official on Sunday said that several groups from outside Kidapawan City could have been involved in the rally there and that some of the farmers at the rally may have attended base don wrong information.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said that the paraphernalia of protesters showed that they are from other areas and represent various organizations. He added that their placards bore issues irrelevant to El Niño.

“Ang isa pang mahalagang napag-alaman natin hinggil dito, ay iyong pagkasangkot ng maraming pangkat – maraming mga lumahok diyan – na hindi naman galing mismo doon sa lugar na iyon. Ibig sabihin ay mayroong nagmobilisa sa kanila galing pa sa mga malalayong lugar; at nakita naman doon sa kanilang mga paraphernalia, iyong mga placards, iyong mga kagamitan nila, kung anu-anong mga organisasyon ang kanilang kinakatawan. At makikita din doon sa kanilang mga slogan na binabandila doon sa pagkilos nila na napakalayo sa El Niño iyong mga isinisigaw nilang mga adbokasiya at wala namang kinalaman doon sa usaping dapat ay tinatalakay doon,” Coloma reported.

“ Kaya hindi lang iilan ang nagtatanong na kung bakit ganiyan ang napansin diyan at baka maaaring ginagamit ng mga nais magsamantala sa sitwasyon ang okasyong ito upang lumikha lamang ng propaganda at upang linlangin ang ating mga mamamayan. Tamang-tamang naganap din ito sa kasagsagan ng kampanyang pang-eleksiyon,” he added.

Coloma also claimed that misinformation may also have led to the rally. He said that Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala informed them that there is a possibility that the farmers were made to believe that rice would be distributed at the rally.

He said the Department of Social Welfare and Development also conducted a stress debriefing and asked parties involved for their firsthand account of the Kidapawan incident.

READ MORE...

“Ito ay normal na ginagawa ng DSWD kapag mayroong kritikal o traumatic na insidenteng nagaganap, kinakausap iyong mga lumahok para makapagbigay sila ng kanilang aktuwal at first hand na karanasan hinggil doon sa mga naganap. At isa nga iyan doon sa mga nakalap natin na impormasyon na maaaring maraming mga lumahok doon ay binigyan ng mali at mapanlinlang na impormasyon,” Coloma said.

He said the governor of North Cotabato even asked for a dialogue with the protesters, however, they refused to attend.

While the administration awaits the result of a Commission on Human Rights probe into the incident, the palace official asked the public to look into the background and context of the Kidapawan dispersal first before they blame the government.

“Kailangang maunawaan ng ating mga kababayan na ito ay isang kaganapang hindi naman natin nais maganap at hindi rin dapat ito maging okasyon upang tayo ay linlangin at lokohin ng mga nais maghasik ng kasinungalingan,” Coloma said.

Coloma said the rally affected the industry and economy of Kidapawan City since the protest blocked the Cotabato-Davao Highway.

The Kidapawan City rally started on Wednesday when farmers demanded for government response to the hunger their community is facing amid drought. It led to a violent clash between protesters and police.

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FROM THE SENATE WEBSITE

Press Release April 8, 2016 Legarda: Utilize Funds for El Niño Now

Senator Loren Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committees on Finance and Climate Change, today said that the government must utilize available funds to mitigate and adapt to the El Niño phenomenon, stressing that this should have already been done since the government has been sufficiently warned by the state weather bureau since 2014.

Legarda made the statement in a Senate briefing on Friday, April 8, about how the government has disbursed and used public funds allocated for mitigation and adaptation to the impacts of El Niño phenomenon.

Agencies present were the Department of Agriculture (DA), National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Budget and Management (DBM), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Climate Change Commission (CCC), National Food Authority (NFA), and National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).

"We have the funds, but they are not being accessed. The NFA said there's no rice shortage, but people died asking for rice. We must not wait for our people to ask government for help because we have already been warned of the El Niño phenomenon since 2014. We must be proactive and anticipate our people's needs. That's why we have planning processes and that's why we allocated funds," said Legarda.

The DA still has P11.9 million balance in its quick response fund (QRF) for 2015 and P496.6 million for 2016; the DSWD has a balance of P703.6 million in its 2015 QRF and P1.6 billion for 2016. Meanwhile, there is still P5 billion NDRRM Fund for 2015 and P43 billion for 2016.

Legarda said that national government agencies must work closely with local government units (LGUs) on how they can access additional funds from the central government, such as the NDRRM Fund, QRF, and the People's Survival Fund.

"The government must reach out to the LGUs, to our people, especially the underserved and unserved communities. Government's support must reach far-flung communities. If our farmers cannot plant rice due to the drought, the government must give them alternative sources of income and livelihood. The government can offer climate-sensitive cash-for-work programs such as desilting of rivers, building of barangay nurseries, building water catchment facilities, waste segregation, among others," she stressed.

The Senator said that the 2016 General Appropriations Act is filled with general and special provisions on how funds can be utilized for climate change adaptation and mitigation.

Among the provisions is the support of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) to all agrarian reform communities (ARCs) for them to be attuned to climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction, and for the DA to increase the resilience of agricultural communities through the implementation of disaster-resilient agricultural infrastructure projects, distribution and development of seeds that are optimally adaptive to present and to future climate conditions, and conduct seminars and trainings for LGUs.


INQUIRER

We spent P3.65B to help farmers battle drought, says DA SHARES: 46 VIEW COMMENTS By: Ronnel W. Domingo @inquirerdotnet Philippine Daily Inquirer 01:21 AM April 5th, 2016


Emerson U. Palad Undersecretary & National Project Director Department ...

THE DEPARTMENT of Agriculture (DA) has done its part in mitigating the effects of a strong El Niño on Mindanao’s farmers, which was basically supporting food production rather than distribution.

Undersecretary Emerson U. Palad said in a briefing on Monday the DA has poured some P3.65 billion to help farmers who are battling dry conditions across the nation.

Palad was reacting to questions about whether the DA could have done all for El Niño-affected farmers, especially following a bloody dispersal of a protest in North Cotabato province which left three dead.

“These (support for farmers) include production support (inputs), irrigation augmentation, cloud-seeding operations, shallow-tube wells, etc.” said Palad, who is agriculture undersecretary for operations.

As for North Cotabato, he said Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala himself was in the province in February and March, personally seeing to the distribution of DA’s support.

Palad said the DA mandate was limited to production interventions and not the distribution of food. “We support the production of rice; but we do not give away milled rice,” he said.

Palad fell short of saying that closer assistance to farmers was expected of local governments since such functions have been devolved, but he said he “refrains from commenting” on details related to the farmers barricade and the violent dispersal.

Alcala was in Carmen town last March 16 to lead P5.8 million worth of farm goods including P3.7 million worth of certified rice seeds for members of 16 irrigators associations in the Malitubog-Maridagao area of North Cotabato.

Other aid packages included corn seeds, urea fertilizer, garden tools with vegetable seeds, fruit tree seedlings, livestock and poultry, knapsack sprayers, among others.

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RELATED FROM TH4E SENATE WEBSITE

Press Release
April 8, 2016
Cayetano: Gov't lying on Kidapawan and El Niño

"Puro palusot at pagsisinungaling."

Vice presidential candidate and Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano had this to say as he hit back at Malacañang for trying to downplay the people's clamor for help amid the enduring El Niño phenomenon that is severely affecting Filipino farmers livelihood.

During a Senate hearing on the violent dispersal of protesting farmers in Kidapawan City, Cayetano took a swipe at the administration for failing to immediately release adequate funds to mitigate the ill effects of the drought in the province. In response, Malacañang described the senator's claims as "untrue and unfounded," adding that since the creation of an El Niño Task Force, enough resources were deployed in affected areas.

Mendoza admitted gov't neglect

Cayetano, however, remained firm in his stand and even accused the administration of lying to the public. "Governor Mendoza, who happens to be a Liberal Party (LP) member, told us herself during the hearing that their local government wrote a letter to the national government to ask for assistance, but nothing came," Cayetano said, referring to North Cotabato Gov. Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza.

"Tama na palusot at pagsisinungaling. We actually have P45 billion worth of funds in the 2016 budget that may be used for projects that will curb the impact of this crisis. Kung determinado ang Palasyo na resolbahin ito, magagawa nila. Pero bakit kailangan pang sumulat ng lokal na pamahalaan? Bakit maraming magsasaka pa rin ang patuloy na nagugutom at naghihirap," Cayetano added.

Cayetano stressed that if the national government had immediately taken action to heed the people's demands, thousands of farmers would not have staged a protest, and the tragic incident in Kidapawan could have been avoided.

Neglected farmers, police

"Pero iniwan ng Palasyo ang mga magsasaka ng Kidapawan. Iniwan nito ang North Cotabato," Cayetano lamented. "Pati mga pulis pinabayaan. Wala na ngang sapat na kagamitan gaya ng dispersal equipment, kinasangkapan pa laban sa mga magsasaka," the senator added.

Cayetano particularly questioned the absence of Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala in the hearing. He said he would have wanted the cabinet member to explain his statement that the areas where the protesting farmers came from did not suffer much from the El Niño.

"Tagasaang planeta si Sec. Alcala at tila may iba siyang bersyon ng realidad? I wanted to ask why he would utter such an insensitive statement. But he didn't show up at the hearing. This is a national issue, but the national leaders were missing in action,"Cayetano stressed.


EDITORIAL - WAY TO GO posted April 05, 2016 at 12:01 am


THE PRESIDENT IS BUSY...(PHOTO APPENDED BY PHNO)

A portion of the country’s highest mountain is on fire, there is a blackout at the airport, and the President is conspicuously silent about human rights atrocities by policemen who fired on hapless farmers in North Cotabato. These just about sum up, not the last few weeks of the administration, but the entire past six years under President Benigno Aquino III.

The fire on the Davao del Sur side of Mt. Apo has engulfed more than 300 hectares of forest and grassland starting March 26. The Palace said national agencies and local governments are working in tandem to put out the fire, but it rages, still.

Over the weekend, at least 78 flights were canceled after a power outage at Terminal 3 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Saturday night to Sunday morning, causing thousands to be stranded. If we go by Mr. Aquino’s record in protecting and even defending his criminally incompetent Transportation secretary and his equally bumbling relative, the airport manager, it would be safe to assume nobody will be made to account for the losses and other inconveniences suffered by the public as a result of these cancellations.

And now we learn that the police had used inordinate violence in dispersing a legitimate protest—farmers, ironically, asking that they be given rice because their families had been starving as a result of the drought. No less than the regional human rights commission official said that the farmers had been on their knees, begging for their life, and yet the cops shot anyway. Three died; many were injured.

READ MORE...

The following day, the cops earned commendation for what they had done. The Palace and the provincial and city executives insist the farmers have been organized by leftists out to sow unrest and that they had to be dispersed because they were hindering business traffic.

Human rights groups demand an investigation as footage of the standoff clearly show violation of the farmers’ rights.

But President Aquino himself has not yet said anything about what happened in Kidapawan City, giving the impression that he is calibrating his statements so he could turn the issue around to his, and his administration’s, advantage.

We also can almost hear the Aquino-Abaya-Honrado trio saying this about the airport outage: It was not fatal, anyway. So let’s all just move on.

Alas, the ongoing mountain fire may as well serve as a metaphor for all the fires Mr. Aquino has to put out now, most if not all of his own doing. In the end, he will be remembered for all these crises and his mishandling of them. These belie his claims to righteousness and expose him for the kind of leader that he is.


PHILSTAR

Noy tells Abaya: No more NAIA blackouts By Delon Porcalla and Danessa Rivera (The Philippine Star) | Updated April 5, 2016 - 12:00am 1 78 googleplus0 0


NAIA BLACKOUT---GMA NEWS PHOTO The five-hour power outage at the NAIA Terminal 3 forced the cancellation of 82 domestic flights and delays in four international flights.

MANILA, Philippines - There should be no repeat of the power outage that crippled the country’s premier international airport for five hours over the weekend, President Aquino told the airport manager and the transport chief yesterday.

“The President has directed Secretary Abaya and airport general manager Honrado to adopt contingency measures to prevent the recurrence of the power outage that disrupted operations at NAIA-3 over the weekend,” Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said.

He was referring to Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya and Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) general manager Angel Honrado.

At the same time, airport authorities were also “instructed to maintain vigilance so that the safety of travelers will be assured continuously,” Coloma said.

Abaya and Honrado were summoned to a meeting at Malacañang yesterday afternoon.

The MIAA said a Manila Electric Co (Meralco) substation tripped, causing the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 to lose power.

READ MORE...

Meralco spokesman Joe Zaldarriaga confirmed the tripping, but clarified that the trouble lasted only for about 45 seconds and the substation was able to immediately restore power supply to NAIA-3.

He said Meralco dispatched an inspection team to the NAIA substation at 1 a.m. Sunday but found the facility already working. Zaldarriaga said the blackout continued due to “load pressure from the internal electrical facilities.”

Nonetheless, Zaldarriaga said Meralco is checking all its facilities serving the NAIA-3 to prevent another power failure at the busy airport facility.

“Based on our assessment, the power interruption that occurred was apparently due to problems in NAIA’s internal electrical facilities,” the Meralco spokesman said.

He declined to give an update on the meeting between Meralco and airport authorities.

“We are working very closely with NAIA-3 and part of that is to do an inventory which includes a thorough check as well on all our facilities serving the terminal,” he said.

“We are committed to provide efficient, adequate and reliable electric service, especially to a very vital installation like NAIA-3,” he added.

The five-hour power outage forced the cancellation of 82 domestic flights and delays in four international flights. “NAIA and Meralco are still investigating the incident,” Department of Energy director Irma Exconde said in a text message.

‘Unacceptable’

The NAIA-3 blackout drew condemnation from lawmakers, with Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto questioning the poor services at the airports despite the billions of pesos collected from passengers and airlines.

In 2014 alone, the government collected P9.3 billion from NAIA passengers and airlines.

“NAIA is a profit center. Lack of money can’t be an excuse on why it is hit by blackouts, or its ceilings are crashing down, or its air conditioners are conking out,” he said.

Recto said the Saturday incident was “unacceptable and preventable.”

“NAIA is in the black. So there should be no blackout. This ridiculous incident is simply unacceptable. Government has billions of pesos to spend for improvement of airport facilities,” he said.

Out of its gross income of P9.3 billion in 2014, Recto said MIAA posted a net profit after tax of P3.06 billion.

On top of this, it remitted P1.08 billion as national government share to the Treasury and paid P1.1 billion in taxes, “which means government netted close to P5.3 billion from NAIA users in 2014,” Recto said.

“The government can observe a moratorium from enjoying NAIA profits and instead reinvest the same for facility improvements, including the one-stop, multi-agency government assistance and complaints desk to be operated by the Presidential Action Center,” he added.

Recto said funds for the improvement of NAIA can also be sourced from travel tax collections.

Most of the nearly P2-billion travel tax collected by the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) in 2014 came from NAIA outbound passengers.

“NAIA is a major collection point of this tax. This tax is either included in the ticket fare or paid before check-in at the TIEZA kiosk,” Recto said.

“Part of this travel tax collections should be plowed back to NAIA, for comfort facilities like clean toilets, better Wi-Fi and tourist help desks and brochures, “Recto said.

Security issue Sen. Nancy Binay said the incident “adds to the chaos and instability in the light of global terrorism” and that it “should not be taken for granted because thousands of lives are at stake.”

“It is deplorable that the Department of Transportation and Communications and the Manila International Airport Authority would pass the blame on Meralco when they should be the one prepared in cases of emergency,” Binay said.

Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who is running for vice president, said the stranded passengers should be compensated.

“At the very least if the passengers were stranded their food, hotel accommodation must be compensated by airport authorities because of the brownout,” the senator said.

He also said the incident may have provided the public a foretaste of what is to transpire during the elections.

“Maybe the Commission on Elections must give priority to providing backup power to precincts during Election Day, to prevent any attempt to manipulate the election,” Marcos said.

Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago, for her part, warned that the country is again at risk of getting the world’s worst airport tag.

“The Manila International Airport Authority seems eager to regain the ‘world’s worst airport’ title which it lost only in 2015, not only for inconveniencing passengers, but for not working as it should,” the senator said in a statement.

For Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, the incident was symptomatic of the administration’s ineptitude and “a clear embarrassment for the nation.”

“Again, the government consistently failed to make progress because of too much details, tweaking, brainstorming, research and among others in making important decisions that would benefit the poor people,” he said.

“How can we evade the tag as one of the worst airports in the world if this incident has been happening? We have to improve our services and facilities available within the terminals especially cleanliness, customer service, comfort and their overall airport experience,” he added.

“They only have less than three months left in office. Time is up for studying. That studying line went on for too long that it has become an analysis leading to paralysis,” he said.

Former Metro Rail Transit (MRT) general manager Al Vitangcol III, meanwhile, said the NAIA-3 incident was proof of government’s incompetence and should convince voters to shun candidates of the administration.

“Government leadership should not be like this,” Vitangcol said at the Kapihan sa Manila Hotel organized by the Samahang Plaridel. – Paolo Romero, Christina Mendez, Perseus Echeminada, Rainier Allan Ronda, Rudy Santos

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RELATED FROM THE SENATE WEBSITE

April 8, 2016

BONGBONG MARCOS PUSHES FOR REVIEW OF AIRLINE PASSENGER BILL OF RIGHTS

Vice presidential candidate Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" R. Marcos Jr. today pushed for the review of the Airline Passenger Bill of Rights to protect passengers not only from the failings of airline companies but also from government's shortcomings.

Marcos made the statement in the light of the mounting complaints of airline passengers including the five-hour power outage at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport that cancelled numerous flights and brought inconvenience to thousands of passengers and their families.

Marcos said reviewing and possibly amending the law that will empower passengers to seek immediate redress of grievances arising from neglect and abuses not only committed by airline companies but by the government itself are in order.

"Our passengers deserve better service and we simply could not ignore their many complaints in our airports like the long queues, leaking ceilings, collapsing floors, lack of restrooms and just recently a five-hour brownout. Clearly in all these, the reason why we have been consistently adjudged the World's Worst Airport, the government is at fault but there is no accountability when our airport officials are clearly not doing their job," he said.

He pointed out that the existing Airline Passenger Bill of Rights is under Joint Administrative Order No. 1 of the Department of Transportation and Communications and Department of Trade and Industry and it appears that it is only for lapses committed by airline companies.

Under the said order, in case of flight cancellations without fault on the passengers, airline travelers have the right to re-book their flight at no additional cost or demand a refund. The passenger also has the right to be given free food and hotel accommodation.

However, Marcos noted the said measure is not clear when the flight cancellation is due to government's neglect like the brownout that was caused by the failure of airport officials to make sure generators are working.

"Clearly in the five-hour brownout episode, the airline companies were not at fault. Government was at fault. There were thousands who were inconvenienced. From whom are they going to seek relief? Who will pay for their cancelled flights? Who will answer for the additional costs they incurred as a result of the cancellation of their flights? These should be provided by law for the benefit of our passengers," Marcos said.

He added, "there should be accountability in passenger service especially in our airports because it is our window to the world. Government officials caught not doing their job should be immediately sacked and made accountable for their actions," he said.----------------------------------------

VIDEO: WATCH NOY HITS DUTERTER'S COMMITMENT TO PRESIDENCY

 


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