Open letter to President Benigno Simeon Aquino III
Justice for the Farmers in Cotabato!
Mr. President, we appeal to you to take a decisive executive action on the violent dispersal of farmers attending a rally at Kidapawan, Cotabato, by the local police.
Already, the dispersal caused the death of three farmers, and wounding many more – including women and children.
It is bad enough that the harsh weather conditions of Mindanao had destroyed rice fields and other agricultural crops, it is worse – and heartbreaking – that those who may have sincerely sought assistance to have rice on their tables have been killed or wounded.
It has become even heart-rending, because the problem was so simple, it could have been solved by delivering rice to the farmers. The police force’s solution was far worse than the problem.
Our brother farmers belong to the class which plays a great role in assuring food security for the country. And, yet they are the first victims of a severe lack of that food security.
They were at the rally asking for “bigas” (rice), but the heartless policemen, in supreme irony, responded with “bala” (bullets). We are distressingly reminded of the violent dispersal of rallies under the Marcos dictatorship, when protesting farmers were killed in Daet, Escalante and elsewhere. We must assure our people, who suffered so much under martial law, that we are determined to help make things better today.
Mr. President, we appeal to you to order a swift and impartial investigation to identify those responsible for this nameless cruelty, and bring them to justice.
And we affirm our shared faith in our Filipino farmers – their peaceful existence and their future!
Bantayog ng mga Bayani Foundation
(Photos from Kilab Multimedia & Pinoy Weekly)