Robin , Nora demand justice for farmers in Kidapawan; Rice donations reach farmers

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  • Robin Padilla, calls for justice for the farmers and lumad whose protest rally against hunger in Kidapawan City was violently dispersed on Friday.

    Another high-profile celebrity has joined the call.

    “Nalulungkot po ako na marinig ang mga nangyari sa mga farmers,” superstar Nora Aunor said in a brief  statement posted to Instagram by actor Sebastian Castro on Monday. (I am saddened to hear what happened to the farmers.)

    “At sana ho mabigyan ng justice ang ginawa sa kanila. Lalo na sa gobyerno natin sana hindi nila bale-walain ang mga ginawa sa farmers,” she added. (I hope they get justice for what was done to them. I hope our government would not ignore what happened.

    At least three farmers were killed and dozens were injured after policemen opened fire on the rallyists after the provincial government of North Cotabato ordered the dispersal of the rally. The farmers had staged the rally to demand food security after their farms were devastated by drought caused by El Nino.

    The police initially claimed that they only fired warning shots into the air, but video footage shot by local media show at least one policeman firing at an unarmed and fleeing protester.

    At least two policemen also suffered serious injuries from rocks thrown by the protesters. The incident has drawn comparisons to the infamous Mendiola Massacre and Hacienda Luisita Massacre, which resulted in the deaths of farmers during the presidency of Corazon Aquino, the mother of the incumbent president.

    In a statement on their Facebook page, the independent musicians’ group LAPIS (League of Authors of Public Interest Songs) likewise condemned the incident.

    “Nothing can justify the violent dispersal of a just [and] peaceful assembly. We stand with the farmers of Kidapawan [and] will continue to sing [and] write music that highlight their plight [and] move people to change the situation,” said the group led by Chickoy Pura, Gary Granada, Cooky Chua, Bayang Barrios, and Lolita Carbon.

    “When governments are being protested upon by their constituents, authorities should keep an open mind, and respond to the real needs of the situation. In this case, food, emergency relief, or even compassion, and not bullets,” the LAPIS statement added.

    On Saturday, Robin Padilla joined Rep. Neri Colmenares in a trip to Kidapawan to offer his sympathies to the farmers. The video of the speech the actor delivered before the farmers, posted by the youth group Anakbayan on Facebook.

    Truckloads of rice donated by entertainment personalities started pouring into the Spottswood Methodist Center in Kidapawan City, North Cotabato on Tuesday noon.

    Trucks owned by A. Lubayan Trading delivered a total of 420 sacks of rice donated by Angel Locsin (120 sacks), Robin Padilla (50 sacks), with 250 more sacks courtesy of celebrity donors led by Robin’s wife Mariel Rodriguez, Robin’s nephew Daniel Padilla, Daniel’s mother Karla Estrada, Bianca Gonzalez-Intal, and filmmakers Jun Robles Lana and Perci Intalan.

    The rice were meant thousands of starving farmers and lumad staying in the church compound whose farmlands had been hit by drought caused by the El Nino phenomenon.

    As of 1:45PM on Tuesday, Kilab Multimedia reported that some farmers had gone home after receiving their share of the rice donations. But many more stayed in the church compound to await more donations to guarantee their food security in the long dry spell expected to last until next month.

    Besides Robin Padilla and the other rice donors, superstar Nora Aunor and singer-actress Aiza Seguerra have stood with the Kidapawan farmers and demanded justice. (Interaksyon)

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