SENATORIAL candidate Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez urged concerned parties on Friday to stop the blame game regarding the Kidapawan incident. This as he stressed that the government should show malasakit to the farmers by giving them aid.
Romualdez said now is not the right time to accuse farmers especially that they were allegedly used by certain groups for political reasons.
“All they need now is malasakit and that refers to the immediate delivery of assistance to our drought-hit farmers.” said Romualdez.
The Philippine Constitution Association president urged the government, particularly the Commission on Human Rights, to conduct a thorough investigation of the violent dispersal of farmers in Kidapawan, North Cotabato and determine who is responsible for the death of three farmers and scored of injured who included protesters and law enforcers.
Romualdez issued the statement as he again lamented the slow government action on the El Niño crisis that resulted in the protest action.
As early as December last year, the national government announced that the Palace had already approved P19-billion for El Niño impact mitigation. The funding included programs for cash for work and food stamps programs.
“What is even more puzzling is that the national government claims that the calamity fund has been released but how come people are still hungry on the ground?” asked the head of the House Independent Bloc.
“As I understand it, the farmers launched the mass action to urge government to give them rice as the ongoing drought caused by El Niño had left them hungry and without any means of sustenance,” he said.
The congressman said the national government should have anticipated their needs, listened to their grievances and acted urgently to address the crisis out of compassion for their misfortune to avoid the protest rallies that unfortunately resulted in casualties.”
Romualdez had earlier bewailed the slow reaction of the government to the dry spell and drought caused by El Niño in various parts of the country.
“People are hungry. Farmers are losing their crops. What is the government waiting for? For the farmers to die from hunger and for food prices to go up because of scarce food supplies?” lamented Romualdez.