Press statement | April 8, 2016

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) vigorously condemns President Aquino and his regime, including North Cotabato Governor Talino Mendoza and the Philippine National Police for the brutal shooting of Kidapawan farmers demanding food aid in the face of a long drought. The unarmed protesting farmers were met with bulletsf from the policemen armed with high-powered rifles. At least three farmers confirmed dead and scores of wounded, with scores more missing.

The raw footage of the farmers’ protest exposed the shooting by the police of the unarmed courageous protesters.

Widespread condemnation of the Kidapawan massacre, sharply accusing President Aquino, local officials and the police, has come from numerous organizations in the Philippines and abroad. They offer strong solidarity to the Kidapawan farmers.

As early as April 1, hours after the violent dispersal of the protest of the Kidapawan farmers, tthe violent dispersal of protesting farmers was compared to the Mendiola massacre of January 1987 and the Hacienda Luisita massacre of 2004. Reference was made to the billions of pesos taken by President Aquino and Department of Budget Management Secretary Abad through the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) while the farmers suffered extreme hunger.

The people’s rage against Aquino and others held responsible for the Kidapawan massacre has intensified as more brutalities against the farmers are exposed. According to the Aquino government’s own Commission on Human Rights (CHR) in Mindanao, ”even when the farmers were on their knees, the police shot them!”

The protesting farmers have been offered a measly five kilos of rice for each family for a whole month. This is an insult to these families since a family would consume five kilos of rice within four days or less. Many thousands of sacks of rice are withheld even when the Calamity Fund and thousands of sacks of rice are available for distribution.

Scores of arrested farmers right after the violent dispersal are compelled to pay two thousand pesos each in order to secure their release on bail. The impoverished and hungry farmers are squeezed to the bone to secure their release.

In stark contrast to the criminal neglect and responsibility of the regime and its officials and their continued harassment of the Kidapawan farmers, donations of rice and other foodstuff have poured in from numerous organizations and individuals offering admirable solidarity. They also offer medical and legal assistance.

The regime on the other hand is engaged in a massive cover-up of its accountability. It is accusing the victims of starting the shooting, causing injury to 900 policemen,. They are claiming that the New People’s Army was present at the demonstration and that the Left has manipulated the farmers to launch the demonstration. This cover-up is similar to the cover-ups made by the regime during the Mendiola massacre of peasants in January 1987and the Hacienda Luisita massacre of November 2004.

To add insult to injury, the Aquino regime’s Department of Intterior and Local Government, under which the Philippine National Police is, has given awards to the fascist killers of the Kidapawan farmers. This is similar to President Aquino’s giving of awards to the military killers of Recca Monte, Arnaldo Jaramillo and other Lacub martyrs.

The NDFP holds the Aquino regime accountable for the Kidapawan massacre. The NDFP demands justice for Kidapawan martyrs and their families, and those wounded, arrested and missing! It joins numerous organizations in the country and abroad to make the resounding call for solidarity for the Kidapawan farmers!

Luis G. Jalandoni
Member, National Executive Committee
National Democratic Front of the Philippines