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Kidapawan victim’s dad charges ‘witness’ for perjury

EBAO SULANG, father of Kidapawan shooting victim Darwin Sulang, filed perjury charges against Senate witness Charlie “Longhair” Pasco at the Department of Justice yesterday.

Pasco testified before Senate investigative committee hearings last April that the younger Sulang was carrying a gun when he was gunned down during a violent dispersal of protesting farmers last April 1. Read more

PHOTOS: “Hesu Kristo Magsasaka”

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(Photos by Amel Sabangan)

The group “Artists for Kidapawan”  performed around downtown Manila last April 30 to dramatize their support for the victims of the violent dispersal of protesting farmers in North Cotabato four weeks ago.  The artists performed dances and tableaux at Plaza Miranda, Recto, Bustillos, Morayta and España.

In preparation for Labor Day today, the artists also performed in front of malls, which are said to be the main practitioners of labor-only-contracting among workers.

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EDITORIAL CARTOON: Government response

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By AMEL SABANGAN.

It has been a constant refrain by the Aquino government, that many of those who oppose its policies are branded as communist rebels. It does not matter if they are human rights defenders, indigenous peoples’ educators, or starved farmers. They often end up in jail, hospitals or, worst, dead in the government’s effort to assert itself against suffering citizens.

ITANONG MO KAY PROF: On the Kidapawan violence

In this podcast, International League of Peoples’ Struggles chairperson Jose Maria Sison presents his analysis on the violent dispersal of the starving farmers in Kidapawan City last April 1.

Sison said that the farmers should not be blamed for protesting. Blame should be placed on government officials who did not help the farmers but instead ordered the violent dispersal, Sison said.

Sison also expressed admiration for the artists who helped the farmers by giving them rice and raising bail money for the arrested farmers.

“Itanong Mo Kay Prof” is a special podcast that presents an alternative analysis of issues that affect the Filipino people.

Farmers were clearly targeted, lawyer says

Darwin Sulang, one of the two killed in the violent dispersal of protesting farmers in Kidapawan City last April was targeted by a police sniper.

This was revealed by peoples’ lawyer Ephraim Cortez in a press conference with other human rights defenders and peasant leaders in Quezon City last April 15.

Cortez said that the results of the autopsy conducted by Prof. Racquel Fortun last April 9 indicate that Sulang was deliberately shot based on how cleanly he was shot between the eyes.

Fortun also examined Enrico Fabligar’s cadaver, Cortes said.

The victims did not die of mauling or heat stroke as the Philippine National Police (PNP) stated, the lawyer said.

Cortes said they will include these evidence as part of their defense of the farmers and in their counter charges against the PNP.

CONTRIBUTED VIDEO: DOJ asked to release arrested Kidapawan farmers

Kidapawan farmers and their supporters picketed the Department of Justice on April 13 in the Philippines to press for the immediate release of those illegally detained by the police and pursue justice for the victims of the bloody dispersal of April 1.

Only 10 of the 77 farmers arrested have been released as of April 14. The detainees include three pregnant women and several elderly.

(Video by ILPS-Philippines)

UP professor reveals harassment of farmers in Kidapawan

University of the Philippines Professor Gerardo Lanuza reveals in a press conference the continuing harassment victims of the April 1 Kidapawan shooting suffer.

Lanuza participated in a fact-finding mission to Kidapawan a few days after the incident. He was assigned to interview four injured farmers, but was prevented by the presence of four soldiers armed with assault rifles inside a local hospital.

In this video, Lanuza enumerates the various ways in which the police and the Philippine Army make injured farmer Christopher Lumandang suffer even further.

(Featured image of Christopher Lumandang by Kilab Multimedia)

STREETWISE: Whitewashing the Kidapawan massacre by Carol Pagaduan-Araullo

(Photo by Kilab Multimedia)
Streetwise
Last week’s killing, wounding and illegal arrest of drought-stricken farmers who barricaded the Davao-Cotobato highway to dramatize their demands has brought to national attention the harsh realities in the country’s rural areas.
It highlighted the desperate straits of the majority of rural folk especially the peasantry.  Poor farmers including indigenous people eke out a living subject to the vagaries of nature; utilizing backward means of production; tied to exploitative tenant-landlord relations; reliant on a usurious lending system; forced to sell their produce at low farm-gate prices; and under threat of displacement by mining operations, plantations and other “development projects”.
Extreme weather disturbances that have become the new normal as a result of climate change have hit poor farmers hard whether these be typhoons, flooding, drought or infestation by pests.
To top it all, their lives and livelihood are made even more precarious by ongoing counterinsurgency operations to contain the New People’s Army and, in Muslim Mindanao, Moro rebel forces.  More often than not, these end up disrupting civilian communities that the military suspects to be providing aid and succor to the “enemy”.
With failed harvests, mounting debts and hungry mouths to feed, farmers in North Cotobato decided to take their appeals for support to the provincial capital rather than wait in vain for help to come to them.  Their demands were legitimate: immediate release of 15,000 sacks of rice; release of calamity funds; raise farm-gate prices of their produce; stop militarization of the countryside.
But the governor turned a deaf ear to the farmers’ demands and instead sicced the police on the protesters.  Not content with mowing them down with gunfire, beating them, and making scores of arbitrary arrests, the police as well as military laid siege to a Methodist Church compound where the protesters took refuge.  They turned off the electricity and threatened to charge church leaders for giving sanctuary to so-called criminals.  They conducted a search of the compound but came up empty-handed.
The authorities prevented human rights workers from rescuing the blockaded protesters, attending to the wounded, aiding the arrested and locating hundreds unaccounted for. They conducted unauthorized autopsies on the two persons killed and falsely claimed they did not die from gunshot wounds.  They bulldozed the scene of the massacre and wantonly destroyed the protesters’ belongings left behind in the melee.
Even before a proper investigation had been undertaken, the police involved in the brutal dispersal of the protesters were awarded medals of recognition while the arrested and several individuals tagged as protest leaders were criminally charged for the violent outcome. They have been presenting false witnesses against the protesters to the mass media.
As news of the Kidapawan massacre trickled out, the plaintive call “bigas hindi bala” and the demand for justice for the victims of gross human rights violations resonated among the broad public.  People could not understand why hungry farmers could not be treated with compassion by concerned government officials.  Why were their appeals and demands met with indifference, their protest action met with harshness and eventually armed suppression. Where did government calamity funds go?  What had the Department of Agriculture done to mitigate the effects of El Niño?  Where was President Aquino and what did he have to say?
People were indignant that rice sacks donated by private individuals and groups were being prevented by North Cotobato Governor Taliño-Mendoza from reaching the farmers.  People rejected her wild accusations that a presidential candidate, in cahoots with her political opponents as well as with “militant leftists” had “instigated” the protest action to make the government look bad.
Agriculture Secretary Alcala’s attempt to minimize the severity of the drought in North Cotobato and to claim that government had done what it could to help the farmers was met with disbelief. Reports that the National Food Authority had more than enough rice stocks and was even in the process of selling these at a loss to rice distributors who in turn would make a huge profit were met with suspicion that corrupt deals were being made at the expense of calamity-hit farmers.
Amidst denunciations that President Aquino and his officials are incompetent, have little concern for the farmers’ plight and have the propensity to resort to state violence in dealing with crises, Malacañang slowly put together it’s counter attack.
First, that the protesting farmers were the aggressors. They provoked the police.  They were also armed.  They had been infiltrated by the New People’s Army.  Too bad for the Aquino regime, despite attempts at a cover-up, video footage and eyewitness accounts clearly show the police attacking the protesters.
Second, that the farmers were deceived by the protest organizers. They were told they would be given rice if they joined the protest.  How is it then that the farmers stayed for two and a half days under the scorching sun even as the police threatened them through a blaring sound system that they would be arrested if they did not leave? Why did it take a violent dispersal by the police to break their ranks?
Third, that the organizations of the militant Left were leading the protest because ordinary farmers could not have mobilized in such numbers by themselves.  This explains why the demands were political like putting a stop to the militarization of the countryside.  Now why does Malacañang assume that farmers are incapable of analyzing their situation and connecting socio-economic demands with political demands? Why do Aquino apologists assume that ordinary people are incapable of getting organized and fighting for their interests against government neglect and bad policies?
Pseudo-progressive parties like Akbayan who are part and parcel of the Aquino regime and anti-communist pseudo-intellectuals who pretend to know the inner workings of the communist movement provide the most absurd argument.  They say that protest organizers are communist agitators themselves who have a hidden agenda which has nothing to do with alleviating the hunger of the farmers but everything to do with bringing down the government.
They say that is the reason the protesters would not peacefully disperse despite the entreaties of the police.  According to this line, the Kidapawan massacre is part of the Left’s strategy and tactics, deliberately intended to spill the blood of farmers, enrage the public and consequently heap the blame on government. This convoluted argument falls flat on its face since it entails the Leftists’ unbelievable capacity to manipulate not only the protesting farmers but also the actuations of both civilian authorities and state security forces.
Calls for an independent investigation into the Kidapawan Massacre, the immediate release of those arrested and the dropping of all charges, the suspension and prosecution of those responsible and indemnification for those killed and wounded must be pursued without let-up in the face of the Aquino regime’s whitewash marked by repeated falsehoods, intrigues, red-baiting and media manipulation. #
Published In Business World
11 April 2016

POETRY: Apat na tula hinggil sa Kidapawan

1. Tuwid ang daan ng kanilang bala

Ang balita mula sa malayong rehiyon
Paparating ang kandidato ng administrasyon
Ayaw mapahiya ng mga kapartido
Kailangang mawalis ang daang Cotabato.
Ang ulat ng lider pesante
Nagreklamo raw ang mga negosyante
Dahil sa tumatagal na protesta
Humina na ang kanilang kita.
 –
Tatlong araw nang nakabarikada
Anim na libong magsasaka
Nagugutom kaya nangagsiaklas
Para sa iilang kaban ng bigas.
 –
Tila mas mura ang bala
Ang kita ay mas mahalaga
Kaysa tumugon sa panawagan
Ng gutom na mamamayan.
Ano bang putahe itong karahasan
Anong lasa ng tingga sa lalamunan
Bakit laging hain ng pamahalaan
Sa gutom ay kamatayan?
                                   –3:04 n.h.
                                     1 Abril 2016
                                    Lungsod Quezon
2. Kidapawan sa aking gunita
Anong halaga sa akin nitong pagsilim
Paano makakatulog, paano mahihimbing?
Ngayong panahong sakdal dilim
Ako’y tila binabangungot ng gising.
                                   –1:16 n.u
                                     3 Abril 2016
                                    Lungsod Quezon
3. Sako
“Wala pay sulod akong sako, ‘Nay.”—Yenyen, apat na taong gulang, Kidapawan
Mahalaga ang sako sa magbubukid
Telang tikling namin itong ibinabalikat
Buntis na putong ng aming ulong pawisan
Buhay sa hinabing hibla nito ang isinisilid.
Itong sako’y maaring lamnin
Milyon-milyong butil ng palay
Daang libong butil ng mais
Daan-daang talong o iba pang gulay
Dose-dosenang kamote
O kaya’y isang malaking bunga ng langka.
Sa oras ng pahinga’y aming duyan
Sa pagpapastol ng kalabaw ay aming sapin
Sa oras ng pagtulog ay banig
Sa oras ng unos ay aming bubong
Sa kasalatan ay aming damit.
Ang busog na sako’y tanda ng pag-asa
Ang walang-lamang sako ay dalita
At sa lipunang hangad naming lumaya
Sa pakikibaka ay aming bandila.
                                            –1:30 n.h.
                                               11 Abril 2016
                                               Lungsod Quezon
4.  Ang pahimakas ni Ebao Sulang
Alam nila, alam nila
Sinong hindi nakakaalam na tigang ang aming bukirin
Hindi ba’t bahay-gagamba na ang mga bitak ng lupa?
Pagmasdan mo ang maisan, nagkulay-kalawang bago pa mag-alay
Walang pinatawad ang tag-tuyot, walang dasal na dininig.
 
Isinuot ko ang pusyaw-pula kong sumbrero at inaya ang aking anak
Dumulog sa kinauukulan, nagbabakasakali ng habag
Uusal ng panalangin sa namamanginoong mortal
At baka naman siya, sila, ay makinig.
Dahil alam nila; alam nila dapat.
 
Bigas ang aming hiling.
Tiyak akong kami’y didinggin at kami’y uunawain.
Sino ba sa atin ang walang bitukang kailangang malamnan kahit paminsan?
Sila, kami, tayo ay mga likhang may tiyan
Magkaiba nga lang: ang ami’y impis, ang kanila’y busog.
 
Hinapagan kami ng batuta’t bala.
Pagdaka’y hinanap ko ang aking anak.
Walang nakakaalam kung saan naroon. Wala, wala.
Nang matagpua’y ang tanging karamay ay ang aking pusyaw-pulang sumbrero
Lamukos sa aking kamao.
 
Umuwi akong may pasang mabigat
Ang aking anak ngayon na’y bangkay.
Pagmasdan mo ang kanyang lamay na napapalamutian
Ng kartolinang bulaklak.
Ang kabaong naming mahihirap ay tanging iyan ang gayak.
 
Sa iyong nakikiramay ako’y may hiling
Sa namamanginoon ay pakiparating
Dapat nilang malaman; malaman nila dapat
Sila ang dahilan nitong lagablab.
                                                   -7:09 n.g.
                                                    11 Abril 2016
                                                    Lungsod Quezon
Raymund B. Villanueva

CONTRIBUTED VIDEO: Nora Aunor joins solidarity action for Kidapawan victims

Philippine movie superstar Nora Aunor joins a solidarity action in Manila for the victims of the violent dispersal of farmers in Kidapawan, North Cotabato last April 1.