Bishop Broderick Pabillo, on the Kidapawan shooting

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I join my voice in protesting the shooting and the violent dispersal of the protesting farmers in Kidapawan. This is not the way to react to the grievances of the farmers that the government was not able to address in the first place. The El Niño is not like a typhoon that can make the government unprepared. It had already been forecasted two years ago. It has hit the country since September last year. The government has not done anything to address this problem. We had been calling the government for action for months already. Even though the local governments had issued states of calamities in areas in Mindanao, still the government, both local and national, has done nothing that the farmers could feel that they are cared for. Now that they demanded by mass action that their plies should be heard – they were asking for rice and basic necessities for their farms; they were send the police and these rained on them beatings and bullets. Now more than 80 of the farmers are missing – held by government forces ( which should be illegal detention). What about those who were killed and wounded?

This is how the present government treats the poor and the suffering? This is not mercy but cruelty – committed in the Jubilee of Mercy! It is very troubling that the police and the military are always being sent to harass, wound and kill the poor – whether they be farmers, lumads, urban poor, or workers who protest and rally because they suffer and their rights are not being addressed. They are blamed in the name of national security and are accused to be led by communists. The military and the police are always used to protect the rich, the corporations, the politicians, the mining companies and plantations – the very people who oppress and do not pay attention to the poor. They are the cause why people suffer and the government uniformed forces protect them, while those who are the victims of their policies of oppression and neglect are further victimized by the military and police who are paid to protect the people. Who is the “people” now that the police and military are to protect?

Politicians and candidates are all calling for investigations and punishment of the culprits. As usual, no general or police superintendent or mayor or governor or cabinet secretary will be held accountable and punished. Would you like to bet?

Mar Roxas should be directly held accountable. He is still DILG secretary. While he is campaigning, he leaves his responsibility to the people. He did not address this concern of the El Niño and its effects, which the LGUs under him should have addressed for two years already. The police is under him, the police who violently dispersed the people.

Naturally this speaks very much about the neglect of the present Aquino administration on the plight of the poor, the farmers and the lumads. He is calloused to those who suffer. Their suffering did not come out of the blue. They had suffered for months. Either he and his people did not know it or they did not feel it. In both cases they are held accountable.

Bishop Broderick Pabillo
Auxiliary Bishop of Manila

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