IRRI - CC
Manila (Agenzia Fides) - "A death is always tragic, especially when it is a violent death. Let us pray for our farmers in Kidapawan: may they find peace and happiness in heaven. The police have the mandate to preserve peace, protect the weak and serve justice": said Archbishop Socrates Villegas, President of the Episcopal Conference of the Philippines, condemning the violence which occurred in the town of Kidapawan City, on the island of Mandano, during a demonstration of farmers.
Two farmers were killed and dozens were injured on April 1, after the police opened fire to disperse the protesters. The Police reported that 40 officers were injured and two of them are in "critical condition".
Thousands of farmers, mostly lumads (local natives), had blocked the road from Davao to Cotabato for three days, asking the authorities for subsidies and aid due to their extreme poverty.
The Church has condemned the violence, expressing the hope that the problem is immediately solved by appealing both to the state so that it guarantees subsidies, and to the victims' families, so that they abandon thoughts of revenge.
Farmers were hit first by typhoons and floods, then by a severe drought and are desperate because they are unable to guarantee subsistence to their families: they have asked to have free seeds, so they can replace the crops they lost. The leaders of the local Churches deplore violence and call for a "just and peaceful" solution, remembering that these poor farmers have been abandoned by the government. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 04/04/2016)