[Press Release] Communities bang pots and pans nationwide to condemn Kidapawan massacre Call for food and justice for all Filipino farmers -KALAMPAG

Communities bang pots and pans nationwide to condemn Kidapawan massacre
Call for food and justice for all Filipino farmers

Photo by Gorio Bituin FB

Photo by Gorio Bituin FB

QUEZON CITY, 8 April 2016 — “Kalampagin ang kalderong walang laman, Kalampagin ang inutil na pamahalaan! (Bang our empty pots, call the attention of this useless government!)”

This was the call of community organizations and activists at noontime today as they held a noise barrage in front of the Department of Agriculture to launch the new campaign called KALAMPAG (Kampanya Laban sa Pagkagutom, or Campaign Against Hunger). Similar actions were held in Cebu, Tacloban, Bacolod, Ozamis and Davao, among other areas.

In a statement [1], the KALAMPAG campaigners condemned the killing of farmers in Kidapawan, North Cotabato last April 1 and demanded the immediate suspension, investigation, and charging of all police officers and government officials involved in the violent dispersal.

“The administration had enough time, information and financial resources to address the El Niño crisis but it failed disastrously in protecting and ensuring our basic human rights, and ultimately, in saving the lives of our farmers. There is no acceptable excuse for this neglect and for this continuing callousness and gross neglect of responsibility on the part of President Aquino and his administration.” the statement read.

The campaigners called for the immediate distribution of food and aid to the farmers in Kidapawan. They also demanded the declaration of all 68 El Niño-affected provinces under a state of calamity and the release the calamity and standby quick-response funds of concerned agencies.

“A severe food and water crisis is fast spreading in Mindanao and the rest of the Philippines in the wake of what scientists say may be the most severe El Niño episode on record. Global warming and climate change has been generating not only super typhoons but also super El Niños,” they said in the statement.

“The Mindanao farmers and indigenous peoples’ communities would have been in a stronger position to weather the effects of El Niño if their watersheds and water systems had not been damaged. The provinces badly hit by El Niño to date—Bukidnon, North Cotabato, South Cotabato and Davao del Sur—have one thing in common. Most of their watersheds are severely compromised due to unregulated expansion of agribusiness plantations, mining operations and coal-fired power plants,” they added.

They further demanded that the government implement comprehensive land reform, stop land grabs, and dismantle landlordism and usury that have burdened Filipino farmers for centuries, and that it stop the continued plunder and wanton destruction of ecosystems in the Philippines.

Among the movements and groups which formed the campaign are the Philippine Movement for Climate Justice, Freedom from Debt Coalition, Ecological Justice Interfaith Movement, Alyansa Tigil Mina, SANLAKAS, Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates, Buhay na May Dignidad para sa Lahat (DIGNIDAD Alliance), Aniban ng Manggagawa sa Agrikultura, Makabayan Pilipinas, Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino, Task Force Detainees of the Philippines, Network for Transformative Social Protection, Bulig Visayas, Koalisyon Pabahay ng Pilipinas, the Asian Peoples Movement on Debt and Development and many others.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) issued a warning early last year that there would be 34 provinces affected by El Niño by March 2016 and 68 provinces by April. It is expected to peak between May and June or until the onset of the rainy season this year.

According to the latest PAGASA advisory issued today, most parts of Luzon and Visayas received near to above normal rainfall last February, while most parts of Mindanao experienced way below to below normal rainfall condition. The state weather bureau added that five provinces were affected by the dry spell during the same month while 18 provinces, mostly from Mindanao, experienced drought conditions.

Khevin Yu, Philippine Movement for Climate Justice
khevinyu@gmail.com, +639175213356
Denise Fontanilla, Asian Peoples Movement on Debt and Development
dmfontanilla@gmail.com, +639178514890

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