Youth activists take #BigasHindiBala call to the streets
MANILA, Philippines – The #BigasHindiBala online campaign has reached the streets.
The College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) and Kabataan party list took the #BigasHindiBala (Rice, not Bullets) drive offline by organizing a series of protests and other activities that will culminate in the global day of action on April 8, Friday.
Students from Manila, Quezon City, Pangasinan, Palawan, and Northern Samar held demonstrations in their respective cities to criticize the North Cotabato provincial government and the Aquino administration. The protests began on April 4, Monday.
In Manila, students lined the street near the University of the Philippines-Manila, while another protest was ongoing near the University of Santo Tomas.
CEGP national president Marc Lino Abila said, "The farmers’ call for drought aid to help them get through the onslaught of El Niño fell on the deaf ears of the officials of the provincial and national government."
Kabataan Party list Rep Terry Ridon, along with other youth leaders, travelled to Kidapawan on April 2 to see the situation and extend help to the locals.
Ridon then released a statement detailing his findings, and concluded that this was a case of neglect by the local government.
"No one from government is taking care of the victims and their families: no medical assistance, no food assistance," said the statement which Ridon signed, along with Anakbayan National Chairperson Vencer Crisostomo and Anakbayan Secretary General Einstein Recedes.
Rise for Education joined the movement by creating a video message of support condemning "the brutal killing of Kidapawan farmers."
From April 4 to April 8, the League of Filipino Students will hold a series of protests called Youth Days of Protest: Justice for Kidapawan Farmers.
On that day, farmers were demonstrating to demand the release of 15,000 sacks of rice as part of North Cotabato's provincial government's emergency relief.
What can you do?
Meanwhile, MovePH, Rappler's advocacy and citizen engagement arm, has compiled a list of various groups bringing relief to the people in Kidapawan. (READ: #BigasHindiBala: Can you help Mindanao farmers affected by drought?)
The groups are:
- DAMBANA: Damayang Simbahan sa Panahon ng Disaster
- Malate Literary Folio
- United Church of Christ in the Philippines
- Alliance of Concerned Teachers-Philippines
- UPLB College of Development Communication Student Council
Concerned individuals who want to participate in the efforts can contact the groups listed.
Do you want to help? Share your ideas by writing on X, or join the relief efforts! – with a report by Mark Barnes/Rappler.com
Mark Barnes is a Rappler intern. He is a 3rd year communications student at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology majoring in journalism.