Poe on Kidapawan: Why are the victims getting sued?
CEBU CITY, Philippines – Reacting to the clashes between farmers and the police in Kidapawan, Cotabato, presidential candidate Grace Poe said on Tuesday, April 5, she wants to understand why the protesters are the ones getting sued.
"'Yon nga ang hindi ko maintindihan. Siyempre, may karapatan kung sinoman ang magpa-file, kung sa tingin nila ay meron silang pinanggagalingan para doon. Pero kailangan kong malaman bakit pa mismo 'yung mga naging biktima o 'yung mga nag-rally doon ang kakasuhan dahil dapat merong kalayaan maghayag, hindi ba?" she said at a press conference here.
(That's what I need to understand. Of course, anyone has the right to file a case if they think it has merit. But I need to know why the victims or the protesters are the ones being sued, because there are supposed to have the freedom to express their grievances, right?)
On Saturday, April 2, police said they were preparing to charge 5 of the leaders of the protest in Kidapawan that led to the deaths of two farmers and injured 116 others.
The farmers were demanding that the government release 15,000 sacks of rice to them. They are suffering due to a severe drought in the region brought about by El Niño.
"Ngayon, siguro meron ding ginagawa ang gobyerno, pero 'yung problema na 'yan ay hindi mawawala kung hindi natin tutugunan at tutulungan ang mga magsasaka," Poe said.
(The government is probably doing something, but the problem is that this won't go away if we don't attend to the needs of the farmers and help them.)
"Kaya nga sila nag-umpisa dahil wala ngang makain dahil nga tagtuyot na. Sabi nga namin dapat libreng irigasyon," Poe said. (They started protesting because they don't have food due to the drought. As we have been saying, they should be provided free irrigation.)
She added that Cebu is facing similar problems with water shortage. "Ang problema sa Cebu kulang ang tubig, at hindi lamang tubig pang-irigasyon, tubig pang-inom (the problem is not just water for irrigation, but drinking water as well)," she said.
Poe has visited the province several times since the election period began. This time she went to Danao City, the home city of her slate's campaign manager, Cebu Representative Ace Durano.
Poe and running mate Francis Escudero attended the proclamation rally of members of the Durano clan-led Bakud party, which earlier announced their support for the tandem.
A bigger rally was set for Poe at the Mactan Export Processing Zone 1 in the evening. – Rappler.com
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