The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has drawn fire from activist farmer groups angered by its findings on the bloodshed during the April 1 dispersal of protesting farmers in Kidapawan City.
The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) said the rights body, in its May 30 report, glossed over the atrocities committed by the government forces during the riot, which left two protesters dead, two police officers seriously injured and dozens of others hurt.
“By saying that both sides provoked the confrontation, the CHR blames the protesters and armors the PNP for violating laws on the conduct of police officers during demonstrations which state that they are barred from bearing firearms and must exercise maximum tolerance,” the group said in a statement.
The KMP said the CHR practically absolved the police from its “grave crimes” against the protesting hungry farmers.
In its 46-page report, the CHR detailed the series of events that led to the violent dispersal of at least 3,000 drought-hit farmers who were asking the government for rice and other food supplies along the Kidapawan-Davao Highway.
The report found that excessive force was used by the Philippine National Police against the farmers contrary to protocols prescribed in the police operations manual, and that it was the first to fire the shot.
On the other hand, the CHR said it also found evidence that a number of the protesters had been “induced to join the protest action through deceit by the organizers and ‘unknown persons.’”
The militant Anakpawis party-list group also expressed its resentment over the CHR resolution, describing it as “narrow and wrongly premised on the assumption that the hunger due to extreme drought was only contained in North Cotabato.”
“It is detached from reality that agriculture across the country already lost P5 billion since February 2015, that clearly establishes that farmers have lost sources of livelihood and income, hence, they have no means to secure their food needs,” Anakpawis Rep. Fernando Hicap said in a statement.
“The report did not even bother to recommend the immediate dropping of direct assault charges against the obviously incapable three pregnant farmers and six elderly” among them, Anakpawis said.
The group identified them as Arlene Candiban, six months pregnant; Eliza Candiban, five months pregnant; Rolinda Paonil, two months pregnant; Dionisio Alagos, 60 years old; Gerardo Pequero, 66; Crisanto Carlum, 72; Jovita Debalid, 68; Lolita Porras, 65, and Valentina Berden, 78.
Read more: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/789108/farmers-groups-denounce-chrs-kidapawan-report#ixzz4AeiXfo00
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