Press Release
April 11, 2016


REELECTIONIST Senator Teofisto "TG" Guingona III reminded on Monday that the problem that fueled the bloody Kidapawan incident is not confined to the city in North Cotabato but is widely felt in other parts of the country. In this regard, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Peace, Unification and Reconciliation prodded government agencies concerned for fast implementation of mitigation measures to avoid any further violence.

"Right now, El Niño is also being endured by farmers in Bongabon, Nueva Ecija, but their hopes are still high that they will harvest a considerable number of onions planted in more than 4,000 hectares of land; We would not want them marching over empty stomachs, too," Guingona noted.

"We are now at the peak of the El Niño episode that is expected to unleash effects worse than in 1998, we cannot afford to spend time pointing fingers and leave our farmers helpless against the withering of their crops and against the exploitation of their plight," Guingona further admonished.

The April 1 dispersal between protesting farmers and anti-riot police resulted in the death of three farmers and injury of hundred more from both sides, including two policemen in critical condition. According to Guingona, closer and faster coordination between the national and the local government is needed to prevent similar confrontation from happening again.

"We have the P19-billion supplemental budget specifically for the mitigation of El Niño's effects, we have the Roadmap for Addressing the Impact of El Niño; we have measures at our disposal to prevent blows of low crop production and food price hike from hitting our countrymen, let us mobilize these," Guingona added.

Cotabato is just one of the six provinces under a state of calamity due to El Niño.

According to Guingona, it should not have taken an episode of this dry spell to emphasize on the fact that many of our food producers are themselves deprived of proper provisions.

"Blood spilled on these barren lands will not encourage agricultural and social growth. Kapwa magsasaka at pulis ang mga biktima dito."

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