Quantcast

Food Not Bullets: Hunger Pangs of Starving Farmers Met by a Barrage of Bullets

Climate

On the morning of April 1 police forces opened fire at some 5,000 farmers and indigenous Lumad demanding relief and subsidies for farm communities who have been intensely affected by the El Niño dry spell in Kidapawan City in the Philippines.

Some 5,000 farmers and tribal people have blocked a major highway in the southern Philippine province of Cotabato in a standoff to demand food and immediate relief from the effects of drought brought about by the El Nino phenomenon. Photo credit: Pinoy Weekly

350 Pilipinas condemns the violent dispersal of protesting farmers, which has resulted in the death of three and 87 missing, by the combined forces of the police and army in Kidapawan province of North Cotabato.

Around 5,000 farmers and indigenous peoples held a human barricade at the local National Food Authority (NFA) since March 30 to demand the immediate release of 15,000 sacks of rice to alleviate hunger brought about by crop failures due to three long months of drought.

Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) together with the peasant party-list group Anakpawis and other sectoral organizations staged an indignation protest in front of the National Office of the Department of Agriculture in Quezon City to condemn the violent dispersal holding the Aquino administration accountable for this heinous crime. Photo credit: Leon Dulce

Gov. Emmylou Mendoza refused to engage the protesters in a dialogue because prior notice and appointment from the farmers were not made. Instead of heeding the legitimate calls of the starving farmers, protesters faced a hail of bullets from the armed police and soldiers. After the bloody dispersal, thousands of farmers seeking refuge at the United Methodist Church were then surrounded by police forces.

Fully armed security forces charges to disperse the protesting farmers. Photo credit: Kilab Multimedia

The conditions that prompted the 3-day blockade gives us a glimpse of what’s ahead if decisive and just actions in addressing climate change, remains in the periphery. The blockade was warranted by the lack of government support for rural communities experiencing the brunt of the prolonged dry spell caused by the El Niño, which as of February, has affected 237,000 hectares of agricultural land. It is interesting to note that the dry spell coincides with the recent scientific findings that this February was the hottest in recorded history. We know that climate change is having an intensifying effect on this El Niño. There is also emerging research that shows climate change is likely to increase the frequency of severe El Niño.

The government’s policy of systematic land grabbing combined with the intensified El Niño pushed our farmers and indigenous peoples to heighten their struggles with sweat and blood in defense of their right to land and life. Our farmers—the country’s food producers—are battered the hardest and are left in poverty and hunger. Civil disobedience will continue to escalate until the government stops playing deaf and blind to the genuine cry of the people.

Hunger, unrest and the climate crisis—this is why decisive action and climate justice are imperative.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Arx0nt / Moment / Getty Images

By Taylor Jones, RD

Oats are a highly nutritious grain with many health benefits.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

Get ready to toast bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. National Pollinator Week is June 17-23 and it's a perfect time to celebrate the birds, bugs and lizards that are so essential to the crops we grow, the flowers we smell, and the plants that produce the air we breathe.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Alexander Spatari / Moment / Getty Images

It seems like every day a new diet is declared the healthiest — paleo, ketogenic, Atkins, to name a few — while government agencies regularly release their own recommended dietary guidelines. But there may not be an ideal one-size-fits-all diet, according to a new study.

Read More Show Less
Logging shown as part of a thinning and restoration effort in the Deschutes National Forest in Oregon on Oct. 22, 2014. Oregon Department of Forestry / CC BY 2.0

The U.S Forest Service unveiled a new plan to skirt a major environmental law that requires extensive review for new logging, road building, and mining projects on its nearly 200 million acres of public land. The proposal set off alarm bells for environmental groups, according to Reuters.

Read More Show Less
Maskot / Getty Images

By Kris Gunnars, BSc

It's easy to wonder which foods are healthiest.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Homes in Washington, DC's Brookland neighborhood were condemned to clear room for a highway in the 1960s. The community fought back. Brig Cabe / DC Public Library

By Teju Adisa-Farrar & Raul Garcia

In the summer of 1969 a banner hung over a set of condemned homes in what was then the predominantly black and brown Brookland neighborhood in Washington, DC. It read, "White man's roads through black men's homes."

Earlier in the year, the District attempted to condemn the houses to make space for a proposed freeway. The plans proposed a 10-lane freeway, a behemoth of a project that would divide the nation's capital end-to-end and sever iconic Black neighborhoods like Shaw and the U Street Corridor from the rest of the city.

Read More Show Less
Demonstrators outside a Republican presidential debate in Detroit in 2016. Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Michigan prosecutors dropped all criminal charges against government officials involved in the Flint water crisis Thursday, citing concerns about the investigation they had inherited from the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) appointed by former Attorney General Bill Schuette, CNN reported.

Read More Show Less
Samara Heisz / iStock / Getty Images

New York state has joined California, West Virginia, Arizona, Mississippi and Maine in ending religious exemptions for parents who prefer not to vaccinate their children, The New York Times reported.

Read More Show Less