The 8 Stages of the
It’s difficult to form an opinion on what is going on in the Kidapawan Crisis, as it has turned into little more than a melee between those who side with the farmers and those who side with the law enforcement agencies present and the local government units. For as long as the facts are in dispute, any opinion we may have on what should have been done, and what to do next are questionable at best, but there are some things we cannot dispute.
First of all, people have rights. Whether they’re farmers, leftists, or leftist farmers, none of them deserve to die of starvation.
Secondly, lethal force should always be a last resort when it comes to dispersing a crowd, even if the crowd is violent. This was not observed at all.
Thirdly, anyone who chooses to politicize this event instead of simply alleviating the problem is pretty much betraying this country for the sake of the almighty vote. Screw anyone who does this.
This protest didn’t come overnight. It actually was in the making since 2015, since El Nino started to affect the area adversely. Furthermore, there was a non-distribution of rice by the NFA despite the declaration of a state of calamity by the local government.
From there, here are the 8 stages of a crisis that still has no end in sight. We can only hope for a speedy resolution and a re-acknowledgment of the plain and simple fact that human rights trump everything else here, and any people hurt or killed by this crisis, be it police or protester, all deserve the same things—and injury or death are not among those things.
8. The Protest
On March 29, around 500 farmers camped outside of the Kidapawan’s NFA office to demand for supplies in the middle of a particularly ruthless bout with El Nino. When you realize that the very people supposed to be producing our food are the ones who are starving, you kind of feel a bit worried for everybody else.
7. The Escalation
By the next day, that initial 500 hundred ballooned to an estimated 6,000 protesters, and this is where the LGU would claim that there was a high number of farmers and even leftist militants who were not Kidapawan residents who were present. The presence of the NPA among the ranks of protesters was also alleged.
6. The Standstill
Given the suspicion of agitators amongs the ranks of protesters, the Governor of Kidapawan playing hard-ball, denying a promised 15,000 sacks of rice, because she (understandably) didn’t want to give that rice to people who aren’t even residents of Kidapawan. Unfortunately, there was no solution presented to identify who were from Kidapawan and who weren’t, nor was the rice to be distributed even there, either way.
5. The Dispersal
Come April 1, after the expiration of the rally permit, the law enforcement agents decided to clear the highways of the protesting farmers. This was when things turned violent. Injuries on both sides occurred, three farmers were killed, and one policeman is still in critical condition. Given the nature of conflicting claims on this contentious point of the conflict, what cannot be denied is that the police used firearms with live ammunition when they clearly should not have.