05 Apr Kidapawan Massacre: How it Happened and its Casualties
A group of protesting farmers that were just demanding for 15,000 sacks of rice due to the effects of El Niño were opened fire by the security forces in Kidapawan City, and was called the Kidapawan Massacre. The incident took 3 lives, injured 37 individuals, and now, 88 from the protesters were missing and was presumed to be arrested and detained at Kidapawan City Police.
According to Ariel Casilao who is the first nominee of Anakpawis Partylist, the 3 confirmed dead were Rotello Daelto (from Brgy. Binoongan, Arakan), Victor Lumandang (from Brgy. Alobayon, Magpet) and Enrico Pabrica (from Kidapawan City).
Meanwhile, the PNP also claimed that 2 of their officers are in critical condition, with 40 ranked officials were injured, based on Bombo Radyo reports.
As per the missing protesters, initiating for the tracking of them were Bayan Muna Rep. and senatorial bet Neri Colmenares and Kabataan Partylist Rep. Terry Ridon. And according to Colmenares, 78 of the protesters were found at two separate locations under the “police custody”. At the Kidapawan City gymnasium were the male protesters while the female at the Kidapawan City Pilot Central Elementary School.
“Di daw arrested pero hindi naman pinapalabas. This is illegal detention. There are a lot of violations starting from the execution of warning, the methods and the actual use of firearms during the dispersal,” said Colmenares.
Last April 2, issued by the Regional Trial Court Branch 17 was a search warrant with no. 127 for violation of Section 28 of the Republic Act 10591 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act. This was when it was thought that the Spottswood Methodist Center compound, the church compound where the farmers and activists fled after the security forces dispersed them on Friday, houses firearms for the protesters, while 200 from the security forces were deployed outside the gate of the compound.
Three hours later, Atty. Orlando Daño of the Public Attorneys Office (PAO) who accompanied the search proclaimed that no firearms were found quoting, “nothing found, negative. No firearms found.”
Witnesses include Ariel Casilao of Anakpawis, Kidapawan City councilor Ruby Sison of the Committee on Human Rights, and several media groups.
“Walay nakita og nakuha bisan usa ka lugas sa pulbura (Not a trace of gunpowder was found),” Reverend Jurie Jayme of Karapatan Southern Mindanao said.
Daño said that the protesters may file a case but it depends if they will while those who were injured and lost their family member can take legal action.
This tragedy was an outcome in the Aquino administration’s neglect towards the serious effects of the climate phenomenon that ever since started as eqarly as May 2014.
“The PAGASA weather bureau has warned of the El Niño cycle’s impacts as early as 2014, and furthered in 2015 that it will be prolonged up to June to July this year. After two years of failing to deliver sufficient agricultural support to El Niño-affected peasant communities, it is utterly callous that the only government response that the farmers got is a hail of bullets,” said Clement Bautista, National Coordinator, Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment .
The environmental group added that this incident was not the first time the Aquino administration failed to effectively reduce casualties of climate-related tragedies, with Bautista saying that, “this is like Typhoon Yolanda all over again.”