01 Apr BREAKING: Human Barricade Set Up Across Cotabato-Davao Highway in Kidapawan Fired by Security Forces, At Least 1 Died While Many Were Injured
Asking for an immediate relief from the drought that has since affected the province on November, some 5,000 farmers and lumad from towns in Cotabato province formed a human barricade across the Cotabato-Davao highway in Kidapawan on March 30 Wednesday. Until on that late Friday morning, one person was confirmed dead while many were injured as security forces opened fire.
Spokesman of Suara Bangsamoro Jerome Succor Aba said that the firing began after the arrival of Kidapawan Mayor Joseph Evangelista at the protest site.
Spearheaded the protest was Pedro Arnado who is the chairman of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas Cotabato chapter. He said that Evangelista was the one who ordered protest leaders to disperse.
“We told them that all we wanted was relief from the drought, especially the rice, and we would leave,” he said, “but the chief of police insisted that they would disperse us by force if we did not leave.”
Then he continued that soon after, fire trucks entered bombarding them with water cannons and the riot police started moving in, striking the protesters with their batons. Then the shooting began when protesters resisted.
Based on reports, at least 8 of the individuals were injured by gunshots while most were from rocks and batons.
“We waited three long months, bearing the unbearable heat and deep hunger. We endured days in this barricade under the sun, but only to be met by bullets after negotiations failed to reach a settlement,” Arnado said.