Vice President Jejomar Binay slammed the Aquino government for lack of preparation for the El Nino drought that sparked the killing of farmers in Kidapawan City, North Cotabato on April 1.
The killing of two farmers in a rally demanding government food aid could have been avoided if the administration of President Benigno Aquino was prepared for the drought, said Binay.
“Kung tama lamang sana ang pamamahala, na pagdating ng drought ay meron ka nang sagot hindi ito mangyayari. Mahina talaga ang gobyerno natin sa management,” said Binay, standard bearer of the opposition United Nationalist Alliance in the May presidential election.
“Ang dapat nating gawin ay aralin, tanggapin ang pagkukulang. Tanggapin natin kung ano ang root cause kung bakit nag-rally. Ang root cause ay kahirapan, said Binay in an interview in Datu Paglas, Maguindanao.
On April 1, two farmers were killed and more than 100 were wounded during a violent police dispersal of thousands of rallyists who barricaded the Kidapawan City highway.
The farmers were demanding immediate release of 15,000 bags of rice promised them by the North Cotabato government as hunger struck the province with farmlands seared dry by the El Nino drought.
“Huwag po nating lagyan ng kulay kasi kung wala namang isyu ng kahirapan, hindi naman magpo-protesta. Huwag tayong lalayo sa kung ano ang naging dahilan ng pangyayaring ito,” said Binay who was in Datu Paglas to meet with workers of the La Frutera Banana Corporation when the violent incident happened.
Poverty that is widespread under the Aquino administration is also the root cause of the incident, according to Binay.
“Hindi po maitatanggi na ang dahilan ng protesta ay kahirapan. Hindi isyu ang politicalization. The fact is, it is indisputable, na ang cause ng rally ay dahil sa kahirapan. Iyon ang ating pag-usapan,” he said.
The Aquino administration is weak in confronting the El Nino phenomenon, according to Binay, who is facing in the presidential race, Mar Roxas, the candidate of Aquino’s ruling Liberal Party.