HIGHLIGHT: There is budget to help mitigate the effects of drought in North Cotabato, and it was not allocated, Senator Alan Peter Cayetano said in the Senate hearing on the bloody dispersal of Kidapawan farmer. He also called out the government to stop lying and giving excuses.
Aspiring vice president Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano questioned why the government seemingly did not release funds that could have prevented the tragic effects of El Nino in light of the recent bloody dispersal in drought-stricken Kidapawan City.
Cayetano said the government has 45 billion pesos annual budget but had failed to assist the hungry farmers.
“Tama na palusot at pagsisinungaling (Enough of excuses and lies)...Kung determinado ang Palasyo na resolbahin ito, magagawa nila. Pero bakit kailangan pang sumulat ng lokal na pamahalaan? Bakit maraming magsasaka pa rin ang patuloy na nagugutom at naghihirap (If the Palace is determined to resolve this matter, they can do it. But why did the local government even write a letter to the national government? Why are there many farmers who are still starving and facing poverty)?” he said.
This was after North Cotabato Governor Emmylou Mendoza stated that she wrote a letter to the national government to ask for assistance.
Cayetano accused the Palace of abandoning the farmers in Kidapawan and even the police who had no adequate dispersal equipment.
The Budget Secretary said in a statement that the local governments could tap into the national government’s Calamity Fund if the budget from their own calamity funds falls short.
“Local governments, like the provincial government of North Cotabato, are distributing rice and other goods from their calamity funds. And if these are not enough, the NDRRMC fund had hardly been used and could be a source of aid for those affected by El Niño,” Sec. Florencio Abad said on Friday.
Last week, about 6 thousand farmers went down and barricaded the highway in North Cotabato which resulted to 3 of their own dying and several others injured. The incident caused public outrage, while donations have been given to farmers and their families from neighboring provinces, public figures and politicians.