At least 250 farmers from South Cotabato, Sarangani, and General Santos (SocSarGen) protesting at the Koronadal National Highway for four days ended up victorious after the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Region XII aided them with 2,000 sacks of rice on April 25.
On Monday, DSWD addressed the issue of the protesting farmers and handed in 2,000 sacks of rice as a form of government help after the group occupied the General Santos-Cotabato National Highway on April 24, Sunday, as a form of protest. The protesters blocked major roads causing at least an hour of nuisance, traffic and other complications to vehicle drivers and motorists.
After negotiating and coming to terms with DSWD, the Department of Agriculture and the South Cotabato provincial crisis management, the farmers ended their protests Monday afternoon. However, the farmers stayed in the area overnight and are expected to return to their homes today.
Governor Daisy Avance-Fuentes, on the other hand, seemed surprised that the 2,000 sacks of rice immediately arrived. According to insiders, the first agreement was for the farmers to go back to their respective communities before the distribution of rice will happen.
Nonetheless, representative Joselito Roxas from Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) said they are happy with the result of their protest. “We consider this as a victory,” Roxas said. “DA also promised to give us fertilizers and other farm inputs, [which] will be distributed in the farmers’ communities in the coming days,” Roxas added.
However, the farmers guaranteed that they will continue the fight for justice, especially for the farmers who ether lost their lives or were injured during the brutal dispersal at Kidapawan City.
It can be recalled that at least one farmer was killed and 13 others injured during the dispersal of the farmers protesting in Kidapawan City on April 1. At least 40 olicemen were also hurt during the dispersal.