By Shiela Mae Butlig,
THE FIRST picket rally against the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD 10) under the Duterte administration has been resolved peacefully.
On Tuesday, farmer-members of Kahugpungan sa mga Mag-uuma (Kasa-ma) from Quezon, Bukidnon picketed the DSWD regional office in Upper Carmen, this city to demand their El Niño rice subsidy.
Authorities estimated the number of picketers at 7,000.
Aldersey Mumar Dela Cruz, DSWD Assistant Regional Director of Operation, said they were about to distribute the rice subsidy alloted for the farmers in Quezon, Bukidnon this week.
“Naunhan lang gyud mi nila,” Dela Cruz said.
She added the rice subsidy they were supposed to distribute would have been 25 kilos for each family. However, Kasama leader Rebecca Pacquiao said this allotment is not enough adding that they have waited for a long time for the rice subsidy. They demanded 12,000 sacks of rice.
The two groups finally came into a compromise of 4,000 sacks of rice after welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo ordered the release of the rice subsidy from the National Food Authority warehouse in Valencia City, Bukidnon on Wednesday.
“Gipangkapoy na ang among mga kauban. Daghan ang naay uban mga bata,” Pacquiao said.
Pacquiao added they will wait for the balance of 8,000 sacks of the rice subsidy in Bukidnon.
Dela Cruz said Taguiwalo was in constant communication with them and the farmers.
She said they will also start drawing the other requirements that will allow them to satisfy their other demands for rice for 16,000 beneficiaries.
The farmers asked the DSWD to refrain from politicking and instead course the distribution through the Diocese of Malaybalay.
With the agreement, the picketers dismantled their picket and went back to Bukidnon yesterday morning.
The farmers arrived here Monday on board rented buses and trucks to participate in the rally supporting President Rodrigo Duterte’s State of the Nation Address.
From Divisoria located downtown where the pro-Duterte rally was held, the farmers went to the DSWD regional office in Upper Carmen Monday night.
They camped outside the DSWD regional office, snarling the traffic along Father Masterson Avenue. (with reports from mindanews)