Around a hundred farmers, including their families, in North Cotabato has finally received rice donations collected from Cagayan de Oro and it was the first time so far that they have received such donations after local leaders promised them rice if they discontinue joining the rally in Kidapawan City two weeks ago.
The donations from Cagayan de Oro were channeled through Angel In Disguise (AID) Network – Philippines, a cause-oriented organization based in Cagayan de Oro City, which was able to collect around 65 sacks of rice and some boxes of relief goods.
The donations were directly given to the farmers in Barangay Noa, Magpet town, North Cotabato, who joined the protest actions who demanded to the government additional aid because of the struggles they experienced by the El Niño phenomenon in Mindanao, of which North Cotabato province was one of the major hotspots.
Bobong Ande, who represented the farmers in Barangay Noa, said that they were present in the rally since the first day it was held on the last week of March up to the violent dispersal of the Kidapawan police on April 1.
“Naa gyud mi sugod pa, akong giuban akong anak nga babae ug ang akong asawa (We were there since the beginning, I even brought my daughter and my wife),” Ande said.
Ande and the rest of his fellow farmers only went back to their places after local officials in their respective towns and barangays promised them of rice rations, however, only to discover by AID representatives that had it not for the donations from Cagayan de Oro, the farmers could have waited longer for the promised rations by their local government.
AID Network had coordinated with One Radio News FM in Kidapawan City, and identified the locations where the donations can be given directly to the farmers. While there are already farmers have received rice donations especially in Kidapawan City inside the compounds of United Methodist Church, where most of the farmers temporarily seeking shelter, some farmers in the nearby towns have yet to receive the donations like in Arakan, North Cotabato. (With pooled reports from Nef Luczon and Gean Tulang-Cesar)