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A shameful event in Philippine history

Is it too hard to understand the saying that the one and only rational response to hunger is food? Reason and logic—even morals and ethics—can be well be irrelevant to hungry people.

Hunger and despair go hand in hand, especially for helpless and hopeless people. And to respond to such people with unbridled anger and deadly force makes the perpetrators not simply callous and merciless, but also downright inhuman, if not emotionally impaired or mentally burdened.

This type of brutality and inhumanity were at once made a crude and shameless reality with the violent dispersal of farmers in Kidapawan. The shout for food and help from the miserable and starving farmers was met with anger and guns.

The farmers were crying out for food to eat and help for their parched farms, which have been starved of water by the El Niño effect.

Their anger and desperation made them insistent and demanding. But instead of help and assistance, what they got were guns and live bullets.

The out-going government, which is headed by someone from a well-known clan of a huge hacienda holdings, appears to be accustomed to the cry of the poor, but also accustomed to looking down on and despising the starving farmers.

The Mendiola Massacre is historical proof of such a sad reality. In other words, killing poor and helpless farmers is but a matter of course for certain callous individuals with immense land holdings.

The Kidapawan episode—just like the Mendiola inhumanity—also involved farmers asking for what was simply their due.

But the official response did not consider what was due to them, but simply handed out bullet wounds and death sentences.

They were but asking for what was theirs. Help to care for their farms, for the production of more rice to improve both their own living standard and those of the people who eat their produce.

And what they were asking for was not help from the pockets of government officials, but assistance coming from the taxes imposed on and taken from the people—the farmers themselves included.

They were merely asking for just a little share of the public funds intended for the common good, in order to somehow help improve the common good.

But then, wanting, hungry and desperate, what they got were guns at the ready, bullets fired and lives lost. No. The farmers are not saints. They neither belong to the nobility nor to the high class villages. But human persons they are. Human rights they have. Human dignity they are endowed with.

They are not a bunch of thieves who should be met with guns. Such detestable events usually happen under dictatorial regimes, in countries ruled by godless tyrants.

The Kidapawan tragedy is now a shameful episode in Philippine history. What makes it extra detestable is that it took place during the Daan Matuwid (presentation of candidates for the upcoming election) for a government that has, in fact, become infamous for its graft and corrupt practices—as well as callous ways.

Such callousness is but another incarnate falsity of such an empty and delirious claim to righteousness.

It is markedly akin to certitude that the anointed government candidate for president is a long way down the rating list, precisely because his patron—the promoter and lover of the hurrah platform, which has become not merely a laughing stock, but truly a detestable claim.                  CBCP News