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Mendoza dismayed over farmers' protest in Kidapawan

Local News • 01:38 AM Thu Mar 31, 2016
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By: 
Ferdinandh Cabrera
North Cotabato police and farmers face off along portions of Cotabato-Davao highway. (Photo courtesy of Apple Villaraiz/DXND)

COTABATO
CITY -- North Cotabato Governor Emmylou Mendoza expressed dismay by
the gestures of some six thousand protesters who blocked Cotabato-Davao road,
demanding to talk to the governor about their plight on the ill-effects of El
Nino phenomenon.

Farmers
who were joined by militant groups barricaded and successfully closed the
national highway in an effort to dramatize their misery and prompt the
provincial government to hasten by providing them dole-out distribution of
rice subsidy of vegetable seeds and drought tolerant root crops increase in
the price of local farm products and also sidelined the total suspension of
military operations in the province, among others.

When
did the provincial capitol closes its door to you? You know where it is and you
guys used to visit me at the office,” Mendoza posed this question to the group
of protesters in a phone interview by this reporter today.

Relief
operation is not impossible, it is just you need to put everything in proper,
why not go back to your respective communities and let our people conduct the
validation of the affected families and then we can go to the distribution,”
the governor added.

Mendoza
said as government institution dispersing money, it is liable to Commission on
Audit (COA) to report where and who benefited from the calamity fund.

We
can even look if these people are beneficiaries also of 4P’s, how could they
say they were not given attention by the government?” Mendoza stressed.

The
governor understands the people’s clamor of using the calamity fund but she
said local calamity funds from barangay and municipalities should be used first
before using the provincial calamity fund as the last option.

NNorth
Cotabato declared state-of-calamity and has dispensed P14 million pesos from
the total 100 million for this year’s calamity fund.

She
said the unused fund is still intact and will be used for the entire and
unforeseen calamities since the province is still in the first quarter of the
year.

Part
of the P14 million pesos are to be used for further cloud seeding operations
since the Department of Agriculture could only support the provincial
government a two-week cloud seeding operation.

That
(DA assistance) was not enough,” she said.

The
rest are to be charged to the provincial government’s coffer including the
rental of planes to be used, food distribution to the affected people,
rehabilitation assistance and other concerns.

It’s
not fair, I felt offended that they demand to stop only the barricade once they
see me,” she lamented.

Mendoza
said she is in Manila for a work-related function. My office is always open to
discuss things with them,” she said.

Mendoza
instructed the provincial police force to implement a maximum tolerance to the
protesters who were deployed near the National Food Authority (NFA) compound
located beside the national highway to prevent any illegal intrusion and
saboteurs. (Ferdinand Cabrera)

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