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Peaceful protest turns violent, 2 die, dozens hurt

Local News • 00:30 AM Sat Apr 2, 2016
Malu Manar
Debris, the mute witnesses of bloody dispersal against farmers asking for rice but got bullets in Kidapawan City. (Photo by Malu Manar)

KIDAPAWAN CITY -- A protester was killed while at least 10 farmers were wounded when the local police conducted what they termed was a law enforcement operation against those holding a barricade which made the Makilala-Kidapawan highway close for traffic for at least three days.
Including those wounded was Sheena Duazo of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN). She was hit on head by a stone thrown against her during the dispersal.
Others who were identified as among the injured farmers were Elyong of Barangay Tongao, Magpet Allan Jampa of Barangay Meocan, Arakan Ernie Carmelo of Barangay Doruluman, Arakan Rodolfo Tanio of BarangayBinoongan, Arakan, and Duazo.Killed, according to farmer leaderPedro Arnado,wereRogelio Daelto andVictor Lumugdang, both ofBarangay Binoongan, Arakan. Kidapawan CityMayor Joseph Evangelista said three of the injured police officers were in critical condition. sand// (Photo from Kilab Multimedia)Before the operation could begin, a siren coming from the firetrucks was heard as signal that the police will begin to move forward and start clearing the highway.

Armed with steel shields, the police, around a hundred, advanced to the picket line.While this was happening, Gabriela Mindanao chair Bai Ali Indayla urged Senior Superintendent Alex Tagum of the Cotabato Provincial Police Office (CPPO) to stop the dispersal while rally organizers are still negotiating with Cotabato Governor Lala Mendoza.The police, however, are bent on clearing the highway.

Around 10:15 am, Friday, the dispersal began.Warning shots were fired to warn the protesters. Firetrucks were also used.But guns were heard from both sides.

Tagum said the protesters were also armed.

As proof, he said one of the members of the M'lang municipal police station was hit on his chest while trying to prevent the protesters from moving forward.
Arnado, chair of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), said they are preparing charges against the provincial government and cops involved in the violent dispersal.
The police, however, are also bent on filing the charges, especially traffic obstruction.
Mendoza, in a press briefing, said she is taking full responsibility of what happened at the picket line.

She stressed the event was unfortunate both for the government and the protesters. MALU CADELINA MANAR

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