- Rallyists camped outside the DSWD’s regional office in Cagayan de Oro for food aid
- Secretary Judy Taguiwalo ordered 4,000 sacks of rice be given to the rallyists immediately
- The farmers requested the agency to course their next assistance directly through to their organizations instead of their respective local government units
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – It did not take long for thousands of farmers to get their sacks of rice this time.
Acting on the demands of rallyists who camped outside the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)’s regional office in Cagayan de Oro for food aid, Secretary Judy Taguiwalo ordered 4,000 sacks of rice be given to them immediately.
She also pledged to give the farmers another 4,000 sacks of rice which would be drawn from the warehouse of the National Food Authority (NFA) in Valencia City, Bukidnon.
Aldersey Mumar Dela Cruz, Assistant Regional Director for Operations of DSWD Region 10, said rice will be divided equally — 25 kilos — for each of the 16,000 families who need food aid.
“Initially, the group demanded for 37,000 sacks of rice, but later they asked for three sacks of rice for each of the 16,000 farmers, which the DSWD cannot afford to give,” Manila Bulletin quoted him as saying.
Dela Cruz added that the agency had earlier given 2,000 sacks of rice to 5,000 farmers.
“In fact, we are about to release the allocation for Quezon, Bukidnon amounting to 1,592 sacks of rice, but they came ahead of our release, saying they came to the province reportedly to support the SONA of President Duterte,” he said.
For this newest round of assistance, Dela Cruz said the farmers requested the agency to course their assistance directly through to their organizations instead of their respective local government units to avoid unscrupulous officials from sanitizing the list.
As a sign of goodwill, the farmers — composed of members from the Maguuma sa Bukidnon, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and Organisasyon sa mga Yanong Obrerong Nagkiusa (Ogyon), agreed to leave the premises.
The peaceful negotiations were a stark contrast to the bloody protest in Kidapawan City which left three farmers dead and wounded several others, including policemen.