Picketing Bukidnon farmers agree to go home

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews / 26 July) – With many of them too weary and hungry, farmers from Bukidnon agreed to go home Tuesday after the Department of Social Welfare Development gave them 4,000 sacks of rice to ease their hunger.

Rebecca Pacquiao, leader of the Kasama-OGYON farmers’ group, said they agreed to go home after Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo directed the regional office here to provide the farmers with 4,000 sacks of rice.

“Gipangkapoy na ang among mga kauban. Daghan ang naay uban mga bata (Our companions are very tired. Many even have brought their children),” Pacquiao said.

She said the 4,000 sacks of rice is still not enough for the 16,000 farmers affected by the El Niño last summer.

The decision to go home came after Pacquiao and other leaders meet with DSWD officials inside the regional office Tuesday morning.

DSWD assistant director for operations Aldersey Mumar de la Cruz said Secretary Taguiwalo was in constant communication with them and the farmers.

She said in the end, Taguiwalo ordered the release of the sacks of rice from the warehouse of the National Food Authority in Valencia City, Bukidnon provided the farmers sign the pertinent documents.

“The sacks of rice will be given to them directly once they sign the pertinent documents that will satisfy our auditing procedures,” De la Cruz said.

Pacquiao said they will draw the sacks of rice from the Valencia NFA warehouse on Wednesday.

She said they will also start drawing the other requirements that will allow them to satisfy their other demands for rice for 16,000 beneficiaries.

The farmers arrived here Monday on board rented buses and trucks to participate in the rally supporting President Rodrigo Duterte’s State of the Nation Address.

From Divisoria located downtown where the pro-Duterte rally was held, the farmers went to the DSWD regional office in Upper Carmen Monday night.

They camped outside the DSWD regional office, snarling the traffic along Father Masterson Avenue. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)