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Malacañang claims misinformation led to Kidapawan rally

Rosette Adel - Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines – A palace official on Sunday said that several groups from outside Kidapawan City could have been involved in the rally there and that some of the farmers at the rally may have attended base don wrong information.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said that the paraphernalia of protesters showed that they are from other areas and represent various organizations. He added that their placards bore issues irrelevant to El Niño.

“Ang isa pang mahalagang napag-alaman natin hinggil dito, ay iyong pagkasangkot ng maraming pangkat – maraming mga lumahok diyan – na hindi naman galing mismo doon sa lugar na iyon. Ibig sabihin ay mayroong nagmobilisa sa kanila galing pa sa mga malalayong lugar; at nakita naman doon sa kanilang mga paraphernalia, iyong mga placards, iyong mga kagamitan nila, kung anu-anong mga organisasyon ang kanilang kinakatawan. At makikita din doon sa kanilang mga slogan na binabandila doon sa pagkilos nila na napakalayo sa El Niño iyong mga isinisigaw nilang mga adbokasiya at wala namang kinalaman doon sa usaping dapat ay tinatalakay doon,” Coloma reported.

“ Kaya hindi lang iilan ang nagtatanong na kung bakit ganiyan ang napansin diyan at baka maaaring ginagamit ng mga nais magsamantala sa sitwasyon ang okasyong ito upang lumikha lamang ng propaganda at upang linlangin ang ating mga mamamayan. Tamang-tamang naganap din ito sa kasagsagan ng kampanyang pang-eleksiyon,” he added.

Coloma also claimed that misinformation may also have led to the rally. He said that Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala informed them that there is a possibility that the farmers were made to believe that rice would be distributed at the rally.

He said the Department of Social Welfare and Development also conducted a stress debriefing and asked parties involved for their firsthand account of the Kidapawan incident.

“Ito ay normal na ginagawa ng DSWD kapag mayroong kritikal o traumatic na insidenteng nagaganap, kinakausap iyong mga lumahok para makapagbigay sila ng kanilang aktuwal at first hand na karanasan hinggil doon sa mga naganap. At isa nga iyan doon sa mga nakalap natin na impormasyon na maaaring maraming mga lumahok doon ay binigyan ng mali at mapanlinlang na impormasyon,” Coloma said.

He said the governor of North Cotabato even asked for a dialogue with the protesters, however, they refused to attend.

While the administration awaits the result of a Commission on Human Rights probe into the incident, the palace official asked the public to look into the background and context of the Kidapawan dispersal first before they blame the government.

“Kailangang maunawaan ng ating mga kababayan na ito ay isang kaganapang hindi naman natin nais maganap at hindi rin dapat ito maging okasyon upang tayo ay linlangin at lokohin ng mga nais maghasik ng kasinungalingan,” Coloma said.

Coloma said the rally affected the industry and economy of Kidapawan City since the protest blocked the Cotabato-Davao Highway.

The Kidapawan City rally started on Wednesday when farmers demanded for government response to the hunger their community is facing amid drought. It led to a violent clash between protesters and police.

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