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Dumaguete City, Philippines Friday, October 21, 2016
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Groups mark Peasant,
World Food days

Around 100 people marched around the streets of Dumaguete City and ended up at Rizal Boulevard yesterday afternoon for a brief rally to commemorate Peasant Day and the World Food Day ahead of its regular observance today.

Candido Ebarle, secretary general of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan local chapter, told reporters that they are calling the celebration World Foodless Day instead, referring to the current plight of the poor farmers.

He said the protest march-rally was also held to condemn the violent dispersal by policemen of a rally that was held at the United States Embassy in Manila Wednesday, where policemen and protesters were injured.

It started out as a peaceful protest rally with negotiations between the militants and the police and it was only towards the end of the program when the last speaker was getting ready to deliver his message that a certain Pedroza allegedly ordered the police to disband the group of “Moro”, Ebarle claimed.

He was referring to Sr. Supt. Marcelino Pedrozo, who, along with eight other police officers to include the driver of the police van that plowed into the protesters, were relieved from their posts immediately.

In that incident, a police van was caught on video ramming into the protesters, while water cannons were also trained at them as tension broke out during the rally, and it is very obvious it was the government forces that had started the violent confrontation, Ebarle added.

Meanwhile, Ebarle clarified that they are not opposed to the Philippines breaking ties with the Unites States, but the independent foreign policy they are pushing for is one that is equitable, fair and with a purpose.

He said they have high hopes in the leadership of President Rodrigo Duterte but “we will not turn a blind eye and a deaf ear” on policies that would disenfranchise the poor and marginalized sectors in the community.

Present during the march-rally were members from the provincial formation of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, Kahugpongan Alang sa Mga Gagmayng Mag-uuma sa Oriental Negros, Pamalakaya Guihulngan, National Federation of Sugar Farm Workers, and women's peasant organizations Gabriela and Amihan.

They come from towns and cities of Guihulngan, Manjuyod, Bais, Sta. Catalina, Siaton and Bayawan in Negros Oriental, and carried with them placards, and other printed materials that expressed their individual concerns.

Ebarle said they were able to obtain a mayor's permit for yesterday's march rally that should have been today, but was moved a day ahead because of the Buglasan Festival of Festivals.*JFP



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