Administration standard bearer Mar Roxas has decided to cancel the sorties he had scheduled in several provinces in Mindanao Saturday (April 2), a day after violence erupted during a protest of farmers in Kidapawan, Cotabato City.
Reporters covering Roxas were able to go back to Manila a day earlier than scheduled because his team called off the campaign activities he scheduled in Basilan, Zamboanga, Sulu and Tawi-tawi.
The Liberal Party’s presidential candidate and his team might have cancelled the last leg of their Mindanao campaign to avoid backlash from the public over the violent dispersal of Cotabato farmers.
A source in the LP camp claimed the visit had been cancelled a day before the April 1 dispersal. The team also allegedly experienced difficulty preparing for the visit days before the bloody clash.
At least three were killed and 40 others were injured in a clash with policemen during a rally peasants staged along Kidapawan Highway to ask for the local government’s help in dealing with the El Niño crisis that has cost them their livelihood and left their families hungry.
North Cotabato Governor Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza, whom the farmers had sought a dialogue with, is an LP stalwart.
Roxas’ rivals such as Vice President Jejomar Binay and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte have scored the government over the incident, saying the farmers’ demands for assistance should not have been met with violence.