MANILA, Philippines – Senatorial candidate Richard Gordon slammed the government on Friday, April 15, over a deadly farmers’ protest linked to drought in the southern Philippines.
“That’s all lack of vision,” Gordon said during the second #TheLeaderIWant senatorial debate organized by Rappler. (READ: The Leader I Want: Richard Gordon’s to-fix list)
Gordon was referring to the Kidapawan protest that killed at least two people and injured hundreds. (READ: Kidapawan and the rice riots)
The farmers staged the protest to demand the release of calamity funds and 15,000 sacks of rice, among other things.
Gordon, a long-time Olongapo City mayor who now chairs the Philippine Red Cross, said that “what happened in Kidapawan could have been predicted.”
To address the effects of the El Niño, for instance, the government could have “converted” the land.
Gordon hits ‘boutique politics’
“What we need is vision,” said Gordon, who said he authored the national disaster risk reduction law and put the words “risk reduction” there.
Gordon was later asked by senatorial candidate Leila de Lima, the Philippines’ former justice chief, what “legal infrastructure” he wants to put in place to address the problem.
Gordon responded, “The problem with this government is they have all the laws and they don’t enforce the law.”
He also criticized “boutique politics in our legislation.”
The Kidapawan protest was tackled, too, in the first #TheLeaderIWant senatorial debate organized by Rappler.
In the first debate, senatorial candidate Lorna Kapunan said, “The Kidapawan incident will happen again because this government has not addressed the issue of climate change and climate justice.” – Rappler.com
Paterno R. Esmaquel II is a senior reporter leading Rappler’s coverage of religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at email@example.com.