April 3, 2016

#BigasHindiBala: Mar Roxas' own Speechwriter admits Gov't Incompetence

A Facebook user named “Mikael De Lara Co” wrote an analysis of the Kidapawan Massacre. It was written as if he’s a disinterested party, despite the fact that he’s one of Malacanang’s spin doctors. His post has made rounds over social media, and is slowly becoming the textbook explanation for government apologists.

Before we go into his statement, let Thinking Pinoy give you a brief background on Co.

After a bit of sleuthing, I found out that this he is actually Jan Mikael dL Co, the Senior Presidential Speechwriter and Assistant Executive Secretary at the Office of the President/PCDSPO since June 2010. He was also Mar Roxas’ official speechwriter when the latter was still a senator. That’s what he said in his LinkedIn Account

Now, let’s scrutinize his Malacanang-flavored defense.

Rowie, feel ko dapat mas maraming makabasa, post ko ito as status ha. In response to "is aid reaching farmers" and other...
Posted by Mikael De Lara Co on Saturday, April 2, 2016

Co raised seven points:
  1. Ongoing Aid from DA
  2. Direct Food Aid
  3. Presence of Alternatives
  4. Fear of COA
  5. Police Deployment
  6. NPA Angle
  7. Protesters’ Impatience

Hindi ako pala-patol sa mga random facebook posts. However, this comes from Malacanang's own spin doctor / spit writer / propaganda machine, so sige, pagbigyan natin.

Let’s discuss these points one by one.

1: Ongoing Aid from DA

Co: There are ongoing DA interventions for this, primarily cloud-seeding, and aid re: drought-resistant crops. Maraming nakakuha nito. Since February, ongoing yan, may dialogues, etc. Maraming natulungang farmers at talagang maling sabihin na "walang tinulong" at hinayaan lang sila.”

Now, let’s list down some facts:
  • El Nino hit Mindanao in October 2015 and at least Php 90 million worth of crops have been destroyed in South Cotabato alone [MindaNews].
  • The government took the first concrete step when the Department of Agriculture (DA), in cooperation with PAGASA, started its Central Mindanao cloud-seeding project on 26 January 2016 [Inquirer].
  • PAGASA, however, decided to suspend cloud-seeding operations on 02 March 2016 because of safety concerns [Philstar].
  • Moreover, as of 17 February 2016, DA has yet to start distributing drought-resistant crops [Mindanews].

First, for a period of almost four months from October 2015 to late January 2016, there was no rain in Central Mindanao. Now, we all know that farmers usually live hand-to-mouth, i.e. we cannot expect them to have enough food supplies to last for more than a few months. Second, the cloud seeding project lasted for barely over a month. Under ideal conditions, rice takes at least 4 months to reach maturity while corn takes at least 2. That cloud seeding operation did little to nothing in helping Mindanao crops grow.

And did Roxas' minion miss the memo that cloud seeding as drought mitigation is ineffective to begin with?

Third, drought-resistant crops were introduced late February 2016, there is no way anyone can turn them into food by late March.

Fourth, I will agree that it’s technically wrong to say “walang itinulong”, but it’s absurd for C to insinuate that farmers should somewhat be contented with whatever trivial or sorely late aid they received. Remember that the Kidapawan farmer-rallyists weren’t asking for seeds or rain, they are already asking for food.

The fact remains: People are already starving. The government provides "solutions", but all the solutions (which happen to be trivial so far) are long- or medium-term. Now, what were the protesters asking for?

A short-term, immediate, temporary solution: FOOD.

2: Direct Food Aid

“Co: The way I understand it, choke point seems to be at LGU level. NFA is the steward of rice it can't just release. LGUs and even DSWD must transact with NFA. Sa LGU side, ang basa ko, if no appropriated funds for this, answer is calamity fund. Which needs state of calamity to be tapped. Which needs local bureaucracy green light.

In any case, ang basa ko sa Kidapawan: State of calamity, kaya si Gov Mendoza was able to procure. BUT only for her own constituency. Yung mga dayo, it can't be justified (mako-COA siya) na basta ibigay lang. Kaya may nag-disperse before yesterday, e. Yung mga natira, dayo from other provinces, along with other cause-oriented organizers.

Now, let’s list down the facts.
  1. North Cotabato was placed under a state of calamity on 22 January 2016 [CNN], four months after El Nino struck. At this point, over Php 238 million worth of crops were already destroyed. By March 2016, the crop damage has amounted to Php 1 billion. [Inquirer]
  2. TP has tried searching for incidences of food aid distribution in Cotabato prior to 20 March 2016, but there’s none. The only mention was when Mayor Arthur Davin “prepared food aid”, but Davin is a mayor in Davao del Sur, not North Cotabato [Inquirer].
  3. The most severely North Cotabato towns were Alamada, Pigcawayan, Kabacan, Matalam, Aleosan, Mlang, Magpet, Pikit, Tulunan, Carmen and Kidapawan [Inquirer].
  4. As of 10 Feb 2016, Tulunan residents were reported to be leaving for other areas to look for ways to feed their families [Inquirer]. 
  5. The drought has wrought severe despair among common people. In February, a man committed suicide because he  was "so worried about where to look for food for his family as his crops had all died" [Inquirer]. Maguindanao is right beside North Cotabato.
  6. The best the LGU can offer is Three (3) KILOGRAMS of rice per Three (3) months. Kalokohan.[Interaksyon]. So basically, THERE IS NO OFFER OF FOOD AID.

First, Gov. Mendoza did declare a state of calamity in late January 2016, but what’s important is what happened after that fact. It is clear that North Cotabato residents, like those from Tulunan, are very hungry as of late February 2016.

TP has done a Google search for “North Cotabato Food Aid” articles dated between 01 February 2016 and 30 March 2016, and there was none. Politicians in general love to gain publicity when they conduct such projects, so the absence of any mention about North Cotabato food aid distributions since mid-February 2016 likely implies that there was none.

In short, no food aid was provided to date.

Second, 7 out of 8 of those who were identified injured are from North Cotabato and one is probably too injured to say where he came from. Those identifed injured were [Interaksyon]:
  1. Roger Imuy 48, from Antipas, North Cotabato
  2. Leo Deyong, 28, from Magpet, North Cotabato
  3. Darwin Madiao, 18, Mapget, North Cotabato
  4. Roland Jampas, 26, Arakan, North Cotabato
  5. Mario Ansabo, 47, Arakan, North Cotabato
  6. Alce Awi, 35 (hometown still unidentified)
  7. Ejay Salaber, 54, Arakan North Cotabato
  8. Ricky Maat, 23, Magpet, North Cotabato
  9. Rodolfo Tanyo, 61, Arakan, North Cotabato

How can North Cotabato Governor Mendoza claim that these are not her constituents? Sa dami ng ipinutok na bala ng mga pulis, walang tinamaan ni isang hindi taga-Cotabato?

Third, let’s assume that there were non-constituents among the protesters and that Mendoza said she can’t release food to non-constituents.

Just because they aren’t under her doesn’t mean she can just disregard their concerns. Before being a governor, one has to be a human being. And even if she’s the devil incarnate, she should’ve thought about the ramifications of her stupidity on Mar Roxas’ desperate presidential ambitions.

Fourth, the farmer rallyists have been there for at least 4 days as of morning 01April 2016, yet there was no mention of Gov. Mendoza reaching out to the LGUs where the non-Cotabato rallyists belong. If this isn’t gross negligence, this is gross incompetence.

No, this alibi doesn’t add up. 

3: DSWD Cash-for-Work

“CO: So paano kung walang state of calamity? DSWD cash-for-work ang puwedeng mechanism. But this has to happen at the farmers' own barangay level. Yan ang sinabi nila sa farmers -- may cash-for-work, uwi na kayo, coordinate with your barangay and LGU. This kind of thing ang dapat i-accelerate. LGUs must be proactive. Hindi abang, kundi dadayuhin nila ang mga El Nino hit areas, among others.”

Ridiculous. We are faced with thousands of starving farmers with their families in tow, desperately begging for food and their last meal was from god-knows-when. And you want to make them work before you feed them?

Kaugali mo ang amo mong si Mar, may haciendero mentality. Namamatay na sa gutom ang tao, tapos bago mo bigyan ng tinapay, gusto mo magbanat muna ng buto?

Did someone hit you in the head when you were a baby? Kung hindi, ako na ang mag-uuntog sa iyo.

4: LGU fears COA

“CO: Which brings me to the sentiment which prompted me to post the Vicky G status. The lens from which most people are viewing this is humanitarian. Totoong may aspect namang ganun-- pero kung yun lang ang aspect, dapat ang daling mag-usap, di ba? Engage, find ways to work within rules, find compromise or workable solution.

Pero yun nga, hindi lang humanitarian ito: May dahilan kung bakit hindi lang North Cotabato residents ang isinama sa mobilization (dineceive na sumama?) Kasi nga alam na tali ang LGU sa pagrespond -- hindi puwedeng basta mamigay ka ng bigas sa hindi mo constituents. Ang mga nasa gobyerno, gets na gets yan. Nakakatakot ang COA. Nakakatakot mag-realign nang basta-basta.”

First, let’s ask the question about why some rallyists could have been “na-deceive na sumama”. The answer is simple: they’re hungry too. Would you seriously think that random impoverished Filipinos will bother to join a rally for no reason or worse, for propaganda? Gutom na nga, ibibilad pa sa araw ng ilang araw, mababalya pa? Kung ako yung gutom na magsasaka, gago ba ako para makisimpatya pa sa NPA?

Second, it’s true that LGUs can’t give rice to non-constituents, but the fact remains that these non-constituents are Filipinos too. Why hasn’t the national government taken over? The starving protesters have been there for 4 days, and the government is more afraid of COA’s wrath than the people’s anger? Jesus Christ, what have we become?

5: Police Deployment

“Co: May opinyon ako, pero may mga tanong din na dapat masagot. Sa videos, naka-M16 ang ibang pulis. Rubber bullets ba yan? Kung hindi, what prompted their deployment? May imminent threat ba? Pinaputukan ba ang pulis? In that case, out the window ang protocol na unarmed dapat tumugon. Hindi kaya ng Civil Disturbance Management Units kung sila mismo pinapaputukan. Ito ang dapat masagot ng investigation.

UPDATE 1: I note that initial reports say na hindi gunshot wounds ang cause of death ng casualties. But then again, yun pa rin ang tanong: Proportional ba ang use of force, excessive ba, maximum tolerance ba, dispersal pa rin ba ang naging mission objective, o may kasama bang pagka bad trip galing sa mga pulis?

UPDATE 2: May bullet wounds daw pala sa cause of death as per updated info.”

May pa-update-update ka pa, e sa Malacanang ka nagtratrabaho. Iuuntog kita e.

First, was there are imminent threat? No, there wasn’t. News about the protest have been circulating since Day 1 and there was no mention of armed protesters. That is, until shit hit the fan and the PNP had to find an alibi.

Second, Gov. Mendoza didn’t even bother to negotiate with the protesters, and the best the LGU can come up with is “you have to disperse because you’re inconveniencing people with your blockade.” No promises of rice, no nothing. One of the protesters even told the police, “Don’t appeal for our voluntary dispersal, appeal to the government for rice subsidies.”

PNP and AFP proceeded with the dispersal anyway, using water cannons. See the video below:

Policeman: Naga-appeal kami sa inyo na itong area [ay lisanin niyo na].Negotiator: Instead of [you] appealing to us,...
Posted by The Thinking Pinoy on Friday, April 1, 2016

, imagine you’re a hungry farmer, protesting under the scorching heat of the sun for days, with your kids in tow because there’s no one to look after them and there’s no food at home. Then the government decides it won’t help you, so you and your loved ones are faced with the prospect of death from starvation. To add insult to injury, they bombard you using water cannons, what would you do?

The least you can do is throw rocks at them fucking idiots.

And when other LGUs like Davao's sent food aid, this is what Mendoza had to say:

NoCot LGU blames farmers' "propaganda"N. Cotabato Gov Lala Mendoza claims more police were wounded and hurt than farmers.Learn more: http://www.thinkingpinoy.net/2016/04/bigashindibala-duterte-roxas-kidapawan.html #BigasHindiBala #StopLumadKillings#PHVote #Halalan2016 #BilangPilipino #Duterte2016 #Roxas2016 #Poe2016 #Binay2016 #Miriam2016
Posted by The Thinking Pinoy on Saturday, April 2, 2016

Third, some argued that the police were fired upon first.Now, refer to the following video:

Kidapawan City MassacreNanlilimos ng bigas ang mga gutom na gutom na magsasaka. Imbes na palamunin ng kanin, pinalamon niyo ng bala.Ang bayan ko, ang bayan ko!Nanginginig ako sa galit. Putangina, sige, Roxas pa. #BigasHindiBala #Roxas2016 #LiberalParty #Duterte2016 #Poe2016 #Binay2016 #Miriam2016 #PHvote #Bilangpilipino #Halalan2016
Posted by The Thinking Pinoy on Friday, April 1, 2016

Now, here's another 16-minute unedited video taken by media crew from DXCD - EDGE 101.5 FM:

Kidapawan Massacre: 16-minute unedited videoKidapawan Massacre: 16-minute unedited video From: DXCD - EDGE 101.5 FM RADIO Learn More: http://www.thinkingpinoy.net/2016/04/bigashindibala-mar-roxas-own.html#BigasHindiBala #DaangMatuwid #StopLumadKillings #Poe2016 #Duterte2016 #Binay2016 #RoxasRobredo #Roxas2016 #Halalan2016 #PHVote #BilangPilipino
Posted by The Thinking Pinoy on Saturday, April 2, 2016

Clearly, the EDGE crew said police were firing guns, not the other way around.

Fourth, to make matters worse, that 16-minute video showed the police requesting the protesters to hand over pregnant women and kids to the DSWD and DOH before the dispersal, but one minute after that statement, before the farmers can even decide on what to do with their women and kids, the police started their dispersal operation.

There were children and pregnant women among that crowd, but the police did not even give the protesters ample time to ensure the safety of their most vulnerable members. Kung i-water cannon ang anak mo o ang asawa mong buntis, hindi ka rin ba magwawala?

Fifth, let's assume that some protesters did fire bullets. The entire premise of Co's argument rests on the claim that farmers had guns before the dispersal. But we know that a large number policemen were injured during the dispersal, so what are the chances that a farmer is able to pick up one of the downed cops' guns and use it?

Aba, kung ikaw ang farmer at binabaril ang pamilya mo? Hindi mo ba pupulutin ang baril ng isang tumumbang pulis para gumanti? Alam kong hindi ito tama, pero given the situation, would it be totally unforgivable? I do not think so.

For those farmers, those are the moments where their instinct for self-preservation becomes more important than anything else. That is human nature. That is Natural Law.

6: NPA Involvement

CO: Again, hindi lang humanitarian, pero dapat silipin ang political aspect. Orchestrated mobilization ito. Yung mga alam ang diskarteng Kaliwa, gets ito. Agitate, Organize, Mobilize. Hanapin ang choke points ng bureaucracy. Kailangang idiin na ang motivations nito ay at least equal parts political and humanitarian, perhaps the former even more so than the latter.

Coincidence ba na ang NPA anniversary ay March 29, at nagsimula ang blockade ng madaling araw ng March 30? Annual ritual na ang mass mob pag anniversary nila; don't get me started on that. May mga police reports na-- I think they're collating lang for a single narrative statement-- na isa sa mga casualties, positive for paraffin. May reports ng putok galing sa side ng rallyists. May slugs ng .38 at .45 sa area; 9mm ang standard issue sa police. May nahuling NPA commander.”
Point being: I think unfair sa lahat ang simplistic "Bigas hindi Bala" sentiment, kasi sa totoo lang, ginagawa naman ang lahat para ibigay ang "bigas" e. Higit pa. Sino ba talaga ang nagdala ng pangyayari sa "bala"? Kapag hinubad ang drought assistance aspect nito, doon tayo mauuwi: There are political agendas at work behind this. Vicky G's post doesn't even begin to paint the entire picture.”

First, talagang sa NPA mo isisisi dahil kung hindi, si Boss Mar mo ang tatamaan.

A. PNP said one of the casualties tested positive for gunshot residue, i.e. the dead guy fired a gun, presumably before he died.

B. A large part of the blame for this incident is directed at the police. That is, the PNP is on the defensive.

C. Who conducts the paraffin test and the investigation? The PNP.

Given these three, it boils down to one side’s word against the other. On one hand, the dead guy could have actually fired a gun during the dispersal. On the other hand, the police could have planted gunshot residues on the cadaver for the latter to test positive. The same logic applies for the .38 and .45 slugs.

This is the problem when the accused also conveniently happens to be the investigator.

Parang nagsumbong ka na lang rin sa rapist na na-rape ka.

The fact remains that the LGU has not even engaged the farmers in dialogue at any point prior to the dispersal. Authorities did not even tell them – even in passing – that help is on its way. Tapos, ang gusto ng pulis e basta mag-uwian na lang sila.

Second, the question remains: what’s so special about Protest Day 4? Why did the police decide to disperse them on that day? Why not on Day 2 or Day 3? Dahil daw they have been receiving formal complaints from Kidapawan residents?

Any self-respecting LGU will not require the receipt of complaints to realize that a blockage of a national road is a pressing issue. If they really wanted to disperse the rallyists on those grounds, they would’ve done it sooner.

O baka dahil nasa kabilang bayan na si Senyorito Mar Roxas at walang dadaanan ang convoy niya?

While farmers and lumads were demonstrating on Kidapawan National Highway, here's North Cotabato Governor Lala Mendoza...
Posted by The Thinking Pinoy on Friday, April 1, 2016

Third, as for the NPA anniversary angle, that sounds more like a conspiracy theory than anything else. Kailangan bang humanap na ng NPA ng auspicious date para sa ganitong aksyon? Ano yan, parang Chinese New Year? Kung terorista ako o rebelde, I will strike at every opportunity, hindi ako ‘yong itatapat pa sa kung anong special date ang atake. Aarte.

But let's set things straight: Yes, there may be an NPA angle, pero kung tinulungan agad ng LGU/Nat'l Gov't ang mga nagugutom, will the NPA have seeds of discord to capitalize on?

I think not.

Fourth, that there are political agenda at work behind this.

You see thousands of hungry farmers begging for food, and you still have the balls to consider politicking as a credible defence? Yes, a political motive may be present, but is it the most pressing concern? The farmers weren’t asking for the legalization of divorce, gay marriage, or marijuana. They were asking for food. Kesehodang NPA, MILF o MNLF yan, Pilipino yang nagugutom.

I do not support Roxas, pero if a Roxas supporter knocks on my door, begging for food, I’ll fucking feed him first before saying a word.

Susmaryosep, you did not forget to post on facebook, but you forgot your humanity.

Fifth,  I will believe the investigation if PNP can show impartiality.

On Saturday, however, GMA News correspondent Saleema Refran reported "SILG Sarmiento, ginawaran ng Medalya ng Sugatang Magiting ang mga sugatang pulis sa Kidapawan".

This was just a few hours after the bloody incident, the investigation is still underway, hindi pa alam kung sino may kasalanan, tapos aawardan niyo na agad ang mga pulis? Tapos, gusto niyong maniwala kami sa imbestigasyon niyo?

Lakas makaloko ha.

7: Protesters' Impatience

“CO: Alam ko: The best answer here is, "Ganito ang kulang, gets namin kayo, next week meron na" kung ganoong kadali lang, di ba? Hindi e. Ganito nag-evolve ang government, dahil sa history natin -- cumbersome, ang daming checks and balances, na-oobscure na ang intention na tumulong dahil sa buhol-buhol na shit ng burukrasya, dahil ang daming nagnakaw dati. Hindi siya parang, as you say, Globe na may call center tapos madaling magdemand na, "Sagutin mo ang concern ko now na."

Siguro dapat minsan sa buhay ng lahat ng tao makaramdam silang magtrabaho sa gobyerno, para magets nang solid ito. Pero may nagta-try, sa kabila ng lahat, sa kabila ng open hostility from some quarters, sa kabila ng agenda na ang strategic objective naman talaga e itumba ang lahat ng ito para mag-install ng isang world order na feel nila okey. Sa huli, tama ang natutuhan ko diyan sa Katipunan:Padayon lang.”

Again, with the preface "alam ko", he attempts to sound like a disinterested party, despite being Mar Roxas' speechwriter from 2008 to 2010.

Going back to the issue... it was clear in one of the videos posted above that the police wanted the crowd to disperse without any clear promise of food aid.

As for the massive red tape, yes, Co is right. However, how bad could this red tape be when we already know in early 2015 at the latest that El Nino is coming? El Nino hit North Cotabato and it took four months before Mendoza declared a state of calamity. Six months have passed and there was still no food aid. With over a year and half of nothing, is red tape still a satisfactory alibi?

Now it’s funny that Co mentioned the problem of bureaucratic red tape being so entrenched in the system and with the same breath, demonized NPA. Has it not occurred to him that that exact kind of government incompetence turns poor hardworking people into rebels?

TP does not agree with communist ideologies, but I sure do understand why they’re there.

So many Filipinos are so busy giving the government the benefit of the doubt. 

Why don't they, for once, give that to powerless, disenfranchised, and impoverished citizens?

Despite that, I am happy that he still mentioned it.

Why? Because now, it’s clear to me that it’s time to end this “cumbersome” government.

Considering that Mar Roxas is Co's boss, it's safe to say that "the cumbersome bureacracy" will again be their alibi next time a crisis hits our country.

Just like Mar's excuse for the botched Yolanda rehab.

Just like Mar's excuse for the MRT mess.

Just like Mar's excuse for the non-passage of Freedom of Information.

Don't forget: this admission of incompetence comes from Mikael Co, Mar Roxas' own speechwriter.




The blaming game started right after the Kidapawan Massacre. Farmers blame the government, the latter blames NPA...
Posted by The Thinking Pinoy on Monday, April 4, 2016


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