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Saturday, April 2, 2016

Farmer commits suicide in Mindanao because of Drought (What is the gov't doing to help?)

An-An Sambiar shows the photo of her husband she claimed to have committed suicide by hanging due to drought and frustrations. (Ferdinandh Cabrera)
It is so heartbreaking to read that starving farmers who were asking for food aid had to be shot by government forces.

The government knew what the effects of El Niño would be but didn't act. The story below written by By Ferdianandh Cabrera of the INDIGENOUS PEOPLES NEWS last Februay 6, 2016 titled "Drought forces farmer to end life in Maguindanao, 2 minors die of dry-spell related disease" will give you a better picture of what has been happening.

Drought forces farmer to end life in Maguindanao, 2 minors die of dry-spell related disease"
By Ferdianandh Cabrera of the INDIGENOUS PEOPLES NEWS - February 6, 2016

SOUTH UPI, Maguindanao (Feb. 6) – Drought has taken its toll on Indigenous Peoples’ farmers in Maguindanao.  Worst, it has taken its toll on humans in a remote village who, out of frustrations for farm losses, literally ended their lives.

Jimmy Sambiar, 36, an IP corn farmer, was so depressed that his two cropping season both failed.   An-An Sambiar, Jimmy’s wife, recalled that his corn crops were devastated by rat attacks in previous planting season last year.  His depression started then, she said.

Hoping to recover, Jimmy tried the second time around.  But the drought set in, destroying his corn crops already in its vegetative stage.

Fighting his depression for previous planting season, Jimmy was hoping to, at least harvest, and regain losses in previous crops.
DROUGHT CIRCA 2015 A farming family stands in the middle of what was left of their rice field—cracks and dried soil—during the drought that hit the town of M’lang in North Cotabato province. KARLOS MANLUPIG/INQUIRER MINDANAO
He failed as his one hectare corn field has turned into brown due to extreme heat and lack of rain.   An-An said Jimmy kept on telling himself how could he feed his family of five with two failed cropping season.

“He was so frustrated, he would not accept reasoning, he became indifferent,” An-An said in Filipino.   Jimmy decided to end his life by hanging, using a rope of his youngest child’s hammock. The couple had three minor children.

“Life is at its worst,” she added. “There were times we have nothing to eat, we work on our neighbor’s farm to get food in return but they too have nothing like us.”

“I leave it all to God, He has reasons why we have to suffer this fate,” An-An said, adding she, as both father and mother to her children, has no option but to work hard for their future.

Government health officials said they will provide psychosocial debriefing on An-An so she could cope with losing a breadwinner.

Remy Sioson, South Upi vice mayor, said it was the worst season for corn farmers in the village of Kiga inhabited mostly by Teduday farmers.

Sioson said 95 percent of South Upi’s population are into corn farming because it is situated upland.  “We have no irrigation, so we rely on rains,” he said.   “If farming fails, about 95 percent of the population suffer as it is happening now due to drought,” Sioson said.

On Friday, the Maguindanao provincial government sent a relief team to Barangay Kiga.  Dusty, dry surroundings, brown farm fields greeted provincial relief workers as they climbed up the village.

More than 700 corn farmers and upland rice peasants waited from morning to afternoon to receive relief assistance from the provincial relief team that reached the village of Kiga late Friday afternoon.   Relieved, the farmers walked home smiling with both hands full of food items from the provincial government.

Others loaded the relief goods to the lone mode of cargo and transportation in Barangay Kiga – a horse.   One horse carries food stuffs from two or three families.

Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Toto Mangudadatu said cloud seeding operation will soon take place in Maguindanao, especially in upland communities.

While rain inducing operations are yet to start, Mangudadatu said the provincial government has started relief distribution and medical outreach program to severely affected farmers.

Mangudadatu said two children have died in South Upi due to preventable disease. He said the children did not reach village’ health station due to distance and extreme heat.

Aside from rice and sardines, Mangudadatu’s relief team also distributed fresh tilapia and bangus from his family owned fish pond as part of his personal contribution to drought-affected farmers in South Upi. (Ferdinandh Cabrera)

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