MANILA - The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Sunday said it has already asked its regional offices to probe the alleged harassment of an onion farmer.
The DILG said it has ordered its Region 1 and Pangasinan provincial offices to investigate reports that an onion farmer was harassed by policemen after she testified in the Senate's investigation into the soaring prices of local onions.
In a statement, DILG said Secretary Benhur Abalos has already ordered the local DILG offices to look into the incident. The Philippine National Police (PNP), through PNP Chief Rodolfo Azurin Jr., has also started its own probe.
Abalos reminded the police to follow the rule of law and established protocols to prevent any misunderstanding between the police and civilians.
He also said the DILG will give updates on their investigation.
Last week, onion grower Merly Gallardo was among the farmers who told a Senate committee their lives are getting more difficult, due to piling debts, among others.
Traders only bought their produce to a maximum of P20 per kilo, leaving them with huge capital losses, Gallardo said.
But two days after she shared their ordeal with senators, policemen allegedly visited her home in Bayambang, Pangasinan eight times, asking about her late husband who took his own life, as well as four other farmers who also killed themselves.
Senator Imee Marcos has earlier told the police to stay away from the farmers who testified before the Senate, adding that it was done under the order of the DILG and the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).