Kidapawan ‘massacre’: Aquino government falls victim to Victim Mentality Activism

There is an important lesson in the alleged “massacre” of hungry farmers in Kidapawan, North Cotabato during an allegedly “violent” dispersal of a protest rally there. The lesson is that it is easy for a sitting president to be blamed for “atrocities” allegedly committed by the police and the military. Why is this an important lesson? Because the Kidapawan incident has highlighted the fundamental flaw in the arguments coming from all political camps surrounding what constitutes an “evil” and “oppressive” regime.

The Kidapawan massacre was really just supposed to be all about rice.
The Kidapawan massacre was really just supposed to be all about rice.
Indeed, the same shrill voices of indignation being raised from a who’s-who of social media “activists” in the days following this so-called “massacre” echoes the same shrill voices of indignation that characterise the “Never Again” movement that demonises former President Ferdinand Marcos for alleged “atrocities” he supposedly masterminded during his supposedly “brutal” Martial Law “regime”.

It is quite ironic that we now find the Yellow mob of President Benigno Simeon “BS” Aquino pleading plausible deniability on behalf of the sitting president (presumably to save the dead-in-the-water candidacy of Liberal Party bet Mar Roxas). It is, one cannot emphasise enough, the very same argument that people in the Marcos camp, themselves, assert that Marcos, during his rule, had no way of exercising direct control over all armed state services and, therefore, cannot be held accountable for all of the alleged atrocities his so-called “victims” are shrieking about.

Funny, indeed, how minions’ perspectives change when one is in power.

As for those who are quick to cry bloody murder on behalf of the massacre victims, the mere existence of “outrage” is no excuse to be making shrill pronouncements on the back of unreliable information.

There are only two key sources of information on what happened in Kidapawan — the account of the police and the account of the organisers (or shall we say, incitors. Flawed (at best) and crooked (at alleged worst) the Philippine National Police (PNP) may be, there is, at least, some science in the methods they apply to investigating incidents the results of which are, in turn, subject to institutional checks-and-balances. Their competing source of “information” on Kidapawan are the accounts of the infiltrators of the 1st April farmers’ protest rally — the communist lackeys in the all-too-familiar cast of characters, Anakpawis, the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), and so-called “womens’ issues” advocate Gabriela. These groups, in contrast, do not apply a systematic method in the way they arrive at their conclusions, are not held accountable to the accuracy of their published communications, nor are their operations subject to scrutiny and inquiry by third parties. They are also known anarchists and apply a violent ideology to most of their social “causes”.

Nobody disagrees that there is a “high level of moral outrage” inherent in this incident. But (1) having a penchant for acting on feelings and (2) having the intellectual discipline and honesty to systematically think through an issue is what sets aside the men from the boys — or, in that regard, the men from the girlie “activists” who infest the fashionable chatter of the week.

Indeed, one account of the incident published by Business World Online relates the plight of a police officer critically injured by members of the protesting mob in Kidawan…

KIDAPAWAN CITY — Rosalie Ann Untalan sat in a corner outside the intensive care unit (ICU) of the Kidapawan Doctors, Inc., on Saturday afternoon, waiting for news on the condition of her husband, SPO2 Ricky Untalan of M’lang Police Station.

Ms. Untalan, a teacher who also works as secretary to the president of the Southern Baptist College here, told reporters on Saturday that every 20 minutes she goes inside the ICU to check on her husband, who had been fighting for his life since he was rushed to the hospital last Friday.

A video footage taken by a drone camera of the City Government of Kidapawan showed her husband was left behind when the police line was broken by angry protesters who returned after having been initially dispersed by water cannons. Alone amidst the protesters, he was beaten up.

Ms. Untalan said her husband’s head was “damaged” and he has not opened his eyes yet.

There is also evidence that gunfire was not a one-way affair in favour of the police on that fateful day…

According to a statement of Chief Supt. Wilben M. Mayor, spokesperson of the Philippine National Police, another police officer, PO2 Reynaldo Roque, sustained a gunshot wound in his left leg. Mr. Roque is currently confined at the Kidapawan Doctors’ Hospital.

Consistent with this account, a PNP Scene of Crime Operations (SOCO) report released earlier revealed evidence that some of the rallyists may, indeed, have discharged firearms in the heat of the melee.

Quite interesting then that the very same social media shills who expressed noisy outrage over the massacre of 44 PNP Special Action Force officers by elements of the terrorist Moro Islamic Liberation Front back in 2015 now paint the police as savage brutes who shoot to kill protesting “farmers”. Yet herein is proof that these “farmers” are not that innocent after all; evidently, themselves, all-too-capable of the very same brutality Filipino cops are routinely accused of.

Again, the lesson here needs to be highlighted: that the Philippines, as a society, needs to transform into a thinking society. This is important to ensure that the right questions are asked whenever crises like these erupt and, as an outcome, the right arguments prevail. The alternative is for Filipinos to remain the same intellectually bankrupt people that they are — which will be a monumental tragedy considering that the power to select leaders had long ago been thrust upon them.

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28 Comments on “Kidapawan ‘massacre’: Aquino government falls victim to Victim Mentality Activism”

  1. Thumbs up, mate!
    This has been one of the most polarizing incidents under the yellow admin to date.
    filipinos are very confused on which side is right and wrong, and i find it really annoying when kababayans “debate” it. The false dichotomy kicks in, and no one learns anything. They cant seem to wrap themselves in the idea that is no right, there is no wrong, and there may be more than 2 sides to this story.

  2. Calling the attention of the Ateneo Faculty here…

    Please condemn these “atrocities” and ask for BS Aquino’s apology already.

  3. It doesn’t matter whose side started it all. This fiasco could have been avoided had the government helped the farmers with what was needed long before they had to resort to this rally.

  4. One may look at the violent dispersal this way or that, the main question remains why farmers had to beg for days to receive necessary aid from the government for which a budget had already been set aside. If all had been well, the distribution of rice subsidies to drought affected farmers would have been long underway and consequently no rally would ever have happened.

  5. Quite interesting then that the very same social media shills who expressed noisy outrage over the massacre of 44 PNP Special Action Force officers by elements of the terrorist Moro Islamic Liberation Front back in 2015 now paint the police as savage brutes who shoot to kill protesting “farmers”.

    Really loved reading this part. Stupidity, hypocrisy, and ignorance in social media is just so infuriating.

  6. Even I got corrected on my initial assumptions. At first, it seemed like the instigator involvement was remote, but now it should have been obvious from the start. And it could be traced to neglect by the government there. Some say it was deliberate neglect. Could be. But for sure, the reds found fuel for a new instigation, and it worked. For the PNP side, despite their valor, they were still ill-equipped for the purpose. But perhaps they were intending to run a firefight than an riot line, expecting to nab some reds in the process. I wonder if the ones killed were only reds, because if a real farmer or lumad got killed, then it’s a big mistake. But reds certainly share the responsibility for blood spilled.

    1. Neglect could fairly describe the way the police conducted its crowd control and dispersal operation in Kidapawan. But in the case of the commies who instigated the “protest” and incited the mob, neglect is too generous a word. These “cause-oriented groups” deliberately led the protesters towards disruptive and provocative behaviour.

  7. Filipinos will apply their double-standard logic as long as it helps support their agenda. First they choose which side they want to be on; then they formulate the logic (no matter how twisted) to prove the other side is at fault.

    Tax payers will then pour in copious amounts to fund a senate hearing on the matter only to come to an expected conclusion: Justice is not served, and everyone goes back to their homes to watch their favorite crap shows.

    An endless meaningless cycle that produces nothing of value. Meanwhile Tesla just got billions in preorders for their new car model. It pays to be smart, right Elon?

  8. The government already know about these “mapagsamantala” groups. And they had all the time in the world to prevent and even cripple these groups significantly in taking advantage of a crisis such as the drought due to El Niño.

    But no. Still the same reactive shit we have seen for decades….

  9. The reason of the Kidapawan Peasants’ rally, was because: they are asking for food (rice) reliefs, to feed their families.

    Why did the Local government, not listened to their plea for food reliefs?

    There was also report, that the Governor, who is a member of the Liberal Party; refused to give food reliefs to the peasants.

    She was waiting to use this food reliefs, as a “carrot and stick”, in exchange for the starving peasants’ votes for Mar Roxas and the Liberal Party candidates.

    Maybe, Mar Roxas was waiting for a Photo Opportunities again. To let himself, be photographed (as “bida”), with his pictures distributed to voters, giving food reliefs to the Kidapawan peasants. Mar Roxas wants, to capitalize this human tragedy of Hunger; to his political advantage.

    There is no one to blame, but the Aquino administration of this tragedy. They have the power to control the National Police. They have the Power, to open dialogue with the starving Kidapawan peasants. They have the power to give go signal, to distribute the food reliefs.

    The tragedy here is: when you use POLITICS, in relief operations. It is the same scenario, as the Typhoon Yolanda Relief efforts, in Leyte.

    The same incompetent man, Mar Roxas, was involved. The same political tactic to take advantage of a tragedy, for political advantage.

    I put mainly the blame on the: Governor, Mar Roxas, Aquino and the YellowTards of the Liberal Party…

    of course, the leftists, also took advantage of the situation, to promote their political agendas. However, this situation could had been easily avoided; if competent hands handled the relief efforts. And Politics was not used as a “carrot and stick”…Same situation as the Pork Barrel Bribery to impeach CJ Corona. Your needs, in exchange for your vote…

  10. just a sideliner, there’s no more need to further the $81 million heist. the pilipinos already knew who these involved in the conspiracy. rcbc, philrem, amlc, pagcor, wong, and go. these are the main players.

    1. There is a “puppeteer” ,hiding behind the shadows, pulling the “strings” at the bank heist conspirators. This “puppeteer” is a high government official.

  11. Benign0, how do we segregate commies and real farmers with grievances? Surely there are real farmers here going for protest. Our farm capital is facing drought yet with lack of government support they needed. Commies wreaking havoc of course is a different thing.

    1. We don’t really need to. The law surrounding the circumstances of this “protest” are quite clear:

      (1) The protesters were subject to a permit to rally issued by the proper authorities;

      (2) The permit lapsed and the police executed orders to disperse the rally; and,

      (3) Protester resisted dispersal and assaulted police officers.

      There is, of course, a lot to be said around the way the police conducted the operation. We need to treat that as a separate issue. The issue surrounding the applicable laws is another one. The only state institution in the land authorised to rule on those matters within the legal framework is a Philippine court.

      The question therefore is, when will this matter be heard in court?

      We want a real democracy? Then we should be subject to the disciplines said democracy aspires to institutionalise.

      1. Laws are made for people, not people for laws. The farmers were in their right to demand the food aid that was supposed to be ready for them. Just saying that their rally permit had expired is tantamount to saying “you had your say, no go back and starve in silence”. The complete lack of compassion of those in power for their constituents says a lot about the ruling elite in this country.

    2. >> how do we segregate commies and real farmers with grievances?

      Sick_Amore, I know that wasn’t directed at me, but the obstacles farmers face are twofold: commercial obstruction, and themselves.

      At least in my part of the Philippines, farmers can’t buy tools or seeds, can’t get good advice, can’t get their land properly surveyed (because the titles are all fake), and get hit up for bribes and taxes from the DENR. So if they have anything to protest about, they should be doing it outside the offices of the DENR, the BIR, and the DAR, all of which are a law unto themselves.

      As for the weather, what exactly do you expect the government to do about that? It’s the dry season. We have a dry season every year. It’s supposed to be dry. There are certain things you can grow through this season, if you invest in irrigation, but mostly you should be letting the soil (and yourself) take a rest. If you’ve done your job right the rest of the year, that’s no hardship. Do you think Canadian farmers go to the government to have the snow removed in winter?

      Surely there are real farmers here going for protest. Our farm capital is facing drought yet with lack of government support they needed.

      1. I would believe the Department of Agriculture exists for this purpose of extending assistance to our farmers, in the form of survival aid from alternative farming methods and technology. And perhaps one can say the difference from Canada is, the farmers there could likely still afford what they need or have other jobs through the winter, while our farmers here though are at a level of poverty that severely limits those options. So they sometimes have no other option than to ask for assistance. And I doubt El Nino necessarily means, stop farming. There are likely ways to keep producing even in dry regions, as it is a necessity for supporting our ever ballooning population.

      2. In my experience, the DoA does have several people with their hearts in the right place. Still, the farmers are their own worst enemy, and agricultural knowledge in the country is still stuck in the dark ages. I can buy nothing except N-P-K and pesticides at my local ag store because that’s what the DoA promotes.

        >> our farmers here though are at a level of poverty that severely limits those options.

        I realise this, and I do have some sympathy with their position, but they say that a problem shared is a problem halved. In the case of, say, fencing, that’s quite literally true (two adjacent farmers can share the cost of a single fence line). Farmers can access a lot of sweat equity, which is a fine substitute for cash. Can’t get seeds for your goat forage? Go out into the hedgerows and collect some. Buy a few starter plants and breed your own landrace. Need compost? Get out there with a bucket and collect carabao manure. All sorts of things become possible when people share knowledge, labour, and ideas.

        >> So they sometimes have no other option than to ask for assistance.

        A bad year might be considered bad luck, and it’s reasonable to ask for assistance. A bad 50 years looks like pure incompetence.

        >> There are likely ways to keep producing even in dry regions.

        There are – but the government doesn’t promote them. It prefers wasteful and unsustainable projects like water diversion for growing rice. No farmer here knows what mulch is. As far as I can figure out there isn’t even a Tagalog word for it. Nobody wants to grow perennial crops that can access deep water. I currently have an invasion of goats, pigs and carabao because my land is one of the few green spots for miles around. The rest of it is a burned-out, chemical-drenched, dessicated wasteland. Nature didn’t do that: people did.

    3. Thanks a lot, you two.

      That was clear, Benign0. Many Filipinos have grievances actually but no matter what those are, it would not justify the unlawful way one chooses to air it because we are in a Democracy. The lack of order in Kidapawan is one that has to do with doing things outside the rule of law and as such has to be dealt with according to what the law dictates. And as per the law, before anything they need a permit for something like this

      So if they have anything to protest about, they should be doing it outside the offices of the DENR, the BIR, and the DAR, all of which are a law unto themselves.

      and not provoked the armed forces by bringing on a riot and using harmful weapons. Actually I’ve read and heard those incidents before that mostly happened during Martial Law. Commies coming to rallies to start a bloody revolt.

      I agree with you, Marcus. You’re right that we can’t do anything about the weather. I guess my concern is the preparation being done before they experience the worst. And so the problem is like what you said

      At least in my part of the Philippines, farmers can’t buy tools or seeds, can’t get good advice, can’t get their land properly surveyed (because the titles are all fake), and get hit up for bribes and taxes from the DENR.

      (to add, indigenous people losing their ancestral lands).

      With the Philippines being a home for many poor farmers, it would help that they are represented well because as we can see now, the ones coming to their aid are not the ones working for the good of their cause. I’ve seen a lot of poor workers who don’t really know what to do to fight for their rights (they would easily take the bait). We have agriculture council and these farmers have their own local government representatives but are their grievances being considered at least? We’ve heard about the rallies the farmers are making from time to time but we haven’t heard yet from the proper sectors working on their causes.

      I think though that the farmers issue was timely brought for the national election. The whole issue regarding our agriculture quarter can be discussed. And how we can achieved order with the use of the law. For one, on land reform involving Hacienda Luisita, are those also being heard in court since land distribution has been long overdue?

      I’m not one to tolerate the victim mentality but given the fact that we really have poor farmers needing assistance and our government allotted a budget for agricultural projects, it follows that the farmers should get these then it will somehow stop farmers rallying on the street.

      1. >> given the fact that we really have poor farmers needing assistance and our government allotted a budget for agricultural projects, it follows that the farmers should get these.

        You would think so, wouldn’t you? However, we all know that government budgets and projects have only one purpose: to hide the fact that the whole lot is being plundered and/or wasted.

        The poor are quite right to stand up and accuse the government of failure: however, it is futile demanding action – that will never happen in our lifetimes. They should be taking action themselves. They have strength in numbers, and vast political power: for some reason, they don’t understand that a group that feeds the entire country (remember, food imports are effectively illegal) has the government by the dangly bits.

        If Filipinos could actually learn to cooperate, everything would be fine. While they’re all busy feuding and pointing fingers at each other, they’re just prime targets for “rebel” groups to exploit.

        >> indigenous people losing their ancestral lands

        Honestly, Sick_Amore, I don’t have a huge problem with that. Or at least I wouldn’t if the land was being handed off to people who would manage it properly. The indigenous tribes seem to be the worst managers of the land that I have ever encountered. Most of them are involved in logging, charcoal-burning, or both. They seem to have zero knowledge of ecology or agroforestry.

        The best solution I can see is for the government to stop giving away land rights, take back misused or idle land that has been given away under CARP, and just lease it out to whoever can demonstrate the knowledge and skill to develop it or farm it. By giving away land to the ignorant and the indolent, the country has destroyed a huge slice of its economic base.

        1. Marius, if I may comment on indigenous people, the issue is not managing the land, but their displacement and resulting homelessness, which brings about risks to their well-being and security. Perhaps one can say that if the new managers or landgrabbers cause these risks to the indigenous people, they would be bad managers already. I do agree with the sense of your last paragraph, that land is best put under those who manage properly. But the issue here is more of landgrabbing than land management. So the final analysis in the end, stop the landgrabbing.

        2. >> So the final analysis in the end, stop the landgrabbing.

          I think we can all agree on that. It’s why I suggested Filipinos are simply not ready for private land ownership. The tragedy is that the government isn’t ready to administer that land either. There is literally nobody who values the country’s natural resources. My comments come largely from despair, not a lack of sympathy with people who are being genuinely wronged.

        3. By giving away land to the ignorant and the indolent, the country has destroyed a huge slice of its economic base.

          Marius, aren’t the ones who are destroying a huge chunk of our economic base the ones who can get permit to mine and log however they want? I must say the bigger damage is being done by syndicates. Of course, it doesn’t mean that country folks won’t be responsible with their “kaingin” and illegal logging activities (aren’t these people also the ones planting in their nearby forest?). But with the existence of law against illegal logging and mining, if the law and its enforcers can’t stop the illegal activities, nobody will.

        4. @Marius, I can’t believe that Filipino farmers are mostly ignorant and indolent especially if all their lives they live on farming. In countryside, knowledge in country living is being pass on to their kins and these knowledge is acquired through experience learned through the years and from their farming elders. The thing is if the farmers were given their own land and they are poor to start with, their problem would be where to get their resources and how to manage it. Knowing these I agree with you in this

          The best solution I can see is for the government to stop giving away land rights, take back misused or idle land that has been given away under CARP, and just lease it out to whoever can demonstrate the knowledge and skill to develop it or farm it.

  12. >> I must say the bigger damage is being done by syndicates.

    True enough, but it’s hard to say who’s “worse”. The syndicates and the political classes (the miners/loggers tend to be linked to the government) are indeed making an enormous mess. But they can’t do it all by themselves. Who are the guys wielding the chainsaws? It’s the local “farmers” and the tribespeople. Why do they think it’s OK? Because that’s what they’ve been doing all their lives anyway, and now they’re just doing more of the same.

    If these people were politically organised and already highly competent – that is, if they were making a good living – they’d be much less inclined to go work for criminals for a pittance. Just like the “communists” at the rally, the miners/loggers are exploiting a big pool of ignorance and venality among the locals.

    >> I can’t believe that Filipino farmers are mostly ignorant and indolent especially if all their lives they live on farming.

    Honestly, Sick_Amore, it amazed me too. I couldn’t believe that people who have lived all their lives on the land have never learned anything except slash-and-burn. But there it is. That’s the evidence in front of my own eyes.

    The problem is, if your father was ignorant and teaches you to be ignorant, you’ll just keep doing what he did, especially in a culture that never questions the “wisdom” of elders. There are actually many training courses (private and public) on offer in my area. There are various government programs to kickstart (say) dairy businesses. Some of these programs and courses are very good. Nobody is interested. They think they know it all already.

    Of course not everyone is like this. I personally know several smart, hard-working farmers, and I’ve read about others. However, two of them are foreigners, and the really successful ones are educated people – lawyers, engineers and the like – who have decided to return to the family farm and re-train. They succeed not because they have money but because they know what they don’t know, and spend time learning and experimenting.

    I even heard of one couple who started out with nothing more than a few hundred square meters of rented land and pulled themselves up by their bootstraps, saving every centavo to buy more and more land. They’re now comfortably-off. Anyone can do that. It just takes … wait for it … discipline and patience. Maybe they need to teach discipline and patience in school 🙂

    1. I’m gunna step back a little bit, Marius. Hope you can still bear with me. CARP includes empowering the small farmers, isn’t it? That means, supposed to be, together with the land distribution, they will see to it that the beneficiaries will learn how to be productive and competitive in distributing their yield in the market. Only if they fail in that one, the land given will go to waste. Indeed, in the future, leasing the land first would make the beneficiaries more responsible but the free market should not be like a dog eat dog competition for them. The small or starting ones won’t get themselves established unless they are part of a bigger business sector handling food sales and distribution.

      Say, basing from what kind of Filipinos we have right now, given that 25% of the population fell below the poverty line, should we expect much from them who rely on their manual skills and lack the values and education to lift themselves up? That is why our society is always divided with low, middle and high. There are those who could only work because they are “isang kahig isang tuka”, and those who will give work, those who don’t know how to follow rules so there’s those who make sure rules are being followed. If Pinoys can’t learn discipline and patience and undergo training to succeed in the business (if indeed opportunities come knocking at their door to get out of poverty and not a mendicancy program like 4Ps and giving free lands without gov’t. responsibility), they are better off working under landlords or food producers (I’m figuring this based on what kind of Pinoys we have right now). But working with employers should still guarantee security for the workers, financial and otherwise. The lack of that security will again result to feeling of inequality and dissatisfaction and with that to chaotic outrage. I think the country’s progress is being held hostage by people promoting hunger and rebellion.

      Simpler country folks actually can get by producing their own crops with the little space they have (I observed this everytime I went on vacay in the province). Usually, if their yield is not for sale in their local markets, they consume it for their food. They maybe not earning big enough but they are contented living simply. Provincial people have simple needs, really. The major needs would be having a place of their own no matter how small because it is their source of comfort (that’s why it’s a big deal when indigenous people are thrown out of their land. They will end up being squatters). Like I said planting crops is what they are good at and that’s what they do with the lands surrounding them. And they keep their environment green, abounded with plants and trees. They are the ones responsible for the greenery when you go to the province. Perhaps my province is still a safer place than yours, Marcus, that’s why my opinion regarding country folks is divided. For me there’s nothing wrong with the dull and the ignorant as long as you don’t let them decide about the fate of other people and the country. Is why we have the elites, the government officials, professionals and the academe. Now if our ruling base are themselves incompetent, law breakers and corrupt, that will spell more trouble for our country. If we rely on the masa, they will act based on their desperation, hunger and discontent, by force disregarding the rule of democracy. I think is what those who held this country hostage by poverty expects. A lack of order. (Here we are easily exchanging ideas because we are well-off, in a safe and comfortable place. You get what I mean? Is why I wonder why government officials can’t do a good job or big change at least once in their lifetime. They are in the best position to work on progress made easier by the fact that it’s their job and they get the best education to land in their position.)

      Innovation and industrialization (offering more local jobs) should have brought comfort and make the people get out of the thinking that being poor makes one hopeless. If say, I’m poor I may forget that I am poor and find time to think if I can travel comfortably using fast and modern means of transpo in paved roads not surrounded with traffic and I can still afford the fare, we have great public hospitals or local clinic that provide good services no matter if patient is poor or rich, if we have good public schools without leaking roofs, not flooded everytime it rains, good equipments and easy access in going to school (public school bus), free high education or scholarship for the less fortunate, state of the art libraries open to the public, a local market that offers good space to sell products, business or industrial parks that offers a regular job, a local government that encourage and help people out to open their own business and their business being promoted or prioritized locally, sports complex and recreation park to relax and unwind, law enforcers who ensure civilians’ safety and uphold law and order no matter who’s who in the street and other necessary government funded services. These are part of the government program and instigated by the constitution because our environment have a major role in one’s thinking and good regard on one’s self.

      As to this

      The syndicates and the political classes (the miners/loggers tend to be linked to the government) are indeed making an enormous mess. But they can’t do it all by themselves. Who are the guys wielding the chainsaws? It’s the local “farmers” and the tribespeople. Why do they think it’s OK? Because that’s what they’ve been doing all their lives anyway, and now they’re just doing more of the same.

      A lot of hopefuls see DU30 wielding his ironfist on this. 😀

  13. There’s threats everywhere in a country called the Failippines that’s draped in camouflage. War is a country of will, there’s no room for sympathy. If you’re not willing to give up everything…You’ve already lost.

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