Anakpawis solon demands immediate release of farmers in Compostela Valley, slams continuing martial law in Mindanao

Farmers belonging to Compostela Farmers' Association (CFA), Alicia Tindasan, Jhona Rose Baugto, Rolan Segovia and Estanislao Talledo, arrested by the military.Farmers belonging to Compostela Farmers' Association (CFA), Alicia Tindasan, Jhona Rose Baugto, Rolan Segovia and Estanislao Talledo, arrested by the military. Photo by Karapatan SMR.

Manila, Philippines – Anakpawis Party-list Representative Ariel “Ka Ayik” Casilao today condemned the illegal arrest of four farmers who are members of the from the Compostela Farmers Association (CFA) which were held yesterday afternoon by the elements of the military, on their way to to attend a peasant assembly in Brgy. Mangayon, Compostela town, Compostela Valley. CFA is the provincial chapter of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), which was formerly chaired by the present Department of Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael “Ka Paeng” Mariano.

The victims were apprehended by soldiers under the 66th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army (IBPA), and were brought to the Compostela Municipal Police Station for interrogation. They are Alicia Tindasan, Jhona Rose Baugto, Rolan Segovia and Estanislao Talledo. They are absurdly charged with illegal possession of explosives.

“We condemn this obvious human rights abuse, of trumped up charges, arrest and detention of farmers who are asserting their rights to freedom of expression and self-organization, this is what we have warned about since martial law was declared, we call for their immediate and unconditional release,” Casilao said in a press statement.

The solon said that this is succeeding the harassment against four activists last June 28, including the Anakpawis Regional Coordinator for Southern Mindanao Region, Pedro Arnado, who were held at a checkpoint in Brgy. Lasang, Davao City. An arbitrary basis of “being looking suspicious” was used by the elements of the Task Force Davao to accost the victims.

“The president should be alarmed of these cases, as his martial law proclamation is clearly causing resentment among the people, courtesy of the abuses by the military, it is only a matter of time, until the people become totally disheartened and abandon hopes from the president,” the lawmaker said.

Casilao said that he is already preparing a set of house resolutions pertaining the implementation of martial law and all-out war in Mindanao. He is also finalizing a draft resolution to dig into the impact on farmer communities of aerial bombing operations by the military as becoming a standard operation procedure for their counter-insurgency efforts.

“The 2nd SONA is nearly coming, but the ‘rightists’ in the cabinet are busy with undermining the people’s trust and confidence to the president and in the process, his promise and the prospect for a peaceful country is becoming dim, we urge the president to seriously discern on this matter,” the lawmaker ended. ###

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