NGO alarmed over harassment vs development workers

By ALDWIN QUITASOL
www.nordis.net

BAGUIO CITY — Katinnulong Dagiti Umili ti Amianan Inc. (In aide of the people of the North or Kaduami), a non-government organization dedicated in delivering development works and services to the marginalized people in North Luzon calls for a stop to what they call systematic harassment against two of its members.

Bishop Elorde Sambat of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines-North Luzon Jurisdiction (UCCP-NLJ) and chairman of the Kaduami Board of Directors said it is absurd that trumped-up charges of murder and multiple murder were filed against one of their BOD Sarah Abellon-Alikes and their staff Sherry Mae Soledad together with three activists in Northern Luzon. He said the 71st Division Recoinnasance Company under the 71st Infantry Division of the Philippine Army filed the cases after their unit was allegedly ambushed by fighters from the New Peoples Army (NPA) at Sigay, Ilocos Sur on August 4, 2017.

Sambat said that after checking on their circumstances, they learned that Alikes and Soledad were not in Sigay during the date of the ambush the army was claiming. He said the two were actually at a meeting in the office of Kaduami with the other development workers and also their partners.

“This is clearly a systematic persecution and harassment of development workers,” said Sambat. He stressed that the two are not NPA members.

Sambat said this is not the first time that Alikes was subjected to false charges. She was arrested on February 9, without charges or warrant by the authorities. Later, she was tagged as one of the NPA Cordillera who burned two trucks of the Philex Mining Company on February 9.

Sambat said Soledad who is in charge of the Training and Organizing Program (TOP) of Kaduami for its community development advocacy is being tailed surveiled by suspected military agents since 2009. He said that aside from being in charge of the TOP, Soledad was one of the first who responded after Alikes when she was illegally arrested and detained.

“The BOD of Kaduami is alarmed and wary of these developments. Thetr seems to be a pattern of renewed fascist attacks on development workwrs, environment andnhuman rights defenders,” said Sambat.

He said Kaduami joins the call for the respect to the sacredness of life and for the state security forces to uphold human rights. # nordis.net

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