By AMIANAN SALAKNIBAN
Amianan Salakniban denounces the recent atrocities perpetrated by the 7th Infantry Division (ID) of the Northern Luzon Command with the arrest and illegal detention of five farmers, including a minor, from Kasibu town, in Nueva Vizcaya.
Data from Karapatan-Cagayan Valley and Danggayan-Cagayan informed us that the victims were arrested at a checkpoint last September 29. They were boarding the same vehicle when members of 84th Infantry Battalion, under 7th ID NolCom, signaled down their vehicle at a checkpoint in Barangay Mabuslo, Bambang, Nueva Vizcaya. The military accused them to be members of New Peoples Army (NPA) and charged them with trumped up cases of illegal possession of firearms and ammunitions.
The arrested farmers are Marilyn Lango, a treasurer of Barangay Camamasi and Board Director of the Samahang Pangkarapatan ng Katutubong Manggagawa at Magsasaka, Inc. (Sapakkmmi) – Camamasi Chapter; Vicente Ollagon, an incumbent councilor of Barangay Bilet and a member of Kasibu Inter-Tribal Response for Ecological Development (Kired); Joshua Hiquiana, a minor from Bilet, and his guardian Ferdinand Pakiwon, also a member of Kired; and Jogiemar Wayas, a church worker of Jesus is Our Shield – WorldWide Ministry.
The municipality of Kasibu where the arrested farmers reside is a site of large-scale mining operations of Oceana Gold. For years, residents have been struggling against the company’s mining operations due to enormous complaints over human rights violations (HRVs) on top of environmental destruction perpetrated by the mining company and state forces. In fact, several cases of harassment and intimidation were filed against Oceana Gold because of the community’s decade-long struggle against them. Sapakmmi and Kired are both involved in an active campaign critical of Oceana Gold’s plunderous mining activities and human rights violations.
With the arrest of Kasibu 5, the 7th ID of Northern Luzon Command is in a state of filing-trumped-up-chares spree against environmental defenders under this regime. Last September, they accused Sarah Abellon-Alikes and Sherry Mae Soledad that they were part of an ambush operations conducted by the NPA last August 4, 2017 in Sigay, Ilocos Sur. Abellon-Alikes is a member of Kaduami’s Board of Directors (BOD) while Soledad is a staff of Kaduami. Both of them are active in pro-people and pro-environment advocacies as part of their capacity as Kaduami’s staff and BOD member.
The trumped up charges against Kaduami’s staff and BOD member and the arrest of Kasibu 5 is a part of the state policy to silence those who stand up against its anti-environment, anti-poor and anti-people policies. Just like their extra-judicial victims under the bogus anti-drug campaign, Duterte’s tyrant regime is now planting evidences against environmental defenders like the Kasibu 5. This is a part of the state’s systematic tyrannical repression along with the spate of extra-judicial killings (EJK’s) and will continue to intensify with the speedy confirmation of ex-general Roy Cimatu as the secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
With these fresh bouts against pro-environment and pro-people defenders, it is a must to stand up and fight. We must push for Duterte’s accountability in his failure to deliver his promise of closing down irresponsible mining companies like Oceana Gold along with his pronouncements of bringing in the change for the Filipino people.
We must show this tyrant regime and its cronies that we will not bow down to their draconian policies. We will fight for the betterment of our environment, of our communities, of the future for the next generation. We will not stop fighting until we achieve the social justice that we deserve.
Free the Kasibu 5!
Quash the trumped-up charges against Kaduami’s BOD member and staff!
Stop the political persecution of environmental defenders!
Resist the fascist attacks against the people!
Resist and fight Duterte’s tyranny! # nordis.net