Home ARTICLE Feature Letters: Letter from a political detainee in Ifugao

Letters: Letter from a political detainee in Ifugao

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By MODESTO HANGGOY
www.nordis.net

Warm Greetings!

I am a political detainee in Tiger Hill, Kiangan, Ifugao. I am a Kalanguya Indigenous person from Tinoc, Ifugao. I hold the position of vice chairman of the Gumhang Farmers Development Association and a member of the Ifugao Peasant Movement (IPM).

I was arrested last October 23, 2015 in Benguet for crime I did not commit. The arresting officer and many other policemen did not wear their uniforms nor did they wear any identifications. The arresting officer did not read me my rights and failed to show and read the warrant of arrest.

Symptoms of Injustice exist everywhere in our current society. The day before my arrest, my daughter found my front door lock broken and the door opened. While cleaning, she found new shiny .45 caliber bullet in my room. It is not just NAIA that the State will plant evidence, Tanim Bala is in Tinoc!

Life has always been difficult for us Indigenous people but we seem to cope by helping each other. When my Kailyans asked for help in asserting their Indigenous Peoples Rights in opposing the Ayala backed Quadriver mini-hydro project, I lent my support. This is the real reason I am being arrested.

Back in 2012, I was the first named on the military’s 5th Infantry Division, 86th Infantry Battalion target-list. William Bugatti, the IPM’s human rights officer at the time, was also on the target-list and was gunned down after a court hearing for two political detainees. Before I was placed on the target-list, I was being followed by military men.

Starting December 2014, my picture surfaced in the Facebook groups along with other IPM members who support Indigenous Peoples Rights. We have been maliciously vilified which places our lives endanger. In April 2015, I received death threats along with other IPM members. The death threat was an image of the gamong, our Ifugao blanket for the dead. To use the gamong in the manner other than which it is intended is a bastardization of our culture. To use the gamong as a death threat is a grave insult.

I, Modesto Hanggoy, am guilty of loving our people and culture and defending our ancestral land, life, and resources. I am not guilty of any illegal possession of live ammunition.

I am also detained with Rene Boy Abiva and Virgilio Corpuz who have been illegally detained for three years now. We are the Ifugao 3, part of the 555 political detainees jailed for our passion to end injustice and to mold a better world for our children. Our detention is meant to silence us but we know that repression breeds resistance. We call on the people to open your heart to the poor and oppressed and to serve the people. We also ask you to join the Ifugao 3 in their call to Free All Political Detainees! Let the gongs of freedom roll like thunder in the forest. # nordis.net

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