By CITA MANAGUELOD
ILAGAN CITY, Isabela — Danggayan ti Mannalon ti Cagayan Valley (Danggayan-CV) and the local chapter of Karapatan slammed the police and military for arresting five peasant organizers in Cagayan Valley this October while farmers across the country commemorate the National Peasant Month.
They said Delia Padilla, Violeta Ricardo, Cristina Miguel, Reynaldo Busania and Sharon Malubay are activists working with the farmers in the region.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) in Region 2 together with military arrested the individuals in separate operations this month, tagging them as high-ranking members of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) in the region.
Danggayan-CV chairperson Isabelo Adviento said the arrests are part of the government’s efforts to silence critics and quell the rising anger of farmers in the region.
“Napasamak iti panangtiliw kadagiti organisador bayat iti panangisanami kadagiti tignay para iti pesant month. Kayatda a lappedan dagiti protesta gaputa ammo dagiti opisial a palalo ti pungtot dagiti mannalon iti gobierno gapu iti nababa a presio ti pagay ken agkurkurang a suporta para iti mannalon (The arrest of the organizers came in the middle of our preparation for the peasant month. They want to prevent the protest because the officials know how angry the farmers are with the government for the low palay (unhusked rice) prices and the lack of support for the farmers),” he said.
According to him, Padilla, Ricardo, and Miguel are staff members of Danggayan-CV who were on the ground, helping farmers prepare for the month-long campaign. He also said that Busania and Malubay are members of Timpuyog ti Mannalon ti Quirino (TMQ), their provincial affiliate.
Adviento noted that long before the arrest of its organizers, the military and police had branded Danggayan-CV as a “legal front” of the CPP-NPA. The Danggayan-CV chair pointed out that the series of arrests came after authorities coerced many of its members to surrender for allegedly sympathizing with the revolutionary movement.
Meanwhile, Karapatan Cagayan Valley demanded the immediate release of the five individuals. They said that instead of persecuting and criminalizing peasant leaders and rights advocates, the government should instead listen and give their demand for land and sufficient support for agriculture.
Government forces apprehended Busania and Malubay in Brgy. Magsaysay, Quirino on October 25 while the police seized the other three peasant organizers on October 8 in Tuguegarao City and Gattaran town in Cagayan.
The Northern Luzon Command (Nolcom) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) alleged that Busania is a team member of the Northern Front and head of the Communication Regional Department of the CPP-NPA. An arrested warrant issued by Judge Eufren Changale of RTC Branch 38 Maddela-Nagtipunan, Quirino effected the arrest. Meanwhile, the AFP believed that Malubay is a medical officer of the Northern Front. They are currently facing multiple criminal charges.# nordis.net