State forces illegally arrest three

This article is available in Pilipino

Three individuals were arrested by state forces on fabricated charges on July 12 in Quezon and Romblon provinces. Meanwhile, cases of harassment against peasant associations and local media were recorded in Negros and Leyte in the past week.

Two activists were arrested by the 85th IB on charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives on July 12 while conducting community research in Atimonan, Quezon. Health worker Miguela Peniero and youth volunteer Rowena Dasig were arrested in Purok Banaba, Barangay Caridad Ibaba.

The two were in the community to investigate the impact of the planned cycle gas turbine power project and liquefied natural gas terminal plant in the area. Locals fear that the project, to be built by Atimonan One Energy, Inc. (A1E), a subsidiary of Meralco PowerGen Corp, will severely affect coconut farmers and fishermen in Atimonan town.

Fabert Reyes was arrested on July 12 in Barangay Poblacion, Sibuyan Island, Romblon on 19 charges of libel. Reyes strongly opposes mining in Sibuyan Island.

Harassment. The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines reported last July 14 that three journalists were harassed by police in Barangay Jones, Pastrana, Leyte. Lito Bagunas, Noel Sianosa and Ted Tomas were reporting on a case of land grabbing in the area when police officer Rhea Mae Baleos drove them away. While they were being forced to leave, the three heard gunshots.

In Negros Occidental, six associations of farmers, farm workers and fishermen in four barangays of Cauayan town reported intimidation and harassment by 15th IB and 47th IB soldiers since July 10. The soldiers ordered the leaders and members of the associations to gather for a “meeting.”

The associations are based in the barangays of Toyum, Caliling, Man-uling and Guiljungan. Soldiers went from house to house and interrogated residents, particularly the associations’ leaders.

Physical assault. A series of mauling cases were recorded in Barangay Budlasan, Canlaon City, Negros Oriental on July 6. The 62nd IB accused them of links with the people’s army.

Soldiers mauled Edward Sandot, Budok Sandot, Christopher Sandot, Joselito Patulada and Roberto Francisco who come from different sitios in the said barangay.

State forces illegally arrest three