Military arrests, surveillance and harassment in Negros, Bicol and Southern Tagalog

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Cases of arrests, surveillance and harassment by military elements against progressives and activists in the Negros, Bicol and Southern Tagalog regions were recorded in recent weeks.

In Negros Occidental, police arrested Pertinisa Jereula Charita, 55, while visiting her husband at the San Carlos City jail on February 13. According to Human Rights Advocates Negros (HRAN), police falsely claim confiscating a caliber .22 pistol from Charita when frisked.

Charita, a member of Kapatid-Negros and the National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW), is the wife of Leon Charita arrested in September 2019 on charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives. Pertinisa was with her children and grandchildren when she visited Leon to celebrate his birthday in prison.

In Albay, soldiers of the 9th ID surveilled and harassed relatives of Maggie Seva and Fidel Mirando, administrative officer and staff, respectively, of the Farmer’s Assistance for Resource Management, Education and Rehabilitation Incorporated (FARMER Inc) during the first half of February. The relatives of the two were subjected to illegal interrogation.

In Rizal, a 2nd ID element went house-to-house in Barangay San Isidro, Antipolo City, Rizal in the second week of February and inquired about mass leaders of the progressive movement in Rizal. The soldier was in plainclothes and pretended to be an employee of Antipolo City Hall to carry out the surveillance. Neighbors say the soldiers took the mass leaders’ personal information and cellphone numbers.

In Oriental Mindoro, military and police personnel disrupted and threatened fishermen and humanitarian groups conducting a Boat Construction Project in Naujan, Oriental Mindoro on February 7. The project aims to distribute boats and fishing equipment to victims of last year’s oil spill. After disrupting the program, the military shamelessly claimed that the program was part of the National Task Force-Elcac campaign.

Military arrests, surveillance and harassment in Negros, Bicol and Southern Tagalog