Military surveillance and intimidation on two organizers in Bicol, condemned

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The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Bicol (KMB) and Defend Bicol Stop the Attacks Network (Defend Bicol) condemned soldiers of the 9th ID for surveillance and harassment of a development worker and a farmer organizer in the region.

The soldiers searched and gathered information in the communities in the third district of Albay where Administrative Officer Maggie Seva and staff member Fidel Mirando of Farmer’s Assistance for Resource Management, Education and Rehabilitation Incorporated (FARMER Inc) were. The relatives of the two were subjected to illegal interrogation.

According to FARMER Inc, from February 1 to February 15, the family of Seva and Mirando experienced intensified harassment and intimidation from elements of the 9th ID.

On February 15, two men went to Seva’s brother’s house in Barangay Zone 1, Libon, Albay. The two introduced themselves as Sgt. Jason Gevero from Camp Simeon Ola, Legazpi City and Angel Mendosa who identified himself as “Lakay” from Paniqui, Tarlac. Seva’s brother was interrogated.

On February 8, two men went to the house of Mirando’s brother in Barangay Agos, Polangui, Albay. A man who went to the house even pretended to be Seva’s neighbor. According to relatives, the men were stocky and tall. The men even took pictures of their house and the facing road.

Karapatan-Bicol recorded cases of threats, harassment and intimidation by the military during its “visits” to the FARMER Inc office in Sityo Bololo Barangay Zone 5 in Libon, Albay, and to the homes of Seva and Mirando since last year.

Seva and Mirando both led campaigns for land rights, food and justice for farmers. Farmers also joined FARMERS Inc in the distribution of seeds and other farm inputs to support their farming. Mirando is an organizer of the Samahan at Unyon ng mga Mangagawang Bukid sa Kabikolan (SUMABAK).

AB: Military surveillance and intimidation on two organizers in Bicol, condemned