State harasses Cagayan indigenous leaders and their families

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Karapatan-Cagayan Valley condemned the ongoing harassment of two indigenous leaders and their families. In recent weeks, state forces “visited” Mafel Macalanda and Lina Ladino at their homes, threatening them with arrest. Macalanda is the regional coordinator of the alliance of indigenous people’s organizations in Cagayan Valley, Punganay. Ladino, on the other hand, is a indigenous leader of farmers from Sto. Niño, Cagayan.

In the first week of June, two members of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group “visited” Macalanda in his house in Baguio City. CIDG personnel informed her that a case has been filed against her for her alleged involvement in the armed revolutionary movement. “The incident caused grave concern to her family members,” Karapatan-Cagayan Valley said.

In addition, the group also reported that the CIDG threatened to arrest Macalanda’s two colleagues, Agnes Mesina, Makabayan Coalition regional coordinator and James Paredes, Kabataan Party-list-Cagayan Valley official.

In February 2022, state forces has arrested Mesina in Appari, Cagayan. She was then participating in a community outreach and fact-finding mission. An arrest warrant for murder that was dismissed by a court in Tagum, Davao del Norte as early as July 2021 was used against her. She was released at that time.

Meanwhile, three 5th ID intelligence agents insisted on talking to Ladino. They Red-tagged Ladino and tried to bribe her to “cooperate.” On her way home to her village, she noticed being tailed by a policeman. The 5th ID commanders have been forcing Lina to “surrender” since February 2020.

“The police and military talking to the family members of the activist-indigenous leaders to suppress and force them to surrender is a violation of the right to expression and organization,” Karapatan-Cagayan Valley said.

AB: State harasses Cagayan indigenous leaders and their families