UPDATE: As of June 28, 11:15PM, Davao-based peasant leaders Pedro Arnado, Gerry Alborme, Lito Lao and human rights advocate Hanimay Suazo were released by the Task Force Davao after they were illegally held for several hours at a checkpoint in Lasang, Davao City, Wednesday evening.
The Philippine Army’s 10th Infantry Division Task Force Davao illegally held Arnado, Alborme, Lao and Suazo for five hours at a military checkpoint last night. The activist-leaders were initially accosted because the military said they were ‘suspicious-looking.’
Arnado is the national auditor of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas and the leader of KMP in Southern Mindanao. Alborme is the leader of KMP in North Cotabato and survivor of the Kidapawan Massacre. Lao is the leader of the Unyon ng Manggagawa sa Agrikultura in the region while Suazo is the secretary general of human rights group KARAPATAN in SMR.
It turned out that the Task Force Davao led by Lt. Col. Danny Bustamante accused one of the peasant leaders as a New Peoples Army leader. Task Force Davao attempted to arrest 63-year old Lao using a warrant of arrest against a certain Alex Rosete, an alleged ranking NPA leader.
KMP condemns this incident of harassment and red-tagging of peasant leaders and human rights activists.
With Martial Law imposed in Mindanao, acts of harassment against activists and progressive leaders will continue and intensify. “We call on the people to remain vigilant and continue to oppose Duterte’s Martial Law,” said Pedro Arnado of KMP-SMR.
Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte’s 30-point Martial Law guidelines include the accosting of ‘suspicious-looking’ individuals, check points, curfews and high-visibility of police and military elements in the city.
KMP reiterates the just call for the lifting of Martial Law in Mindanao and an end to the military’s all-out war. ###