7 anti-mining Lumad leaders arrested in Misamis Oriental are civilians, not NPA fighters

The victims have long been subjected to Red tagging and harassment by the regime’s National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) because of leading their community’s opposition against expansion plans of multinational companies in the area.

Translation/s: Pilipino

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) joins various organizations in denouncing the Duterte regime and its armed forces for the unlawful arrest of anti-mining leaders Datu Reynaldo Ayuma and six other Lumads at Purok 6, Barangay Blanco, Balingasag, Misamis Oriental on June 26.

The Party calls on local and international environmentalist and human rights advocates to look into the escalating incidents of abuses perpetrated by the Duterte fascist regime against anti-mining communities while fast-tracking the enactment of the fascist Anti-Terror Bill (ATB).

The victims were arrested during the conduct of a raid by the joint elements of the police, military and local barangay officials in the said community at around 3:30 a.m.

Ayuma and his companions are not members of the New People’s Army (NPA) contrary to the claims of the AFP and PNP. As far as we are aware, they are active community leaders opposing mining, logging and ecotourism operations in Mt. Balatukan where their community is situated.

Arrested with Ayuma were Lumads Pablita Hilogon, Glenn Hilogon, Bambi Hilogon, Toto Hilogon, Jun-Jun Ayoman, and Jesson Langka, all members of the Kalumbay Lumad Organization. The victims were originally from Sitio Camansi, Barangay Banglay in Lagonglong town, and were among residents who evacuated from the said community in 2018 due to intense military operations and attacks against them.

The victims have long been subjected to Red tagging and harassment by the regime’s National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) because of leading their community’s opposition against expansion plans of multinational companies in the area.

To justify the arrest, the operatives shamelessly planted high-powered rifle magazines in the houses where the evacuees were staying and accused them of being members of the New People’s Army.

The same dirty tactic was employed by the regime when it arrested Kalumbay chairperson Datu Jomorito Guaynon and Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas-Northern Mindanao chairperson Ireneo Udarbe in Talakag, Bukidnon; and four members of the Misamis Oriental Farmers’ Association (MOFA), along with two babies and a minor, in Barangay Looc, Villanueva, Misamis Oriental in January 2019. The six peasants were slapped with trumped up charges under the Human Security Act which is now being amended through the ATB. Charges against the victims have already been dismissed but Datu Guaynon and the MOFA 4 continue to languish in jail. Udarbe also continues to face threats to his life and security.