NDF-Negros slams PNP-AFP attack on Odette survivors’ community, illegal arrest of peasant youth leader

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The National Democratic Front-Negros (NDF-Negros) expresssed its vehement condemnation over the February 19 early dawn raid by police and military forces of a farming village situated in Sitio Montara, Barangay Camangcamang in the town of Isabela, Negros Occidental just recently devastated by the super typhoon Odette.

At about 2 am, eight houses were simultaneously raided traumatizing its residents and disturbing community peace. As pretext for the said unwarranted and unlawful raid, Negros Occidental Provincial Police Office and 303rd Infantry Brigade fancied a script in the media about enforcing a warrant of arrest against NPA-Negros (Apolinario Gatmaitan Regional Operational Command) spokesperson Ka Juanito Magbanua.

The script further went into wildy alleging that Ka Juanito managed to escape, giving them a blanket justification to arrest peasant organizer and youth leader Harlyn Balora without warrant and terrorized its populace. To give semblance of legitimacy, several firearms and explosives were planted against Balora continuing the prevalent practice in the PNP and AFP of manufacturing evidence against activists.

Residents of Montara and adjacent areas have lately been organizing themselves into community disaster associations to push for food and livelihood assistance and rehabilitation support in lieu of US-Duterte regime’s callous neglect of their plight.

More than two months after the calamity, the majority of people in these Oddette-ravaged communities has yet to receive significant aid from the government to facilitate recovery.

Through collective efforts and with the support of Balora’s organization, the people in these affected villages were able secure hundreds of sacks of rice and sizeable quantity of other basic food stuffs from a Cebu-based NGO.

Several sacks of rice, scheduled for distribution to another batch of families, were reportedly wasted by the raid as these were ransacked by the raiding units looking for supposed weapons.

As per NPA-Negros personnel records Balora is not a member of the NPA. She hails from family of peasant organizers and activists long red tagged by the government and targeted for neutralization.

For merely taking on the initiative in demanding for their rights and welfare most especially after Odette devastated their homes and livelihoods, the people of Montara and other areas have been subjected to vicious red tagging by the fascist minions of Duterte regime and state terrorism adding to their hardship and suffering.

They have every right and just ground to wages all forms struggles to advance their democratic interests and aspirations.

NDF-Negros are one with the Negrosanons in condemning this dastardly act of suppressing people’s just and legitimate struggle. Those responsible should be held accountable and brought to justice.

Finally, NDF-Negros strongly demands for the immediate and unconditional release of Balora. Her continuing detention is unjust and violative of human rights and international humanitarian law. ###

NDF-Negros slams PNP-AFP attack on Odette survivors' community, illegal arrest of peasant youth leader
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