Surface and release Ezequiel Daguman! Uphold JASIG and respect his rights as peace consultant!

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The National Democratic Front of the Philippines in Southern Mindanao Region vehemently condemns the abduction and continued disappearance of Ezequiel “Ka Rey” Cortes Daguman, 50, perpetrated by elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ Eastern Mindanao Command.

Daguman is a peace consultant in the region and is therefore covered by the Joint Agreement on Safety Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the NDFP. He was unarmed when he was taken by suspected elements of the AFP. The JASIG provides safe conduct passes for consultants, staff and personnel involved in the peace negotiations.

Daguman has been missing since the afternoon of March 7 while he was en route to a peasant community in one of the banana plantations in New Corella in Davao del Norte. He was supposed to meet with farmworkers to investigate the workers and peasant situation in the banana plantations of New Corella affected by the series of typhoons and heavy rains and the militaristic pandemic lockdowns.

Daguman was also looking into the expansion of plantations resulting in cases of landgrabbing and the labor flexibilization schemes employed in these plantations, especially those owned and controlled by the transnational Sumifru company.

As peace consultant, Daguman is assigned in the provinces of Davao del Norte and Davao de Oro. NDF consultants and staff around the region are organizing data and briefings to update the workers, peasants and other sectors’ situation to be used in future possible negotiations with the reactionary regime post-Duterte.

His abduction and continued disappearance is yet another serious violation by the tyrannical Duterte regime in the agreements achieved in the formal negotiations of the peace process. In continuing to target unarmed NDFP consultants for abduction, torture and even murder, Duterte and his fascist minions in the AFP are flaunting with impunity their anti-peace and anti-people predisposition.

The Duterte regime must be held solely accountable for the abduction and disappearance of Daguman, and the arrests of the three comrades in Tagum City two days later. Victor “Ka Pong” Rollon, Christine Joy “Ka Rye” Dula and Chargelyn “Ka Jillian” Casquejo were arrested in Brgy. La Filipina on March 9.

The NDF in Southern Mindanao strongly demands that the Duterte regime surface Daguman and respect his rights as peace consultant. The AFP must release him, along with the three comrades, immediately and without any condition.

Surface and release Ezequiel Daguman! Uphold JASIG and respect his rights as peace consultant!
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