Duterte’s crackdown vs activists led to illegal arrest of fisherfolk leaders in
Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Thursday demanded the immediate and unconditional release of the 9 members of its regional chapter in Batangas who were arrested last Monday in Nasugbu after they were unjustly tagged by the Philippine Air Force (PAF) as members of the New People’s Army (NPA).
Leonardo delos Reyes, 44, Carlos Sanosa, 64, Joey Castillano, 47, Roberto Hernandez, Jocelyn Cabadin, 44, Jennylin Bayani, 30, Orlan Cabadin, 19, Anthony Banaga were arrested by elements of Philippine National Police (PNO) and the 730th Philippine Air Force Combat Group last Monday in Nasugbu, Batangas. They are all members of PAMALAKAYA’s regional chapter Haligi ng Batanguenong Anakdagat (HABAGAT).
PAMALAKAYA said the spate of illegal arrests and harassments are part of President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration of crackdown against legal people’s organizations that legitimately fight for the democratic rights of the basic sectors, including farmers and fishers.
“The 9 illegally-arrested in Batangas are all legitimate members of our group fighting against destructive projects in their community such as large-scale mining and eco-tourism projects. They are unarmed local activists who collectively uphold their rights and welfare. There is no truth in the allegations of the Philippine Air Force that they are members of the revolutionary armed group NPA,”
“President Duterte’s crackdown against progressive forces following the termination of peace talks between the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) will intensify attacks against legal activists fighting for the democratic rights and welfare of the Filipino people. Duterte has just declared war against the Filipino people, and we will resist at any cost,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.
The group said even their peaceful protest actions are being harassed by the state security forces, citing the harassment of Philippine Coast Guard on their fluvial protest in Manila Bay on November 21. ###