Activists slam arrest of 13 church, dev’t workers in GenSan

Bobby Lagsa
'These individuals were arrested with no weapon on them but their laptops, pens, and papers,' says Deacon Allan Khen Apus of Iglesia Filipina Independiente and convenor of Movement Against Tyranny-Northern Mindanao

DEFIANT. Development workers arrested in General Santos City. Photo courtesy of Karapatan Northern Mindanao Region

CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines – Activists in this city on Friday, July 7, slammed the Duterte administration and the Philippine National Police (PNP) for the “illegal arrest” of 13 Cagayan de Oro-based social development workers in General Santos City.

On July 4, police raided and arrested a group of social development workers at the Mother Francisca Spirituality Center in General Santos City.

“These were volunteers of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente Visayas – Mindanao Regional Office for Development (IFI-VIMROD), many of them also leaders and members of the organizations under BAYAN,” Wildon Barros of Bayan Northern Mindanao region said.

Among those arrested were Datu Jomorito Guaynon of the Kalumbay Lumad organization, Ireneo Udarbe of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, Vennel Chenfoo of Kabataan party list, Kristine Cabardo of the League of Filipino Students, Teresita Naul of human rights group Karapatan, church worker Aldeem Yanez of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente. and farmer leader Roger Plana. 

The arrests were made on the same day that police arrested  6 members of the Organisasyon sa Yanong Obrerong Nagkahiusa (OGYON) in Pangantucan, Bukidnon.

OGYON has been critical of President Rodrigo Duterte’s failure to deliver his promise of economic relief to farm workers.

 

Deacon Allan Khen Apus of Iglesia Filipina Independiente and convenor of Movement Against Tyranny-Northern Mindanao said of the arrests,  “Following the tactic of the government in its crackdown against its detractors, state forces accused them of either being a member or of supporting the communist-led New People’s Army.”

“These individuals were arrested with no weapon on them but their laptops, pens, and papers,” Apus added.

Barros, for his part, said that the lone promise that Duterte had delivered, so far, is his campaign pronouncement that there would be bloodshed under his watch.

“This was the only promise he fulfilled – not even halfway through his presidency, he has turned the Philippines into a bloody arena. His only solution for all the social and economic problems is to kill, jail, crush whoever dares complain,” Barros said.

He added that Duterte merely panders to the military leadership as they could, at any time, choose to turn their guns on him.

“In truth, Duterte, with his ever-changing statements and blasphemous tongue does not run the show,” Barros said. – Rappler.com