Philippines: Lumad organizations call on Duterte administration for the immediate nullification of the warrants of arrest against 15 leaders and IP advocates

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Lumad organizations, through their Mindanao-wide alliance Kalumaran, demand the quashing of the warrants of arrest against indigenous leaders and advocates helping the internally displaced communities due to the militarization of Philippine government troops.

Kalumaran calls on the newly-installed Duterte government to cause the immediate nullification of the arrest warrants even as we condemn the moves of State forces, especially the Armed Forces of the Philippines, to sabotage the upcoming peace talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).

Lumad organizations are strongly condemning and protesting trumped up criminal charges against 15 leaders, among whom is Kerlan Fanagel, council member of Kalumaran, for the false and distorted accusation that they kidnapped Lumad evacuees who have been taking refuge in UCCP Haran church compound for more than a year now due to intense militarization in their communities.

Abominable too is the proliferation of posters in city streets bearing the “wanted” faces and names of the said accused leaders. Previous “wanted” posters have been directed at Abu Sayyaf bandits and drug lords. This recent act equates political dissent with terrorism and drug peddling.

All these machinations are attributable to the AFP, their indigenous paramilitary vigilantes, and their paid agents who are wont to resort to desperate moves to salvage the AFP’s face from the shameful failure of the US-Aquino regime’s Oplan Bayanihan.

The issuance of the said warrants of arrest is tantamount to the rejection by the AFP of the peace agenda being put forward by the Lumad evacuees in Haran and by other internally displaced communities. The agenda, contained in the Mindanao Peoples’ Peace Agenda and the National People’s Summit Agenda submitted to President Duterte during his inauguration on June 30, demanded the pulling-out of army troops from Lumad communities, the disarming and dismantling of paramilitaries, and the ending of extra-judicial killings of the Lumads, among others.

The warrants of arrest contradict President Duterte’s promised of an inclusive peace process which includes the Lumad of Mindanao.

Also facing false criminal charges without bail are: Rev. Jurie Jaime, Bayan Southern Mindanao Region (SMR) Secretary-General Sheena Duazo, Karapatan SMR Secretary-General Hanimay Suazo, Ryan Lariba, Tony Salubre, Jimboy Maciano, Gabriela Davao Secretary-General Mary Ann Sapar, Jaja Encosio, Pedro Arnado, Sr. Restita Miles, Isidro Andao, Kharlo Manalo, and Save Our Schools (SOS) Network spokesperson Rius Valle.

Shamelessly charged too, is Sr. Stella Matutina, recipient of Germany’s Weimar Award for Human Rights in 2015.  She is known for her active opposition to destructive large-scale mining encroaching on Lumad lands.

We call on the Duterte government’s Department of Justice to swiftly act on this issue and to decisively put an end to the use of trumped up charges by the military and the police as a State tool to harass, intimidate, and silence political dissent.

Mindanao Lumad organizations, including Kalumaran and its leaders and communities, have long been targeted by criminalization from the Arroyo and Aquino governments through falsified charges and an increase in the killings of Lumad leaders and advocates. We seek a decisive end to this, and hope for the realization of the promise of “change”, under the Duterte presidency.

For reference:
Dulphing B. Ogan
Secretary-General
KALUMARAN (Kusog sa Katawhang Lumad sa Mindanao)