Satur, over 70 militant leaders, Lumads ‘illegally arrested’ in Davao del Norte
DAVAO CITY — Former Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Satur Ocampo and more than 70 other militant leaders and Lumad volunteers were “illegally arrested” in a far-flung village of Talaingod town in Davao del Norte.
Meggie Nolasco, executive director of Salugpongan community schools, said that as of 5 a.m. Thursday, 75 people, including 29 students and 12 teachers of Lumad schools in Davao del Norte, were “illegally arrested” by the joint forces of the Talaingod police and the 56th Infantry Battalion (IB) of the Philippine Army (PA), who also had with them officials of the Talaingod municipal social work and development office (MSWDO).
Nolasco also identified the police and military officers holding Ocampo and others as a certain Lagdamen, Catubag, Supt. Dionaldo, Supt. Sison, Colonel Paredez, and head of the Talaingod MSWDO Arnali Batua.
Nolasco said those arrested were in a convoy of five vehicles who went to Talaingod town on Wednesday to deliver food supplies and rescue children from a Talaingod Lumad school recently padlocked by the paramilitary group Alamara.
Aside from Ocampo, the group also included ACT Teachers party-list Rep. France Castro, and Pia Malayao of Katribu, among others.
“We condemn this move of the military. Clearly this is a form of harassment mean to delay the delivery of goods and services in the lumad community school,” Nolasco told the Inquirer by phone.
Meanwhile, the House Makabayan bloc denounced Thursday the alleged harassment and illegal detention against the delegates of the solidarity mission in Talaingod town.
The independent group at the House of Representatives, composed of Castro, Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao, ACT Teachers Reps. Antonio Tinio, Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate, Gabriela Reps. Emmi de Jesus and Arlene Brosas, and Kabataan Rep. Sarah Elago said Castro, Ocampo and their 72 companions have been detained at the Talaingod Municipal Police Station since 9:30 p.m. Wednesday.
The National Solidarity Mission (NSM) is composed of a delegation of 74 people including 24 students and 12 teachers of Lumad schools in Davao del Norte. They were there to give relief to the students and teachers who were “victimized by the threats, harassments and the eventual forcible closure of their schools by the paramilitary group Alamara under the 56th Infantry Battalion.”