5 farmers, including minor, arrested and charged in Cagayan as ‘rebels’

October 3, 2017 - 9:22 AM
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Four of the five Nueva Vizcaya farmers accused of being rebels and slapped with criminal charges talk to a worker of Karapatan Cagayan Valley. (photo courtesy of Karapatan Cagayan Valley)

BAGUIO CITY, Philippines — Human rights and farmers’ organizations in Cagayan Valley have sounded the alarm over five farmers, including a minor, from Kasibu town, Nueva Vizcaya who were arrested and charged by state security forces for allegedly being communist rebels.

Karapatan-Cagayan Valley and the Danggayan (Helping Each Other) Cagayan-Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas said the five, who were arrested by soldiers and policemen at a checkpoint on September 29, were members of the Kasibu Inter-Tribal Response for Ecological Development and the Samahang Pangkarapatan ng Katutubong Magsasaka at Manggagawa, Inc.

“The vehicle they were travelling in was flagged down at a checkpoint in Barangay Mabuslo, Bambang, Nueva Vizcaya by joint military and police forces. They were allegedly tagged as members of the New People’s Army” and slapped with “trumped up” chages of illegal possession of firearms, explosives and ammunition, Karapatan said.

The human rights group said the “Kasibu Five,” who are detained at the Bambang police station, live in communities actively resisting the entry of large-scale mining operations.