Free the Talaingod 74!
Rural Missionaries of the Philippines
November 29, 2018
We, the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP), a national organization of women and men religious, priests and lay, strongly condemn the illegal arrest, detention and the filing of trumped up charges against the delegates of the National Solidarity Mission (NSM) to Talaingod, Davao del Norte. We call for the withdrawal of the fabricated case and the immediate release of the seventy-four (74) delegates including ACT Teachers Party-List Rep. France Castro and former Bayan Muna Partylist Rep. Satur Ocampo.
The delegation which includes 29 students and 12 teachers of Lumad schools in Davao del Norte were arrested by the joint forces of the Talaingod police and the 56th IB with the Talaingod Municipal Social Work and Development Office and have been detained at the Talaingod Municipal Police Station since 9:30 Wednesday evening, November 28. Based on reports, fabricated charges of “human trafficking in relation to child abuse law” were filed against them.
The NSM wishes to look into the military encampment in the community and school premises which disrupted the classes of Salugpongan Learning Center’s campuses in Sitio Nasilaban and Sitio Dulyan, Brgy. Palma Gil, Talaingod, Davao del Norte. The NSM also aims to document and validate the reports of threats, harassment, and intimidation against teachers and community members by the 56th IB and the paramilitary group ALAMARA in order to forcibly close the school. They forcibly shut down the campus in Sitio Dulyan on November 28, 2018 at around 6pm and the students and teachers evacuated and were rescued by the NSM team.
We call for the immediate release of the Rep.
France Castro, Rep. Satur Ocampo and the rest of the NSM delegates. We
also extend our solidarity to our Lumad brothers and sisters in
Talaingod and in other militarized communities all over Mindanao.
Rural and tribal communities in Mindanao in have long been victims of
massive and systematic militarization through various
counterinsurgency programs, more so under Martial Law.
We enjoin the Church sectors to denounce this latest attack. We urge you to echo the call for the dismissal of the trumped up charges against our fellow advocates, and to join the struggle against militarization of rural school and communities. Only through a wide-ranging clamor of the public who aspire respect for human rights, justice and peace can we end the fear and uncertainty they live with every day.###