Lumad teacher arrested in Surigao, farmer-couple missing in Negros

Groups reveal continuing rights violations under new Marcos government

A Lumad volunteer teacher was arrested by the police in Tandag City, Surigao del Sur last Sunday while a farmer-couple were taken by government soldiers in Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental last Friday, various groups reported.

In an alert, human rights group Karapatan-Caraga said Gary S. Campos was arrested by police officers while on his way to a review center at about one o’clock in the afternoon and was taken by his arresters all the way to Butuan City, Agusan del Norte.

Succeeding to contact friends only at about eight o’clock that evening, Campos told them he was presented with a warrant of arrest by the police but was unable to disclose the nature of the charges, Karapatan said.

Campos is preparing to take the professional licensure examination for teachers and is currently a volunteer teacher at a local Department of Education school.

A Lumad Manobo, Campos was an alumnus of both the Tribal Filipino Program of Surigao del Sur (TRIFPSS) and Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development (ALCADEV), Lumad schools that have been the victim of military and paramilitary occupation, arson, harassment, closure and killing of its officials and other volunteer teachers throughout the Rodrigo Duterte administration.

Upon graduation, he volunteered as a TRIFPSS teacher.

When the government and the military closed down the Lumad schools, Campos went back to college and graduated with an education degree from St. Theresa’s College-Tandag as a scholar of the Indigenous People’s Apostolate of the Catholic Diocese of Tandag.

Farmer-couple missing

Meanwhile, a farmer-couple were taken from their home in Himamaylan City by government soldiers in the dead of night last July 15, the underground New People’s Army (NPA) announced on social media.

Geral Ganti and partner Dalen Alipo-on, both members of the local Mahalang Farmers’ Association were taken by troopers of the 94th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army (IBPA) from their home at 11:30 at the evening and have not been seen since, Mt. Cansermon Command-NPA spokesperson Dionesio Magbuelas said.

Magbuelas said that about 20 soldiers arrived in the community, forced the couple from their house and were later taken away on board motor vehicles.

Relatives of the couple have reportedly informed the police of the incident but have not been informed of their whereabouts in the last four days since the abduction.

The couple have two young children, the NPA said.

Magbuelas added that the couple have been repeated victims of red-tagging by the military and have also been told to submit themselves to authorities as so-called NPA surrenderees.

94th IBPA’s Facebook page has no post related to the allegation.

The NPA challenged local government officials in Negros Island to look into reports of human rights violations in their areas. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)