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AFP, PNP raid Cagayan peasant leaders’ house

The military and police raided the house of Anakpawis regional coordinator and Danggayan ti Mannalon ti Cagayan Valley (Danggayan) chairperson Isabelo Adviento midnight of Wednesday, December 2, but failed to find the peasant leader, a Cagayan Valley support group reported.

About 100 soldiers swooped down on Adviento’s house at Barangay Carupian, Baggao, Cagayan and, at about 3:30 AM, forced their way in to search for him, the group Taripnong Cagayan Valley said.

The group did not identify the soldiers’ unit.

Adviento, however, was not home as he was leading relief operations elsewhere to help victims of the massive floods that hit the region the past weeks, Taripnong added.

Frustrated at missing their target, the government troops tried to intimidate the household by placing a grenade and a loaded gun underneath a chair at the house’s living area.

The soldiers also accosted and handcuffed Adviento’s neighbor and Baggao Farmers’ Association (BFA) member Richard Dagohoy, Taripnong added.

The group said the local police arrived after two hours with a warrant and proceeded to search the entire house.

The police warned the people in the house, including Adviento’s mother, that the next to be raided are the houses of BFA members Ranchi Billones and Ronald Reyes.

“Here I am helping to bring relief to flood victims daily and they planted evidence so they can arrest me,” Adviento said in this post on his Facebook page hours after the raid on his house.

“While Adviento’s group is busy raising and distributing relief goods in the entire region, the soldiers and the police chose to threaten them,” Taripnong said.

“Taripnong Cagayan Valley condemns the grave intimidation the farmer-leaders and activists suffer from the government,” it added.

Adviento, a long-time peasant leader, is a repeated victim of red-tagging, harassment and surveillance by armed state forces.

The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) also condemned the raid, saying the “fascist act” is the “height of inhumanity” occurring amid a health crisis and right after a disaster in the region.

“We condemn the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) who has wasted public funds and resources, much needed by disaster-stricken Filipinos, into terrorizing the rural poor,” KMP chairperson Danilo Ramos said in a statement. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)