News Southern Tagalog

State forces target peasant leaders in a series of raids, arrests

Three days after the first anniversary of the Bloody Sunday massacre, Anakpawis Southern Tagalog Coordinator Jonathan Mercado was taken into custody, while PNP Bacoor arrested Anakpawis Party-list Cavite volunteers in an operation disguised as a drug raid.

First update (March 10, 2022):

As the latest in a series of attacks against farmers and urban poor communities, Philippine National Police (PNP) – Bacoor raided Sitio Silangan, Bacoor, Cavite on Thursday, March 10, Katipunan ng mga Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan (KASAMA-TK) said.

The progressive farmers’ group added that 10 residents were handcuffed during the arrest, which was disguised as a drug raid.

These include volunteers of Anakpawis Party-list Cavite, who KASAMA-TK named as Charlie Aquino, Richard Felipe, and Anakpawis Leader Johmelda Lucernas.

Lucernas was even reportedly hurt after their house was forcefully entered by police forces.

KASAMA-TK added that Joel Salabanya’s wife was shot. Salabanya is the current vice-chairperson of Anakpawis Party-list Cavite.

Sitio Silangan is a hot spot of land-grabbing, demolition, eviction, and other forms of harassment against residents.

Meanwhile, a few hours before the raid, Anakpawis Southern Tagalog Coordinator Jonathan Mercado was taken into custody by police forces, while he was in a farmer’s house in Silang, Cavite.

Mercado is also the spokesperson of Teatro Kabataan Mula Sa Nayon (TEKAMUNA), a cultural group based in Lupang Ramos, where issues of land-grabbing and harassment against farmers continue to persist.

On Wednesday, March 9, Anakpawis Partylist Laguna Coordinator Red Clado’s house in Cabuyao, Laguna was visited by two non-uniformed police, tagging him as a high-ranking official of the Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army – National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).

Clado said that he fears for his safety and that of his family. He adds that this visit is an attack on leaders representing the masses.

“I vehemently condemn this visit, and the obvious more visits that will happen in the future, by the agents of PNP. This will not only endanger the security of me and family but all those who are close to me,” Clado wrote.

Meanwhile, Coco Levy Fund Ibalik sa Amin (CLAIM) member Felizardo Repaso’s residence in Atimonan, Quezon was also repeatedly surveilled by military forces.

In November 2021, 485 Quezon farmers, including CLAIM members, were forced to surrender by state forces after being tagged as members of the CPP-NPA-NDF.

(RELATED STORY: 485 coconut farmers from Quezon coerced by state forces to surrender as affiliates of CPP-NPA-NDF)

This is a developing story.

Second update (March 14, 2022):

Anakpawis Party-list Campaign Staff and Teatro Kabataan Mula sa Nayon (TEKAMUNA) spokesperson Jonathan Mercado has been released from police custody, Tanggol Magsasaka Timog Katagalugan (TK) said Sunday.

The farmers’ group added that Mercado underwent psychological torture from police forces.

Tanggol Magsasaka TK expressed condemnation on the harassment against campaign volunteers of Anakpawis Party-list, of Makabayan senatorial candidates Neri Colmenares and Elmer Labog, and of the Robredo-Pangilinan tandem.

Naninindigan kami na karapatan ng bawat mamamayan sa isang demokrasya ang pumuna sa mga namumuno, at gumawa ng mga angkop na pamamaraan upang baguhin ang kanilang kalagayan,” Tanggol Magsasaka TK wrote.

[“We believe that it is the right of every citizen in a democratic country to criticize leaders, and create appropriate ways to change their situation.”] [P]

Photo by Isabel Pangilinan

Layout by Josh Atayde

4 comments on “State forces target peasant leaders in a series of raids, arrests

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