Kabataan Party-list condemns the illegal arrests of the Balingasag 7

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Kabataan Party-list condemns the illegal arrests of seven Lumad in Misamis Oriental, calls for their immediate release

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Seven Lumad individuals were illegally arrested in Purok 6, Barangay Blangko, Balingasag, Misamis Oriental at around 3:30 am on June 26, 2020 by combined forces of the police and military. The arrested individuals were Datu Reynaldo Ayuma, Pablita Hiligon, Glenna Hilogon, Bambi Hilogon, Toto Hilogon, Junjun Ayoman, and Jesson Langka.

The individuals were arrested after the raiding forces allegedly found magazine clips of high-powered rifles during the illegal searches made in four houses in the community, and have been accused as members of the revolutionary armed forces.

The arrested individuals, however, have been evacuees from their own lands since 2018; Datu Reynaldo is a Higaonon leader and has been a steadfast defender of their ancestral domain in Mt. Balatukan, which has been threatened by mining and logging operations.

The arrests are nothing but acts of harassment and persecution of the Lumad for their struggle for their rights to ancestral land and self-determination.

It is worrisome and condemnable that such arrests are allowable, even before the passage of the Anti-Terrorism Bill. As soon as the draconian law takes effect, we can expect the incidents of cases of harassment, illegal arrests, trumped up charges, and other state machinations that aim to quell dissent to drastically increase.

Release the 7 Lumad individuals! Stop the militarization of Lumad communities, and uphold their rights to their ancestral lands!


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