Datu Jomorito Goaynon is the chairperson of Kalumbay Regional Lumad Organization while Ireneo Ubarde is the chairperson of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP)-Northern Mindanao Region.
By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
MANILA – Two leaders who went missing since the morning of Jan. 28 were now surfaced by the authorities as “top New People’s Army leaders.”
According to the statement of the authorities posted by the local newspaper, Sun Star Cagayan De Oro, “joint police and military authorities arrested Ereneo Ubarde and Jomoring Goaynon both top NPA leaders Monday in downtown Cagayan de Oro after a local court issued order for their arrest.”
Datu Jomorito Goaynon is the chairperson of Kalumbay Regional Lumad Organization while Ireneo Ubarde is the chairperson of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP)-Northern Mindanao Region. The two were on their way to a meeting with Pig-uyonan, a member organization of Kalumbay on Monday morning, Jan. 28 however they never got to the meeting place.
In an urgent alert released by Kalumbay yesterday, the two left their office in Bulua, Cagayan de Oro at past 10:00 a.m. They were scheduled to have a dialogue with the 65th Infantry Battalion, facilitated by the Commission on Human Rights.
At 11:00 a.m. while commuting to the venue, the two were still able to communicate with a Kalumbay staff to inform the latter that they were stuck in traffic. However, the two did not reach the meeting place and none of their friends, colleagues and relatives heard from them afterwards.
After over 24 hours, the two were surfaced by the authorities this afternoon, Jan. 29, in a press conference by the Philippine National Police Region 10. According to the police, Judge Emmanuel P. Pasal of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 38 in Cagayan de Oro City issued a warrant of arrest against the two leaders for cases of attempted murder, frustrated murder illegal, possession of firearms and explosives. They will undergo inquest proceedings.
KMP secretary general Antonio Flores denounced the illegal arrest and detention of the two leaders who are out on bail after their arrest in July 2018 along with church workers and rights activists.
“Under martial law, the Duterte regime’s state security forces are committing grave and blatant violations of the people’s socio-economic and cultural rights, civil and political rights, and the rights of persons in the midst of armed conflict in Northern Mindanao,” said Flores in a statement.
Prior to this, Kalumbay said a tarpaulin with Goaynon’s photo was displayed in public places accusing him of recruiting Lumad to the New People’s Army. This prompted Goaynon to file harassment and forced surrender charges against the 65th IB at the Commission on Human Rights last Jan. 22.
“There is blanket repression that target entire rural communities and zero-in on individuals affiliated to various people’s organization,” Danilo Ramos, chairperson of KMP said. They demanded the immediate release of the two leaders.
The KMP said the two leaders are in the frontline of the peasant and indigenous people’s campaigns against militarization and human rights violations in Northern Mindanao region.
They said the arrest and charges against Goaynon and Ubarde as the government’s way to silence those who fight for their right to land.
“Violations of rights of the people of Northern Mindanao, especially farmers and national minorities, are committed by state forces with the direct motive of silencing their struggle for land, ancestral domain and right to self-determination. Military force and deployment in communities are clearly used to pursue the interests of corporate plantations and other forms of environmental plunder,” said Ramos.