Bayan Muna Rep. Eufemia Cullamat fears that with the looming passage of the anti-terror bill, more incidents of harassment and abductions might take place.
By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
MANILA – As the new anti-terrorism bill awaits the signature of President Rodrigo Duterte, two Lumad students and their father, and a development w were reportedly abducted on June 13 in separate incidents.
Two Lumad students and their father, Mongkel Tacalan, 66, were reported missing after leaving the Mindanao Interfaith Services Foundation, Inc. (MISFI) Academy in the morning of June 13.
Save Our Schools Network reported that two Lumad students ages 17 and 19 were fetched at the school by their father after community quarantine restrictions have been lifted in the province. At 11:00 a.m., the Tacalans boarded a police mobile and then took off. On June 14, they received a call from Tacalan’s daughter that the three did not come home and cannot be contacted. The Tacalans are from Malapatan, Sarangani province.
Meanwhile, in Cebu, community worker Elena Tijamo was abducted by four unidentified armed men from her house in barangay Kampingganon, Bantayan.
The SOS Network demands that the Tacalans be surfaced. They denounced what they described as systematic harassment against parents of Lumad students. From March 15 to May 31, the group documented 16 cases of harassment perpetrated by alleged state security force against 40 parents and relatives of Lumad children.
The SOS Network noted that the military and police have also spread disinformation that what they do are ‘rescue operations’ of ‘children at risk’ even as the students were under the care of Lumad schools under the quarantine period.
The SOS Network also reported that on June 14, about 80 soldiers in full battle gear arrived in Lianga, Surigao Del Sur and interrogated a Lumad family and a Lumad teacher of Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development (Alcadev) and Tribal Filipino Program in Surigao del Sur (TRIFPPS).
The soldiers allegedly ordered the teacher to shut down the schools. The teachers were also threatened with arrest if the schools would open this school year.
Meanwhile, Tijamo, coordinator for non-government organization Farmers Development Center (Fardec), has been subjected to red-tagging, according to Fardec executive director Patrick Torres.
Before the abduction, neighbors of Tijamo reported of unidentified men asking about her home address.
Bayan Muna Rep. Eufemia Cullamat condemned the abduction of Lumad students and their father.
Cullamat fears that with the looming passage of the anti-terror bill, more incidents of harassment and abductions might take place. She called on all Filipinos to call for the veto of the bill as it will also affect ordinary people who are critical of the government.