The local organization was able to confirm that a certain Harold Diaz had links to NTF-ELCAC when another suspected agent of the task-force went to the SIKKAD K3 office to invite him to the Barangay San Jose Annex building. A few minutes later, no less than 20 soldiers from the Army’s 2nd Infrantry Division in full battle gear and armed with rifles arrived at the office, forcibly made their way towards Diaz and whisked him away.
By JUSTIN UMALI
SANTA ROSA, Laguna – Residents of 1K2, Kasiglahan village, Rodriguez, Rizal, held a suspected intelligence agent working for the National Task Force to End the Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), July 2.
According to a report from human rights group Defend Southern Tagalog, residents of Kasiglahan Village caught Harold Diaz taking unsolicited photographs of two members of the local urban poor rights organization San Isidro, Kasiglahan Kapatiran at Damayan para sa Kabuhayan, Katarungan, at Kapayapaan (SIKKAD K3).
The two SIKKAD K3 members, Noralyn Teanila and Filipina Villareal, noticed that they were being photographed by Diaz and accosted him, bringing him to the SIKKAD K3 office for questioning. Teanila and Villareal are vendors selling produce in their neighborhood.
SIKKAD K3 justified the citizens’ arrest in response to the increased police and military presence in the area, which the group states has resulted in “malicious red-tagging and harassment.”
According to the group, they were able to confirm that Diaz had links to NTF-ELCAC when another suspected agent of the task-force went to the SIKKAD K3 office to invite him to the Barangay San Jose Annex building. A few minutes later, no less than 20 soldiers from the Army’s 2nd Infrantry Division in full battle gear and armed with rifles arrived at the office, forcibly made their way towards Diaz and whisked him away.
“SIKKAD K3 strongly condemns such abominable aggressions and violations against the people in their community and will not be silenced by the continuous harassment and surveillance of the PNP Rodriquez and the Philippine Army,” said Annafe Cainglet, president of SIKKAD K3.
Human rights watchdog Karapatan Southern Tagalog also attested to the ongoing harassment brought about by the military presence in the area.
That same day, a team from Karapatan-ST engaged barangay officials of San Jose in a dialogue to report incidents of red-tagging, surveillance, and harassment experienced by residents.
An investigation by Karapatan ST revealed that residents of Kasiglahan Village have suffered militarization since October of last year. Residents reported that since March, suspected intelligence agents from the military, police and NTF-ELCAC have been found in the area. It was around this time that meetings by NTF-ELCAC intensified.
The group also reported that the pandemic-induced lockdown resulted in a rise in military operations in the area.
Residents, and particularly members of SIKKAD K3, were also repeatedly asked to go to various meetings to “clear their names.” The attempts ranged from text messages sent by Nica Endaya, communications officer for NTF-ELCAC, requests for specific people to go to their office in San Mateo, and visits by soldiers and officers to residents’ houses.
State forces also engaged in disinformation campaigns meant to “vilify progressive organizations”, particularly SIKKAD K3, through text messages, leafleting, and house-to-house conversations, according to the report.
SIKKAD K3 has long championed hosing rights of the urban poor in Rodriguez. The group has been repeatedly linked with the Communist Party of the Philippines, which Cainglet has described as a “desperate attempt to blur the lines between fighting for democratic rights and armed revolution.”
Caingle herself is no stranger to harassment. Since November 2019, elements of the Army’s 2nd ID have repeatedly tried to intimidate her by visiting her house, or claiming that she and other SIKKAD K3 members need to “clear their names.”
Defend Southern Tagalog hopes that the citizen’s arrest inspire people to “stand up and inspire people to further resist fascism under Duterte administration.” They are seeking justice and accountability for the incident that occurred.