BY REIN TARINAY
MANILA — Joseph Canlas is a peasant leader and community organizer based in Central Luzon, where he led various campaigns and struggles against landgrabbing and land-use conversion in many farming communities in the region. Early morning today, March 30, he was arrested in Sapang Maisac, Mexico, Pampanga.
In a separate incident, another worker-activist Pol Viuya was arrested in Bamban, Tarlac around the same time. Both of them have been constantly red-tagged, with their names and photos appearing in tarpaulins where they were referred to as so-called “fronts” of the New People’s Army.
This, too, came after a series of killings and arrests in Southern Tagalog, the latest was Dandy Miguel, who was shot dead yesterday in Laguna.
PAMALAKAYA calls for release of Joseph Canlas, a Central Luzon-based peasant leader nabbed on undoubtedly fabricated charges by the PNP-CIDG in Pampanga early this morning.
Canlas champions the rights of fishers in the region and upholds sovereignty in the West Philippine Sea. pic.twitter.com/eMtgyYOKxw
— Pamalakaya Pilipinas (@pama_pil) March 30, 2021
The Rural Women Advocates and Amihan National Federation of Peasant Women strongly condemn the arrest of mass leaders Joseph Canlas and Pol Viuya early today, March 30, 2021, and call for their immediate release. pic.twitter.com/HtcrHbSUc4
— Rural Women Advocates (@ruwa_ph) March 30, 2021
LOOK: Anakpawis joins the nationally-coordinated indignation protest against the arrests of peasant leader Joseph Canlas, unionist Pol Viuya, & paralegal May Arcilla.
Canlas is the current Vice President of Anakpawis, championing rights and welfare of peasants in Central Luzon. pic.twitter.com/d8wA8d09jS
— Anakpawis Party-list (@AnakpawisPL) March 30, 2021
Human rights worker Renalyn Tejero arrested on March 21, peasant leader Calixto Cabildo on March 24, urban poor leader Concepcion Opalla on March 26, unionist Dandy Miguel killed on March 28—and today, arrested peasant leader Joseph Canlas and labor leader Florentino Viuya Sr.
— Philip Jamilla (@pmjamilla) March 30, 2021
Mariing kinukundena ng Kabataan Partylist BulSU ang serye ng atake sa Gitnang Luzon ngayong araw, kung saan iligal na inaresto sina Joseph Canlas, Pol Viuya at May Arcilla. Maging ang pagpapatuloy ng serye ng mga pag-atake sa mga aktibista sa buong bansa. pic.twitter.com/G5KL4Wowvc
— Kabataan Partylist BulSU (@KabataanBulSU) March 30, 2021
Today, they arrested Joseph Canlas, a tireless peasant leader, community organizer & human rights worker. He is all these things to many people. To me, he was a wonderful teacher who patiently answered all our questions as doe-eyed kids spending their practicum in Pampanga. pic.twitter.com/PljUDihGMU
— Neen Sapalo (@smallofasia) March 30, 2021
Duterte’s demented war against farmers fighting for land reform rages on. Prior to his arrest by the PNP, @kmp_phl vice chair Joseph Canlas has been a leader of Central Luzon farmers in their struggle against land grabbing & land use conversion. #StopTheAttacks #EndImpunity pic.twitter.com/sNqoSQbjeZ
— Arnold Padilla (@arnoldpadilla) March 30, 2021
Day 2 of ECQ: Duterte admin launches a raid on peasant group Alyansa ng Mambubukid ng Gitnang Luzon (AMGL). Arrested is Joseph Canlas, AMGL’s Chair.
The same morning, Pol Viuya, the Chairperson of BAYAN Central Luzon, was arrested on basis of arrest warrant and planted evidence.
— Rey Valmores-Salinas (@rosereyde) March 30, 2021
Canlas is a regular news source among many journalists covering issues on agrarian disputes, particularly that of the Hacienda Luisita. In 2013, the peasant leader was among the 11 arrested in Hacienda Luisita while they were conducting a fact-finding mission.