Day 1 of fact-finding mission in Northern Mindanao confirms extent of rights violations under Martial Law

Bukidnon – After being held up 3 times from Laguindingan Airport, the Northern Mindanao Region (NMR) delegates of the International Fact-Finding and Solidarity Mission (IFFSM) organized by Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas have faced a series of 5 more checkpoints en route to Malaybalay, Bukidnon.

10:15am, Baloi, Cagayan de Oro: The IFFSM-NMR team led by Amihan Secretary General Cathy Estavillo was held by the Regional Public Safety Battalion. These armed personnel asked their driver to show the vehicle’s Official Receipt of Certificate of Registration (OR-CR), then instructed all passengers to get off the vehicle and to show their identification cards. They were also told to sign the Scout Rangers’ logbook.

11:15am, Alae, Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon: The team lead by former Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael “Ka Paeng” Mariano was stopped on their tracks by the PNP Highway Patrol Group and held up for over 30 minutes without explanation. As in the last checkpoints, the HPG officers asked the driver to show his license and vehicle’s OR-CR. Before being let go, the delegates were asked to leave the vehicle and go through quarantine. The same HPG officers also held the local delegates and asked to show a permit to travel before they could proceed.

11:55am, Manolo Fortich Central, Bukidnon: The delegates were briefly held up by armed special police forces, at which point the delegates also noticed they were being tailed by two motorcycle riders.

12:30pm, Impasug-ong, Bukidnon: Both teams were held up by the Eighth Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army and asked to get off their vehicles to show their IDs. The policemen forbade the delegates from taking photos.

12:50pm, Dalwangan, Malaybalay, Bukidnon: The Bukidnon Provincial Public Safety Company held up both teams and demanded that they log their names in.

After being held up eight times from Laguindingan Airport, the IFFSM-NMR team finally arrived at their destination—Brgy. Patpat, Malaybalay, Bukidnon at 1pm. But it didn’t mean they were already past all checkpoints. In fact, all three contingents of the IFFSM-NMR team were tailed hereon till they made it to the city proper.

4:30pm, Brgy. Sumpong, Malaybalay City, Bukidnon: A small contingent of the IFFSM-NMR team en route to IFI Church was asked by the Bukidnon Provincial Public Safety Company to get off their vehicles and show their IDs. Thirty minutes later, the Bukidnon Provincial Public Safety Company held the team led by ACT Representative Antonio Tinio. They were asked to show their IDs, and their names were listed down by the police.

From Misamis Oriental, Malaybalay City, and Cabanglasan in Bukidnon, stories of human rights violations were gleaned and documented. Local residents reported cases of illegal arrests made on trumped-up charges, forced surrenders, threats, harassment, and intimidation by state armed forces.

“We believe that our resistance to the expansion of Dole and Del Monte plantations in the provinces of Bukidnon and Misamis Oriental is the motivation for increasing militarization of our communities,” declared Datu Jomorito Goaynon of the Kalumbay Regional Federation of Lumad in Northern Mindanao.

“We will continue to advance our fight for peace, land and justice.”

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