DAVAO CITY, Philippines — A labor group organizer was detained by soldiers while a banana plantation worker was killed by suspected military agents in Davao region,days before the first year anniversary of martial law in Mindanao.
Kilusang Mayo Uno Southern Mindanao (KMU-SMR) reported that one of their organizers was arrested by soldiers of the 71st Infantry Battalion on Monday, May 21.
Carlo Olalo, spokesperson of KMU-SMR, identified the organizer as Daniel Remeticado, a resident of Barangay Camingawan, in Mawab town, Compostela Valley.
He said unidentified men in civilian clothes arrived at Remeticado’s residence around 7 pm on Monday. Remeticado was then brought to the headquarters of the 71st IB at Barangay Nueva Visayas, Mawab.
Olalo added that Remeticado was arrested without any warrants or case filed against him.
Remeticado was released the next day after his family and KMU members went to the army’s detachment and demanded for his immediate release.
“They [military] said no cases were filed and no warrant of arrest was issued against Remeticado, but since Mindanao is under martial law, they can arrest without warrant,” Olalo told Davao Today in an interview.
Olalo said that when they asked Lt. Steven Docusin of the 71st IB regarding the grounds for Remeticado’s arrest, “Docusin reasoned out that it was due to his being a KMU organizer, a purported “legal front” organization of the CPP-NPA (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army).”
“The soldiers warned us that they can arrest me and fellow KMU members when we confronted them at their headquarters,” Olalo added.
Meanwhile, human rights group Karapatan reported that a worker of banana plantation, Continental Farm Corporation, in Panabo City was gunned down on morning of May 17.
Jay Apiag, spokesperson of Karapatan Southern Mindanao, identified the victim as Ariel Maquiran, 33, a resident of Barangay Maduaw, Panabo City.
According to Karapatan, Maquiran was driving a motorcycle heading home from work when two unidentified men in motorcycle followed and shot him.
Maquiran hit the gas but fell when he reached crossing Barangay Little Panay where another two armed men shot him multiple times.
The report said Maquiran sustained nine gunshot wounds which resulted to his death.
Apiag said Maquiran was summoned for military investigation last March for his alleged involvement on the burning of equipment owned by the Lapanday Food Corp. in April 2017.
Carlo Olalo said the recent attacks against labor organizers and workers add to the long list of human rights violations under the martial law implementation in Mindanao.
“These recent cases of human rights violation is the government’s way to silence those who dissent against the Duterte’s anti-people policies and the military uses martial law as a license to kill progressive leaders, especially workers, peasants and Lumad,” Olalo added.
Karapatan said Maquiran is the 40th victim of politically motivated killings since President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao and is the 72nd victim under the current administration. (With reports from Kath M. Cortez/davaotoday.com)