CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – Authorities arrested on Friday seven Lumad whom they claim are New People’s Army members in an operation in Barangay Blanco, Balingasag town in Misamis Oriental, a charge condemned by the Lumad group Kalumbay.
Lieutenant Noel Oclarit, deputy team leader of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) in Misamis Oriental, said a combined team of police, military local government officials conducted the raid. They were serving eight search warrants issued by a local court.
Witnessing the operation were John Robert Gales and Jeric Ubalde, Blanco village councilors.
Those arrested are identified as Pilutong Langka, Pablita Hilogon, Reynaldo Ayuma, Dandi Hilogon, Bambi Hilogon, Padod Ayuma, and Glenn Hilogon.
Two suspects, Junrey Boy Hilogon and Berni Gandinao, were not found during the raid.
The CIDG said they obtained information that Langka is an NPA member who goes by the alias “Ka Rex”.
Authorities claimed to have seized three homemade shotguns, two 38 caliber pistols, various magazine clips and ammunition, and printed materials police described as “subversive documents.”
Oclarit said they acted on information of an armed group present in Sitio Tugas-Tugason in Blanco and have coordinated with the Army’s 58th Infantry Battalion for the conduct of the operation.
The CIDG officer added that some of these arrested were with the group of Lumad evacuees who camped out at the Misamis Oriental Provincial Capitol grounds in 2018 to demand intervention from counter-insurgency operations in their villages. Junrey Hilogon was one of the Lumad who was interviewed by the media.
But the Lumad group Kalumbay condemned the arrests, saying the state arrested former residents of Barangay Banglay, Lagonglong town who evacuated following intense militarization, red-tagging and harassment in their community.
“This is another attack on legitimate organizations critical of the anti-poor policies of the Duterte government poorly disguised and written off as a counter-terrorism operation,” the group said. (davaotoday.com)