DAVAO CITY – A 64-year old teacher of the Salugpungan Schools in Mindanao was arrested by alleged members of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in Lahug, Cebu City on Friday noon, August 19.

Sr. Francis Añover, RSM, national coordinator of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines said their regional coordinator in Southern Mindanao, Amelia Pond, 64, was “illegally arrested” by the CIDG around 12:00 noon today. She said Pond was on her way out from the Living the Gospel Renewal Center after attending the 3-day RMP National Assembly in Archbishop Reyes Avenue.

She said “fabricated charges of double murder and frustrated murder in Compostela Valley under the name of Adelfa Toledo are imputed on her.”

Añover described Pond’s arrest as “illegal”. Aside from being a teacher, Pond also serves as the research and documentation officer of Salugpungan Schools in Mindanao, Añover said.

“Ms. Amelia was riding a taxi with three others, when four elements of the CIDG, three men and a woman, blocked the taxi and she was forcibly made to get out of it.”

She said the woman in the group held Pond’s by the arm and asked her about different names, “which she denied.”

Añover said the group continued to interrogate Pond and showed her photographs, and a warrant of arrest “which they did not make her read.”

Helping Lumad schools

Luz Ilagan, a long-time educator who currently heads the Board of Directors of Salugpongan Learning Center, said, “the attacks on teachers, especially Lumad school teachers, should be stopped.”

Ilagan said that during the recent Social Development Initiatives Summit held in Davao City on August 17 to August 18, Education Secretary Leonor Briones recognized the role of the Lumad schools and vowed to assist it.

“The call was clear to help Lumad schools, but this happened,” Ilagan said.

Datu Doloman Dawsay, spokesperson of Salugpongan Ta ‘tanu Igkanogon, Lumad council in Talaingod, Davao del Norte province attested the advocacy of Pond for the Lumads. He said she later became one of their educators.

Since 1994, when Talaingod-Manobos fled their community due to threats of heavy military operations linked with logging project expansion, Dawsay said “Pond was with the Lumads as they trek for 12 days to reach the Davao City.”

Pond was the second staff of the Salugpongan Learning Center who was arrested. The first one was the school’s agriculturist, Dominiciano Muya, who was arrested last October 16, 2014 in Barangay Mankilam, Tagum City. Muya is now facing murder charges and is currently detained in Bukidnon.

‘Illegal arrest’

Añover, added that one of Pond’s companions insisted to the arresting officers that she should read the warrant to know her case and said they were not allowed to read the warrant and Pond “vehemently resisted (the) illegal arrest.”

“We condemn this attack on Ms. Amelia as this is harassment to us supporters of the farmers and indigenous people in the countryside under the counter-insurgency program Oplan Bayanihan,” Añover said.

Ilagan described Pond’s arrest as an “old trick”. She said the cases filed against Pond are only “trumped up charges”

“If there is a warrant, why did they not show it?” Ilagan said.

Añover also said: “It is disheartening that even under the Duterte presidency, we are in danger,’ which we thought would end with the Aquino regime.”

Pond’s arrest came following the release of two high-ranking Communists leaders, Wilma and Benito Tiamzon on Friday. (with a report from Earl O. Condeza/

comments powered by Disqus