16 November 2017
Four of five jailed environmental defenders in Kasibu freed
We congratulate all the human rights workers, paralegals, lawyers, environmental advocates, and freedom-loving citizens who worked for the successful release of four of the five environmental defenders from Kasibu, Nueva Vizcaya who were illegally arrested and charged with harassment lawsuits.
The charges filed against Marilyn Langon, Ferdinand Pakiwon, Joshua Hiquiana, and Jogiemar Wayas were found to be lacking in evidence. Vicente Ollagon, a village councillor and member of the people's organization KIRED, is the last of the 'Kasibu 5' remaining in custody as authorities allege that there is "probable cause" in the case against Ollagon.
We condemn the Philippine National Police for keeping Ollagon detained on charges of allegedly possessing explosives and firearms. While Kasibu farmers like Ollagon are hard at work planting vegetables, fruits, and rice, the police are hard at work planting evidence against them.
This is an attempt to set a chilling effect against the anti-mining communities in Kasibu. It is part and parcel of the Duterte regime's counter insurgency program that targets communities resisting land grabs and destructive projects, which are nothing but 'hotspots' for rebellion in the eyes of the callous and indifferent Duterte government.
We demand the immediate release of Ollagon and the lifting of all trumped-up charges filed against him. The police units responsible for these attacks against Kasibu's environmental leaders must be penalized and put to justice.
Ollagon is just one of at least 15 remaining environmental defenders currently incarcerated by the Duterte regime. This systematic repression of indigenous people, peasants, and other environmental advocates must stop.#